It's taken me a few weeks to really start processing and assimilating what's going on in the world at the moment. The announcement of COVID-19 making it to the UK and the subsequent closure of whole parts of society had me feeling completely depleted. I just wanted to sleep all the time (and was often falling asleep on the sofa after work or extra early) and I really didn't have much energy for anything.
I think partly, this was due to my body and mind needing that extra energy to process the onslaught of information I was receiving and also to the adaptations now required. The other part, I'm sure was a result of connecting with the collective energies and all the uncertainty and fear bouncing around.
Couple all of this with an internal conflict constantly yo-yo'ing from feeling like I was over-reacting to vastly under-reacting, it's no wonder I felt so tired!! All at the same, I was trying to reason with myself as to why I was feeling all these things (aside from the obvious). To be honest, I was surprised and annoyed that I wasn't able to take it all in my stride. Reflecting now, that seems like a bit of a silly notion because why on earth would anyone be able to take ANY of what's happened in their stride? This global pandemic is completely unprecedented and is something none of us (on any level of society!) are emotionally, physically or mentally prepared for.
Everyday has been different and will continue to be different I'm sure. Some days I still have no energy, other days I'm more motivated. Some days are a rollercoaster of ups and downs but what I want to remind you is that...
Your feelings are valid.
One of the biggest disservices we do ourselves is to dismiss our feelings. Have you ever expressed worry about something to only be told 'Oh you'll be fine!'? When we dismiss our feelings, we're essentially telling ourselves that we're not allowed to have them. That we 'shouldn't' have them, for whatever reason we're giving - it's silly, irrational or selfish for example. Even outside of a global pandemic, there's no rulebook to follow for feelings because we're all different but especially in this time, there definitely are no 'shoulds' or 'shouldn'ts'. There is no specific way you should be feeling or be expecting yourself to feel.
Be kind to yourself.
One thing that's helping me navigate this period is engaging with myself like I would a friend. If I'm feeling a certain way, I'll imagine that a friend is expressing the same thing to me and then think about how I would respond. (Hint - you're usually kinder in what you'd say to someone else than yourself!) I find that this also helps me to be a little more objective. It helps me separate myself from my feelings so I don't feel consumed by them.
Let go of expectations.
Don't expect too much of yourself. Like I expected myself to be able to roll with it, it's just not realistic (for me anyway!) I'm trying to make a more conscious effort to engage with my feelings. If I'm feeling unmotivated, I'll allow myself to feel that and lie on the sofa all morning. If I'm feeling creative, maybe I'll write a blog post but I might also spend some time colouring or knitting. If I'm feeling restless, I'll move my body (gently!) with some supportive yoga. The key here is not to focus on CHANGING how you're feeling but embracing it. The other thing I might do is...
Engage with the feelings.
I'll investigate them. I'll ask where they're coming from or why they're coming up at that time. This might take the form of an internal dialogue, some journalling or Tarot (of course!) There's no right way or wrong way of doing this, it's just about learning to be present with the feelings as opposed to pushing them away with distraction or avoidance. It might seem counterintuitive because why would we want to engage with unhelpful or troublesome feelings? Because it allows us to bring more awareness and understanding to our inner worlds which eventually will help us become more resilient and flexible.
I'm not saying I've got it all right, I'm just sharing some of my experiences in the hope it might be relatable or helpful to some of you. I'm also aware that whilst this time isn't easy for any of us, it's notably worse for those suffering domestic abuse or the more detrimental effects like eviction and job loss. This post isn't intended to gloss over what's happening or to turn it into something that can be helped with a few simple strategies, it's just an offering to those who might find it relatable. I hope that by sharing our individual experiences, we can find some sort of connection, understanding and empathy for one another.
Sending you wishes for ease and grace in these strange times.