Susan Cain, Ed.D, LCSW
By now, most of us have experienced multiple symptoms of pandemic fatigue: that familiar cycle of Groundhog Day-like resignation: here we are again for another day of mesmerizing sameness, struggling through bandwidth issues, kids, laundry, clients and for some of us, pets.
I think this cycle typifies what many of us have been living:
- Clear Sailing Days: These are days when we don’t feel the oppressive heaviness of pandemic. It is days like these that help us make it through.
Try to think about what makes these days worthwhile: what was your mindset, and pace. What were you doing? This information will help you to apply these emotional boosters to rough patch days.
- Rough Patch Days: These are days whenyour moodswerves toward hopelessness, depression or fear. Or you may feel overwhelmed and find that it is hard to summon the positive energy to continue. A good way to confront these feelings and de-stress is to listen to your self-talk.
Imagine that your self-talk as a word cloud. What is the word cloud saying? Instead of judging the words, label each one; “that’s a sad feeling; that’s an angry feeling…” and release them to float away, one by one. Most of all, confront strong feelings by asking yourself, “Is this TRUE?” If it is, what small, achievable steps can you take to repair/fix/ resolve it? Sounds crazy, right? This is a famous mindfulness exercise commonly used in coaching and therapy. Be kind to yourself on these days.
- Recovery and Rebuild Days: These days help us more than any other day. These are the days when we are drawn up sharp to remember how fortunate we are. Gratitude is a powerful remedy for hopelessness. On these days we “re-remember” that all is not lost, that we are making progress and move through the pandemic with hope. We recall that we can hang on just a bit longer. We remember respect the rolls that patience and tolerance play in getting through the pandemic. We rekindle our hope and reaffirm facts. We are making progress.
Maintaining a Groundhog Day outlook can change your perspective on pandemic fatigue. We are reminded that we are active players in our lives and not pawns. That we have options, and to find the meaning and optimism in each day to improve our outlook and to expand our resiliency and purpose.
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