On day 115 on Lockdown I wrote a Blog about Lockdown Fatigue and I'm now wondering if you, like me are now tired of the Pandemic and all the protocols you have to follow to keep yourself safe? Are you irritable? Annoyed? Tired? Losing sleep? Grumpy? Tearful? Just in need of a hug?
We are designed to be able to deal with short crisis effectively and mitigate short term threats. When the threat continues and we can see the threat (e.g war, violence etc) we can move into a Trauma response - we feel our survival is threatened. With Covid, we are aware that there is a threat, while we also aware that many people do survive, some show no symptoms at all, and some may die, yet that threat, unless we know someone close to us, also seems removed. Initially we followed protocols and now, we are tired, The economy has opened and for the most part life seems to be normal.
Yesterday I read an announcement from our Health Minister, where he has appealed to South Africans to keep up the precautions, the spread is on the increase again, the effects of the caution - fatigue is showing up in the number of cases.
I'm going to share some of ways I am tired and then some ideas I'm beginning to implement more regularly now....
There's the Social Aspect:
Are you yearning to run into the wild, embrace your friends and family and "normal" life again? Are you, like me wanting to hug your mum, your niece? Are you like me wondering when you will see your sister and your nephew and niece in another country? Are the Zoom calls no longer exciting and are you just wanting to scream into the world and into Pandemic, ENOUGH, I'm done, GO HOME?
Sadly the Pandemic isn't done with us. And I have no idea when it will be. So, I am seeing people and going out. The first time I saw my eldest niece, I (being THAT aunt much to my horror) had tears in my eyes. The next time I saw her, she just came up to me and hugged me to tight, it felt so good.
I see my other niece and my nephew on FaceTime, they have gone so big, I am used to seeing them at least once a year, and the last time I saw them I was unable to do much as I was recovering from an operation. So, my heart is yearning to see them and listen to how they've grown.
How's your heart and longings been? Whats getting you going?
Theres the Protocols:
Gosh, there have been times when I haven't sanitised my groceries, when I've left them, hoping that when I need them, the sufficient time would have passed. When I am tempted to eat my take away straight from the container - remember those days?
When I buy a drink and without thinking I start opening it, WAIT!
There's the Social Awareness
The awareness of people struggling and wanting to support, so signing up for charity events, but I sometimes just want to pretend its not happening.
There's the "what an opportunity"
In my field, the world has opened up. There are discounts for developing countries. Courses I would not have access to due to so many logistics, are now on the other side of my computer. How can I not take advantage of every one of them in the areas I am specialising?
So, yes I'm pretty tired of the new normal, how about you?
So, what can we do, when we are exhausted by the new normal, the Pandemic?
PAUSE - I am becoming increasingly aware in Q4, perhaps its time to PAUSE. To return to the core and to reflect on what I need, what my body needs, my mind, my soul, and to give myself that. With the awareness that perhaps it has changed - I needed to for example grab every opportunity with both hands, and now, perhaps (well once the courses I have paid for already are done) perhaps its ok to step back, to say no. I have a sense that the way I was pausing in the middle of lockdown is different to the way I am pausing now. It feels like the need, the purpose of it has shifted. Its almost a re-calibration. Doesn't that make sense? We at a changing reality and it requires yet something else from us, so we need to recalibrate. For me I'm aware that its now more self Brainspotting, more Quick Coherance HeartMath (which for me is re-setting). It feels like my body is getting ready for the next movement.
Say NO - isn't that sometimes so hard - but to say NO means I am saying YES to something else. Say YES to your needs, honouring your being, your body, what you truly need now. Do what you can when you can. Perhaps automate your charitable contributions for example.
Go SLOW - this is a bit different to pausing. Going slow is more about being mindful in the moment, as you going on with your day. This allows for a moment spent noticing, allowing, which then will give you insight into what is needed now. Is it getting creative, or perhaps lying on your couch, seeing a friend, or going on a holiday.
ACT - now that you are aware of your needs and have ways of getting in touch with them, ACT - even if that action is inaction. If that action is disappearing into a book, into a movie, into your lover. Saying no to events.
Communicate - do let those around you know what's going on for you, and your needs. Do not express it as blame or anger or criticism as we sometimes can, but express it as what you are needing and have a conversation about how you and your partner/the person you sharing it with both can get your needs met
Expand your Bubble - responsibly I for example know I will hug my niece. I will hug my sister when I know she isn't seeing my mum again soon. I will ensure I do not do this when I am not feeling well and we are all aware and voice these things. I won't go to some events. I will smile when someone reaches out their hand to shake them (have you been to those places).
Set up Systems - create a routine to minimise your risk - the novelty of sanitising, masks etc has gone, so make it now just part of the routine - place things in easy access and wherever you may ever need it. Make the new normal part of your routine as much as possible - like brushing your teeth, eating etc.
Kids, Teens and young adults - make the mask wearing, sanitising part of the routine and offer choice as you would usually. Have a few options and get them to choose. Teens and young adults - have conversations with them about what precautions they are taking. They are much like to be much more fluid in their interactions, so talk to them to see how they can get creative about keeping somethings in check, in ways that are comfortable for them. Help them balance the need to belong and connect with the need to be responsible (the ability to respond). They are potentially super-spreaders, so speak to them, get them involved in coming up with ideas - as them how they would advise government to engage with them and get them involved.
Be kind and gentle to yourself and those you love, through the big and little things. Its tempting to take out the fear, or pick on your loved ones, remember we are all going through an added level of stress at the moment and the biggest gift you can give to yourself an your loved ones is kindness , gentleness and appreciation. The long term effect of that is closer connection, secure attachments and with that, freedom.
Reach out to the ones you love near and far and find a way to make that connection that perhaps isn't only virtual one, perhaps its sending them a gift, or buying them and you something to do together over some cake as you have the Zoom chat on.
Let me know how you doing, and remember you not alone at this time, and do reach out and schedule an appointment if you would like more specific support.