Work/Life Effectiveness

Women & COVID-19: A Bad Case of the Shoulds

I woke up this morning in a panic. I was stressing out about what projects I should do, what drawers I should clean out, what webinar I should participate in, what exercise video I should watch, and what marketing materials I should create. My mind was saturated in shoulds.

I began stressing about my stress. “Caroline, why are you stressed? You have no reason to be stressed. You know people are losing their jobs, some people don’t have meals… people are in a global pandemic! How can I control this? I need to single handedly stop this virus. GET A GRIP… Wow, I can’t even cope? Why am I even coaching and consulting on these things? Am I even good at my job? Who am I?”

My shoulds were piling up and turning into a mountain of anxiety. I was negative spiraling at lightning speed. I needed permission to let go of the shoulds.

I made this list:

You want to be productive and get stuff done – COOL!

You want to try to relax and meditate – YES!

You want to do an exercise challenge – RAD!

You want to watch Netflix and eat snacks – GROOVY!

You want to clean every inch of your house – AWESOME!

You want to do absolutely nothing, maybe cry for a few, and feel your feels – YOU DO YOU!

There is no right way of coping. Lean into your feelings. Use your intuition. Listen to what you need.

And recognize not everyone is as privileged as you. How can you have social responsibility? Are your neighbors in essential industries? Leave them thank you notes in their mailbox. Are you secure in your job? Donate to provide meals to those who have lost jobs. You may not be able to control this pandemic, but you can lead from where you stand.

I gave myself permission to let go of the shoulds and now I am passing it on to you. Take this one day at a time. We got this!

Caroline is a Leadership Coach and the founder of Caroline Crawford Consulting. She is from Austin, TX and has worked in the empowerment field for over a decade. Caroline is obsessed with Haribo candy, her two dogs Ollie and Birdie, Emotional Intelligence research, and lip syncing to 80’s rock. Check her out at

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