Writing this in week 8 of Level 3 Lockdown in Auckland, NZ. It's been harder this time; I've been hearing that from my clients, my friends, my family members. I think there is a range of reasons for this. I mean, sometimes you just wanna SCREAM!
The thing is, when we feel trapped and immobilised, when we have our choices taken away, it is very stressful. It's an unnatural way to live. I saw this described recently as Pandemic Flux Syndrome:
"Pandemic Flux Syndrome presents as low mood, a rumbling anxiety and blunted emotions. At the same time there’s a sense of wanting — needing — things to be different."
So - all this "Malaise", this lack of motivation, this finding it hard to concentrate... we are all responding in the ways that most humans do in such circunmstances. We are all feeling the effects of chronic uncertainty, which is very very wearying on the human psyche...
When the pandemic arrived, we went into crisis emergency mode. People often cope surprisingly with the acute phase of a crisis because it requires short-term thinking and practical action. But when the acute phase morphs into chronic uncertainty, it forces us into state of flux —instability and constant change — which stirs up uncomfortable feelings."
Now that you know you are behaving and feeling entirely normally, you can officially stop giving yourself a hard time for it! If you have an inner perfectionist, now is the time to watch carefully for the ways it might try and get you to feel a pile of Guilt (which is generally the Inner Perfectionists primary mission in life - it is most definitely not to help you get things all looking perfect - it's a bit of a gaslight in that way). So - repeat after me, self compassion, self compassion, self compassion.
And, It's also important not to let the feelings brought on by Pandemic Flux Syndrome make us grind to a halt, as this can also lead to different problems.
A simple thing to change your neurophysiology and kick-start a transition to somewhere easier to exist within your own mind is to move. It's so simple but it does bring a change of mood. That small change of mood can mean that something else positive or mood-enhancing might be more possible for you.
Movement may even spearhead a cascade of small actions that lead to you feeling a lot better - give it a try with that intention in mind. Go on a power walk for 5 minutes and just see what happens. It's worth a try, right?
I moved and I still feel like shit:
Try clicking this link - it's called (accurately enough!) "I Feel Like Shit".
It's a simple interactive self-care guide that leads you through a list of questions / suggestions to help you when you feel really unable to know how to shift your energy & mood.
Finding Zoom Meetings Exhausting?
Some of you will be carrying on working via Zoom or other online platforms. Most of us will sometimes be catching up with friends & whanau online.
There are good reasons that this can contribute to why we are feeling so tired and demotivated. Popular video chat platforms all have design flaws that exhaust the human mind and body. But there are easy ways to minimise these effects.
Ongoing Counselling Sessions... with me!
I'm intending to send out a (very) short survey to my client base just to get some idea about who might be wishing to continue post-lockdown (when will that be, o crystal ball?), and also to see if you have any interest in working online (for those who have not been).
So, perhaps give that a little thought and you'll be hearing from me on that soon.
Sending my sincere warm thoughts to you all out there - may we all be released back into some form of more normal life SOON!
Hilary @ goodTherapy