Are You Feeling Burnt out from the COVID-19 Pandemic?
For many of us, life has resumed and become something closer to “normal” in this strange, new existence we’ve had throughout the pandemic. Although we all have gone through so much in this time period, it might feel like the world has expected us to collectively move past covid-19, regardless of our lived realities and the many emotions we may have had to sit with. For some, this has caused a new kind of stress in our lives: a sense of burnout in our work, our relationships, and the expectations put on our days.
Through this unusual and difficult time, we at The Other Road Counseling want to offer you some reminders, perspectives, and techniques that may be helpful when feeling emotionally overburdened or simply exhausted.
- Although everyone’s experience through this Pandemic has differed, trauma remains a core experience for almost all of us. You are allowed to feel whatever way you do about these changes. There is nothing wrong with those feelings, and others’ expectations don’t make your feelings and experiences any less valid. Though some people may be trying to move on, you don’t have to if you’re not ready yet.
- When we experience trauma, our body experiences it too. Finding small ways of giving ourselves space to let our bodies express what we’re feeling can allow us to process emotions and events more thoroughly. One small thing you can try is finding a space you’re comfortable in and allowing yourself to shake out and move your body in whatever way helps release both inner and outer tension. You can even let yourself make whatever sounds come naturally to you while trying this. It might feel silly in the moment, but it really can help sometimes!
- Remind yourself that your worth is not defined by your productivity or your mood. You’re angry? You’re not getting as much done as you’d like? That’s okay. As Americans, our society and culture have taught us that we must appear happy and stay busy to be successful as people, and that simply isn’t true. Your personal values do not have to match with this system we’ve inherited. What values are important to you? How can you incorporate these principles and values as a guide star for your life?
- Take breaks. We know how hard that might sound; life is busy and slowing down to give ourselves time to rest might feel impossible or unproductive. A mindful break just for you can come simply while washing your hands. Take a few breaths and notice how the water feels on your fingers, and how cold or hot the temperature is. Is it slippery? What does water actually feel like? How does it smell? This is a small moment just for you. Allow yourself to be present in it.
- Acknowledge the things that are hard in your life and try not to downplay them, regardless of where the world may want you to be. Your experience and your feelings are yours and allowing yourself the space to sit with them however you need to, is an important step to being able to offer yourself some grace. This is not something Western culture tends to encourage but try to be brave and let yourself be vulnerable, even if just to yourself!
- Try to find moments of gratitude in each day. There may be days and moments when we aren’t able to identify anything we are grateful for, and that’s okay. Remember, gratitude can come in all shapes and sizes. Though it may be easier to notice the big things we are grateful for, small things can come to us more often than we think. Was your coffee particularly tasty this morning? Were you granted a great hair day? Did the random person at the grocery store make you smile? Finding a moment each day to reflect upon these things, even just in your head, can help you find a bit more appreciation in each day.