By now no matter what side of the globe you are inhabiting there is a high chance you have what’s called Covid-19 fatigue which in essence just means it has had a long-standing seat at your table, the uninvited but ever-present guest that has no boundaries or manners and it has brought with it two strong companions: Anxiety and Fear.
How do we manage these two human emotions and experiences strongly associated with the pandemic that has brought with it very real and impacting threats to our health, livelihoods, homes and loved ones? Simple. We manage them.
The issue with anxiety and fear is that they often hold us hostage to the possibilities of what may or may not happen but brings the threat to life as if it has or is going to happen in the next 18.104.22.168……seconds. There is often merit in listening to the voice of anxiety as if it holds a “coaching” role in our life as sometimes it tells us to shrink back, retract, withdraw from our situation/circumstances for our own wellbeing and mental health. I spend countless hours as a counsellor discussing the concept of listening to our internal musings and understanding when our anxiety and fear are a dialogue for things being out of balance or out of “whack” needing to be addressed and validated.
There are also equal measures of anxiety being required to take a “back seat” and for us to somehow rise up through the trenches with resilience and self-care that says “anxiety you’re not the boss today”
So how do we know when its time to shrink or when to rise?
The answer: I am not entirely sure. There is not a one size fits all and therefore it’s about navigating our own personal experiences, temperaments, environment, and capacity for the sweet spot of balance. However, what I do know is that the longer this pandemic goes on, the greater the need for “rise up” moments in our lives. One of the greatest enemies of anxiety and fear in our current climate is that they are being constantly fuelled by the hour, minutes even by media, politicians, medicos, real life and front-line experience of both the affect and effect this virus is having and it can be scary…very scary. The other great often silent contributor is ignoring, suppressing, and having the attitude of “just get on with it” like somehow that makes you tougher than most.
Even though the answers might be different for most, there are some key ingredients that each of us can “control” and adapt into our lives as part of our own wellbeing and mental health protocol against anxiety and fear:
- Limit social media, news, and any publications you are digesting daily
- Resist the dynamics of constantly talking about C-19 with family, friends, and work colleagues
- Move your body to shift any stress, burden, and negativity daily
- Find your tribe to debrief and unpack how you are feeling
- Do not supress your feelings if you are sad – its ok to be sad if you are angry its ok to be angry. Emotions need to be validated and acknowledged
- Being resilient is also about being real; know your limit and limitations
- Make plans, book ahead, have things to look forward to even your annual leave and next holiday
- Take up a new hobby/interest something that you have always wanted to do but never done
- Engage in random acts of kindness – pursue looking outwards and away from yourself
- Look after your TRIFECTA : mental, emotional, and physical health equally
- Create space in your life for FUN
- Quit unhealthy habits
- Dream again
Finally, if the past few years have taught us anything it’s that this is not a sprint but rather a marathon that comes with no google maps, Siri, or an express line to the end. It can and has been overwhelming and confronting but every single marathon has a finite line that all competitors have the possibility of crossing BUT it depends on their training, endurance, physical, mental and emotional fitness, and also the ability to overcome pain, discomfort and fatigue. There is no failure as a marathon runner, if they are in the race…they have already won.
Keep running even if its a shuffle and remember….
Are you going to shrink or rise?