covid exhaustionRead Now
One second… “Ugh… Why bother?” A few minutes later: “Okay, I think I can do this!”
Anyone else having these ping-pongy type thoughts? You flip flop between chasing your dreams and then seeing no point in even trying. Choosing to master something new, and then promptly giving up on it.
My work hours have been a roller-coaster of total productivity and inspiration, and then 30 minutes later unproductively sitting on my bed watching yet another episode of Queer Eye while eating chips.
Those of you who are joining me in finding your strong & kind voices might have noticed that you ROCKED it for a few days, and then reverted back to your quiet, or, super loud voices. When you got back on the horse to repeat that strong & kind, you were quickly triggered or exhausted at the thought of following through.
I’m here to tell you that it’s fair. And okay. And, understandable.
As our worlds shut down because of Covid, and, as they open up again - we are handling an excessively long road of stress. The ups and downs have been extreme, and, the emotional reactivity to it all (fear, panic, depression, mania, fogginess, rage, desire, longing, confusion, resentment… etc) is going to exhaust us.
And now a new chapter: the hope of life opening up is ALSO peppered with the fear of what might occur… The decisions to join friends, or not… The safety concerns we ruminate about after a first social time with family that you haven’t seen in months.
It’s EXHAUSTING. And so - if you’re exhausted that is A.O.K.
Keep following what your brain, body, and soul can manage. Follow that burst of inspiration, and then rest when your body tells you to. And, if you’re like me and need to veg out and “pretend” to work some days - do it! It will provide you the fuel to follow the inspiration once your energy is back up.
All of this WILL end, and we WILL find a more consistent path - for now, we need to learn to listen to our minds, bodies, and souls to rest when we need it.
Now - back to Queer Eye!
#COVID #rollercoaster #energydrain #exhaustion #whybother #inspiring #excited #hope #isolation #fear #drain #dreams #followyourdream #rest #relax #regenerate
When you DO finally use your strong & kind voice - what constitutes a successful outcome?
Something I always tell my clients is to remember to “separate the reaction from the result”.
Even though WE have found our “strong & kind” doesn’t mean that the person we’re speaking with has. In fact, most people haven’t done the work to drop their defences and respond in an authentic way.
What does this mean? To put it bluntly, the person on the other side of the strong & kind might respond pretty poorly. Bummer eh?
So - they key - is to anticipate a predictable response. If that person is often defensive - expect defensiveness. If that person often freezes people out when they speak up? Expect some distance from them for a while. If that person is a yeller… You got it - expect some yelling.
BUT, what this DOESN’T mean is that you haven’t created change.
It might take a couple of rounds of staying “strong & kind” before a shift happens, but, it most likely will.
Perhaps it won’t include a tearful apology, a gracious repairing of harm, or any sort of acknowledgement of wrongdoing…
But what will happen? Whatever boundary you set will be followed. And that - my friend - is a big win.
Yesterday morning, my husband fell down a flight of stairs and dislocated his arm.
He’s okay - he went to the hospital by ambulance, and, after a few hours of intense pain were able to massage his shoulder back in.
It was really scary for us having to call 9-1-1… , see him in so much pain… But, he’s home now, he’s safe, and he will heal.
The reverberations of an event like this - especially in a family with small children - is not felt lightly.
Our boys are yelling more - pushing back… pushing each other. And, our daughter - well, she, like dad, has hurt arms and is refusing to both of them.
She clutched them like she had double slings on - last night she couldn’t put pyjamas on because it would hurt to lift her arms. She has needed someone to feed her dinner, and now breakfast. She is asking for someone to carry her down the stairs because she can’t hold the banister.
As our little empath, I don’t doubt she’s feeling her daddy’s pain. I also know that what she’s also looking for is some tender attention - some extra love from the adults in her life to feel safe after the scary thing that happened yesterday.
But here’s the thing - I’m exhausted. I’m stretched. I came into this latest crisis depleted - dealing with COVID, our Reno, the loss of grampa, the challenges of being a business owner with no school for our kids to go through…
I have been able to dig deep and give her lots of tenderness, but, have also lost my patience a few times with her and the boys. I just simply can’t sustain it… there isn’t enough in the tank.
I wonder, in the future, if she’ll remember this event. And, if she will feel is the love we were able to give her, or, the frustration this “I can’t use my arms” time made us feel?
We all have those times from our past - those times where we know our parents didn’t give us what we wanted or needed.
As a parent myself now, I can see how these future-therapy-worthy-conversations go. “They couldn’t figure it out! I was really struggling and they didn’t see me!”
“They KNEW what I needed, why couldn’t they just give it to me?”
And I wonder what I’ll say when finally confronted.
Because the truth - or at least MY truth today - is that I’m doing the best that I can, but, that “best” is likely not good enough for my little peanut.
To BE the best for her, I need a week long vacation, 10 hour sleeps for a little while, daily work-outs, and a break from my businesses…
These are impossibilities right now - so, my best, is simply not going to be enough.
I wonder if, in this future conversation, I’ll have the courage to say “I knew what you needed, but I didn’t have the patience, the energy, the capacity to give it to you. And I’m so so sorry.”
And I wonder if she’ll be able to forgive me.
Mostly, for now, I hope that I’ll find the capacity and the grace to be able to forgive myself.
Kathleen is an anti-bullying specialist, a conflict coach, a teacher, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend...