Today I (re)discovered an answer to the question I posed yesterday about finding strategies to cope with fatigue, overload, and stress: connection. More specifically, finding ways to remind yourself that you aren’t alone in this fight, whatever it might be.

Yesterday I ran into an issue with HR at my university, and for a moment it looked like my fall teaching appointment wouldn’t go through in time. This was upsetting because I’m really looking forward to this class. I, uh, may have put together my syllabus and course reader in June. The class begins in September. So I spent this morning running around between cantonal offices trying to get the supplemental documentation HR had requested instead of reading or writing during one of the only mornings I have left this summer with childcare. The whole thing was unexpected, stressful, and frustrating.

My department has an amazing admin, though, and we talked through the issue yesterday. He spoke with HR directly and then told me which specific issue had to be solved and told me what documentation to get. After two hours of waiting and talking to people (all of whom said they couldn’t provide the requested documentation for ___ reasons), I decided to give him an update just because I needed a break and wanted to see if he had any other ideas for how to solve this issue.

20 minutes later, everything was settled. He’d called HR again with the summary of my morning meetings and sorted things.

I’m used to being the one to solve problems, and I was astonished that this had simply gone away. I was a manager and a director at various companies. That meant the buck stopped with me. As a teacher, as a parent, as a writer, I constantly have to solve problems. But here, it wasn’t just that he solved the issue — I knew I had someone in my corner who was going to do whatever he could to help, and that in itself helped me navigate all of the bureaucracy (which I just mistyped as bureaucrazy) without freaking out or bursting into tears or whatever one does when running between offices and then waiting forever and then getting that head shake. Non.

So: remember to look for those people who’re in your corner, to ask them for help, and to be that person whenever possible for others. The support doesn’t have to be big, but every little bit helps.

© 2016 Anindita Basu Sempere. 
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