Looking at photos of U.S. presidents before and after their terms in office is like looking at time lapse photography: in the space of one four-year term, presidents can seemingly age 15 years. Afterward, of course, they start painting and becoming vegan, and then the years drop away again. But what do presidents do, while in office, to keep from completely melting down?
The Quora community, as usual, has answers, many of which are useful to us in our non-presidential lifestyles:
1. Reach out to their network.
Quora user Kirk Williams says that, according to the book “The President’s Club,” current presidents often rely on former presidents for support. Which makes you think about how strange it must be to have a job where literally only five other living people, max, will ever understand exactly what you’re going through.
2. Put things in perspective.
“Gerald Ford once said that he dealt with stress by realizing that the problems would be there when he got back in the morning,” writes user Nation Hahn.
“He struggled at first and wanted to work 24 hours a day until he realized it was untenable.”
3. Get some nonjudgmental companionship.
“Presidents usually get a dog. That’s the only living being that is not gonna come with a problem to the Oval Office,” says Luis Elizondo.
4. Have faith.
Steven E. Johnston points out that many presidents have spoken openly about their religious convictions. Both President Obama and President Bush have said, in remarkably similar language, that their faith sustained them during difficult times. Even if you’re non-religious, having principles apart from any religious framework (and a positive attitude) can help you put stress in perspective.
5. Take vacation.
Several users pointed out that presidents pretty much always take a yearly vacation, even when things are really hectic at the White House. And if the leader of the free world can find the time, maybe we should start working harder to squeeze in a few days off, too. (Of course, when we do, we won’t have to worry about getting interrupted by matters of state.)
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