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  • Here we are 20 or so months from the start of the pandemic that has changed our lives – probably forever.  For the most part here in Japan, we have survived what we would have thought impossible two years ago.

    It was never pretty – Didn’t drink, drank too much. Baked. Dieted. Didn’t diet enough. Exercised, over-exercised, injured, under-exercised – and here we are back at a new normal just trying to not drink too much, exercise, diet….etc.

    Now what?

    How do we thrive in the hopefully coming opening up, mixed messages and the new normal that we find ourselves in?…we are in uncharted territory here. Work from home or the office or both? Relationships ? Health? Careers?….Dreams?

    I certainly don’t have the answers, but this article isn’t going to write itself, so let’s take a stab at some of these themes and see just how wrong I am 6 months from now. Shall we?

    It seems we are going back to the office in some capacity and in some frequency. Our team at Just Legal has made a little push and we have a contingent in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This has brighten and energized our entire team. It’s a good sign things are getting back to normal. Maybe it’s just symbolic, but symbols mean a lot when you are looking for hope.

    However, we are still working mostly from home and that is true for most of our clients, and that can still be an emotional drag and we can find ourselves in some kind of limbo stuck in between these worlds. What can we do to break that feeling?:

    • Keep that ‘in the office’ feeling by staying connected on non-office days. Start your day with a phone call or two to your teammates. Of course you are busy and there’s that work product that has to be completed ASAP, but that little extra effort to connect to another human that has similar professional goals to you might just go a long way – for you and for them. Sometimes just a no-nothing no-purpose call can create bonds that lead to new ideas and even generate sales or productivity. Give it a try and experience the power of a kind word.
    • Get Healthy – really! So many times in the past 20 months I’ve been down and felt the blahs deeply. I’ve given a team member or two a call to get some sympathy or just to get someone to listen to me. And that has almost never worked, but the advice they have given me has: go out and exercise.

    This has become a mantra of sorts at Just Legal. Go out and exercise – anything. A walk, a jog, a bike ride…..anything. And the amazing simple truth, it works. If you are working from home you really should make exercise part of your daily ritual. Actually, it should be part of your daily ritual regardless if you are working from home or in the office. Get your blood pumping, get your vitamin D and it will help lift your mood and make you better at your job.

    And what about while working in the office?

    First of all, if you aren’t vaxxed, get vaxxed and get over yourself, protect others and get back into the game. We’re not getting out of this funk until the virus has nowhere to go. (Rant over)

    Next, can you change up your experience to create new habits and use this pandemic forced reset for something good long-term, like the following:

      • A useful commute: Has the pandemic led you to the amazing resources on your phone that you can use to make yourself a better and smarter person? – and no, I’m not talking about candy crusher or the news or facebook. I’m referring to meditation or interesting podcasts….There are great apps out there to teach you how to mediate and sitting/standing on a train is the perfect time for this…the worse your commute is, the better the situation for learning how to meditate.
      • And podcasts: wow, is there a lot of great content out there now. current events, history, economics, languages, dramas – it’s like we are back in the golden age of the radio.
      • Grab Coffee or Lunch – the most important appointment of the day! At least once a week grab a colleague and pretend that it’s 2019 and go to lunch or get a coffee and be grateful we are not in lockdown. We need human contact and we also need coffee.

    And what about the limbo both working from home or in the office?

    Be thankful, be grateful: This is a tactic for better health as well – mental health. And it’s maybe the most important point here. Let’s be grateful for what we do have. This pandemic sucks on so many levels, but labouring and stewing on that can drag you down. Let’s be grateful that Japanese society is largely a group conscience society and people purposely wear masks for the safety of others, rates for vaccinations are up and growing and people in Tokyo and Osaka are generally sensible. Let’s be grateful that we can work at home and at the office – or even that you have a job. Be grateful for friends and family – a little thank you to reward kindness or to yourself daily will do wonders for your mental health.

    There has to be more tips for our new normal– do you have any? I’ll add them to this article if you share them with me over email. I promise.

    But at the end of the day, we are all in this together to some degree and there are some steadfast truths that we have to accept and lean on to survive this new world order because, it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.

    You need your mental & physical health to perform your daily life and it’s necessary so that you can pick up others. That ability to help others creates an energy and its own healing powers and it’s relatively easy and cheap. Maybe it only involves a video call or a coffee, but it adds up. Don’t doubt it. There are people in your ognaization now that need to hear from you. And they will be grateful for you and you will be grateful that you did it.

    We have a lot to be thankful for, let’s focus on what we have and not what might have been. And while you are doing that, take advantage of the wonderful fall weather this fall, it’s just perfect for going out for a walk or for a walk to get a coffee.

    Posted by 

    James Graham

    Private Practice, Healthcare Industry

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