Woe Isn’t Me in 2021…Share to Care!

So, you have had more bad news yet. Or, it’s the same old same old that you are sooo sick of.  You know, thinks like:

  • Yet another COVID-themed article (guilty as charged)COVID Woes 2021 Sarah McVanel
  • Bandwidth issues
  • Homeschooling
  • Working in your PJs (remember when you were so excited about that?)
  • Working short
  • Being redeployed
  • Having to say “you’re on mute” yet again (shouldn’t people have put a post-it on their computer by now?)
  • A diet of the three food groups – toast, cookies, and bananas
  • Amazon deliveries every hour on the hour
  • Grey skies (okay, that’s for my Canadian and northern US readers)

2021 woes with Sarah McVanelAnd if that weren’t enough, the bad news keeps rolling in. COVID rates are going up, and we’re not going “back” (school/work/any fun at all) anytime soon. Essential services friends, the unrelenting floodgates of need continue unabated. Your vacation plans have to be delayed, you’ve been banned from that country, or your mother-in-law calls you every day freaked out about getting on a plane (and it’s just easier to say “okay ma, we won’t go until 2025!”) Your favourite gym has closed down, as has the only florist in your sister’s town that is willing to deliver within her two-minute ‘availability window” on her birthday, and your guilty pleasure nail/hair/paintball establishment.

You wonder, will this ever end? Will we ever feel normal again (and I know, I know, we’re also sick of the term “new normal,” so for the record, I did not use “new” and “normal” back-to-back and forgive my zeal in 2020 if I did in a moment of jargony weakness in past blog posts).

You’re probably like me, looking around for someone to share your woes during those low moments, and you’ve run into a few snags:

  1. You’re more isolated than you’ve ever been, and there is no one around (literally, you’re not allowed to see anyone).
  2. The people you do see (and can’t get away from) are equally frustrated (you have a sneaking suspicion you’re on the list of their woes so may be safer not to initiate Woe Fest 2021 with you in a starring role).
  3. You are racked with guilt that you are having a hard time when there are people sick and exhausted caring for the sick and worse off; you feel like a terrible person for even thinking you have it rough, let alone uttering it.

At the risk of falling into that jargony, jump on the metaphorical bandwagon; I’ll remind us all (myself included):

it’s okay to be okay, and it’s okay not to be okay.”

There I said it. Please keep reading. I promise I’ll keep the colloquiums at bay for the rest of the article.

Maybe we do need to talk about what ails our heavy hearts and burdened minds. What if the next time someone shares their woes, you try out a variety of responses to see what sticks? In fact, let’s have some fun with this (‘cuz where else are we going to get our fun these days?) You can use this list, like a menu (you know, those sticky plastic things that listed scrumptious delights at your fav restaurant; sorry, ahem, a restaurant is an establishment that you could go to that would cook what you asked for and you didn’t have to deduce what was compost, recycling or garbage after you were done eating it).

The next time someone wants to share their woes, try on one of these responses for size and keep running through the list until you land on your ‘eureka!’

  • woes with Sarah McVanelCongratulations!
  • I’m sorry.
  • That’ll make a great story one day!
  • Maybe this is the perfect time to start that online Judo-Meditation-Step Aerobic Fusion class you’ve talked about
  • You’re helping the economy (in response to consuming more carbs/takeout/Netflix Premium you ever thought possible)
  • Think of all the money you’re saving (in response to not being able to go farther than a walk)
  • Imagine how much easier it will be to wait in a future 2-hour line at the airport!
  • What a story you’ll have for your grandkids (that you don’t have to embellish…did anyone actually walk 20 miles to school every day?)
  • Hey, it would help if you listened to a podcast episode on that… (since EVERYONE had started a podcast in 2020…even Michelle Obama found the time…and Brené Brown started two!)

Hey, what else can we add to the list?  I know it may seem trite. I promise you, it’s all in good fun.

thank you healthcare heroes with Sarah McVanelSeriously, I’m not trying to minimize how hard this is. For my healthcare, developmental services, and other essential services clients, please know I am in no way minimizing how desperately hard this time has been for you and how grateful we are you’re keeping on keeping on. Industries hit hard by COVID – restaurants, events industry, airlines, hotels – not for one second have we forgotten about you, nor am I minimizing how devastating this time has been. I hope you all know this is just an attempt to deal with this upside-down time we’re living in my own small (frankly cathartic way by writing it out).

What is something I can do for you? Please reach out. I promise to listen (as long as I’m not having bandwidth issues that day ;-] ).

Here are a few other related blog posts that I think you’ll find helpful:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
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Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

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Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
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Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

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