May 13, 2020


Crystal Washington: Hello, I’m Crystal Washington, Technology Strategist, and Futurist

Karen McCullough: and I’m Karen McCullough, the millennial evangelist who helps you deal with change. And today we want you to rethink it forward

Crystal Washington: And by rethinking it forward, we mean that there are things that have worked for all of us in the past that aren’t going to work for us in the future. And if we’re, to be real honest, you’re not even necessarily working for us right now.  So today we’re going to talk about kind of battling the blues, Karen, cause I, you know, there’s so many of us that have been dealing with change. I know you teach change, right? So this is something that you’ve helped people through on, on huge stages around the world. But now we’re dealing with such a huge amount of change in a small amount of time. It’s kind of overwhelming for a lot of people. Have you seen that as well?

Karen McCullough:  I’ve seen it in me. People think I’m always happy and always up and all of that. And I thought when, when we decided to talk about this one, um, I was going to just like tell the truth. And the truth is that I have tremendous anxiety. So I am always, always working on bringing it down. It’s sometimes when I go to a big speaking event the night before and I see the empty, empty auditorium, and I see a big picture of the speakers that I see me there. It scares me and I tell people that I get anxiety and go back to people who are still at this age, at this time in your life. Yes. And so I look at it as this is how I energize myself because people say we don’t talk about it as fear. We talk about it as energy. But the reality of it is that I deal with it a lot. And right now for me, there is no work. Um, I’m used to being on a stage. I’m used to getting on airplanes. I, um, am used to being in crowded spaces and lots of elevators. That’s not going to happen. So I have a track going on that I have to fight and I’m using the word fight every day when I wake up. Because when am I, when I hear that? Well, I don’t even have the alarm go off when I wake up. I wake up with a lot of anxiety and so by the time I’m dressed, it’s usually gone. But I have certain things that I have to do to keep it from, you know, eating at me. Right?

Crystal Washington: Like what do you do?

Karen McCullough: Gosh, I have so many rituals. I can’t even talk about them. I have, um, you know, we talked before about schedules and rituals. I need rituals because I’m, I’m the kind of person that loves to have no schedule. I like to have fun and I’m very spontaneous, you know, in the Myers Briggs, I am wishing I was a J. I got all kinds of things. But the first thing that I do, and I started this, um, I’ve told you all that I lost my business, so I’m going to be really honest with you. I was at the lowest point when I lost business. And the thing that got me out of it was gratitude. As I had moved into this little house here in the Heights in Houston and it’s old, everything needed to be fixed. Everything I looked at brought me sadness, like, Oh, the floors need to be redone. I see cracks in the walls and I had to start loving the house. If I didn’t love this house, I wouldn’t have made it because I would only see negative things. And I started being grateful for the floors and grateful for. And so I realized that I needed a gratitude practice because I’m the kind of person that will skip it.

Karen McCullough: So I, when I brushed my, so my toothbrush [inaudible] is my trigger. Okay. So it was the day in the morning. I am grateful to people. So as I brushed my teeth, I think about all the people in my life. Maybe a call like me and crystal and I just thank you. It’s two minutes. Sure. At night I think about what happened during the day. So I have two gratitude practices that I do. And I feel like that’s probably the number one thing that has kept my sanity. I know that sounds so little, but I remember years ago Oprah says you can have an attitude of gratitude. She said that doesn’t work. You have to have a practice. And then I just heard again Bernay Brown talking about the practice of gratitude. So for me, it is a practice and it has really, really helped.

Crystal Washington: I love that. You know, I can say now I’m kind of an interesting creature in that, um, I do have kind of like my blue moments, right? But typically they’re very rare and so I’m that person that when things are completely falling apart, I’m doing very well. Cause I, I go into fix things mode, right? So right now I’m doing pretty good. Now what’s funny is we have close friends. Like we have a friend in common, Betsy who’s an amazing tech speaker. And I jokingly said to her, yeah, I’m great now. I said, but once things get back to normal check on me, cause that’s when I crashed. So once I’m done doing and fixing and helping, that’s when I typically crashed. But I have noticed a lot of people around me are just really dealing with the blues and, and I don’t know, I think it’s for a variety of reasons. It’s all the change. It’s not having physical interaction. I mean Karen there are people that are social distancing and staying in their homes by themselves. Like they don’t have family mates or anything else. Right. And so for people that are very touchy or, or loving around people, it’s hard.

Karen McCullough: Well I said the second thing that I’ve done is I know myself, I have to have something fun to do every day. I have to look forward to things like I love vacations cause I look forward to vacations, I look forward to and I like to name things like crazy Sunday, you know? Um, so like my kids are going to have mother’s day and we’re going to do a game day for mother’s day. And I’m really excited about it. So I’ve always got to have like, cause I’m a fun junkie. I’ve always got to have that fun thing. So I have like I, I know this is going to sound weird, but I love to cook and so I am now cooking. So at the time of the day, I put aside either I’m going to go cook or I’m going to go work in my yard and I’m going to do those things I think are fun. But I have to have a reward every day. I have to have, if I’m going to watch a show at night, I have to look forward to it. So if I don’t have Netflix series on, I’m going to get sad. So people just feed me things because I know that I have to have a lot of rewards, isn’t it? I know I kind of brought up,

Crystal Washington: I love the fact that you know that about yourself and so,

Karen McCullough: Well I’ve survived. I’ve survived alone. Remember I do live alone so I haven’t had to figure out, I love I will get the best book ever to listen to. So I have little tricks that I have put into my life to fight, to fight the negativity. So when I’m feeling down, I’ll leave my computer, I’ll go in my kitchen, I may just put a book on tape and I may just make a pizza.

Karen McCullough: That’s it. That’s the second thing I do because I can’t eat it anymore. So I’m doing, I’m trying to do one act of kindness every day.

Crystal Washington: You don’t, okay. So I think you just hit on a huge one. One of the things that I’ve been doing is as I’ve been seeing all these people around me who were down is just figuring out what can I do to make their day bright. We can’t fix anyone’s issues right now, right. Because they’re too big. But we can do something to bring a smile to someone’s face, whether that’s inviting them to, if they are, if they enjoy this, you know, creating some type of zoom happy hour for them. Again, your thing, sending them flowers or sending them a game.

Karen McCullough: Know you love to do that.

Crystal Washington: Yeah, just, just whatever brings them joy. So it’s not about you, but understanding the things they like and then just sending it to them or doing it for them. Just those little, little things make a huge difference. And I think even when you’re feeling blue, that’s a great way outside of, I think you gave a wonderful activity. I do that too, the gratitude thing. But even outside of that, just doing for others takes the attention off of your own, um, issues. And then as you bring them joy, you get that joy back two three-fold. So that kind of I think helps dissipate some of those icky blues too.

Karen McCullough: Well, people know I love the nursery. Someone called me yesterday, they needed, they couldn’t find strawberry plants and I said, Oh, I’ll go get them. I got so excited because I saw them. I went over to Lowe’s, I picked up two plants, I dropped them off and I felt great about it. And I saw the other day, I don’t laugh, but I saw a Martha Stewart on some show and she was talking about how cooking, it’s really helping people get through the blues. And she was making this massive cookie. And I watched her and I said, I’m going to Martha Stewart tonight. So now I’m making cookies that I’m dropping it off. And all my neighbors who have kids, because they’ve known me for my meatballs, now they’re going to know me for my cookies because they’re losing it, you know? So if I can give them something, because I know the challenges that people are having right now working from home and having kids and doing. And I think school right here in Texas is going to be over in a couple of weeks and there’s no swim team and I’m just thinking of how I can help people with kids. So anyway, that’s how I combat the blues.

Crystal Washington: So I think doing things with your hands as you talked about baking for me is therapeutic. I bake and listen to my Angelo and now I give away my baking cause I’m still doing my cleanse so I’m not actually eating it. But you know that, and I remember years ago in college, I actually had a serious mental disorder, but I found that sewing, whether it was by machine, the humming sound, or by hand, just that motion, would calm me. So yeah, I just think whatever, whatever practice works for you, and I think you just introduced a wonderful word, Karen practice. I think that’s what people need to look at, figuring out what works for you so that when you feel it becoming a little heavy, you have some tools in your tool belt to help you.

Karen McCullough: This is good. This is good. Stay tuned because Friday we’re going to talk about self-care. So we’re going to take this a little bit further. Stay tuned. Hey, put your comments at the bottom. Tell us how you conquer the blues, right? Oh, I see it coming.

Crystal Washington: Leave your comments. Subscribe, share.

Karen McCullough: Tell us if you liked this one. We’re getting more personal.