How I’m Managing Pandemic Burnout

February 1, 2021

How I’m Managing Pandemic Burnout

Hi my dear friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that we are very quickly approaching the year mark of this pandemic. It’s my nature to brood and contemplate and process, in order to understand and ultimately heal. There’s been so much that’s transpired since the start of this era, a whole calendar year filled with holidays, benchmark events, highs, lows, and tremendous suffering.

We all know that our approach to managing the pandemic is unique to us all. While we are living within this very unprecedented time with challenges and restrictions, how we cope, the difficulties we face, and the path we walk, during this time, has been different.

There are so many layers to how this pandemic has impacted our lives; mentally, physically, economically, emotionally and spiritually, and I just wish for everyone to really honor that however you’re feeling about this, it is okay, and it’s normal.

I’ve been noticing lately, in myself and online, that there’s a strong trend of pandemic burnout. People who are just over it or who feel like they just can’t live this way anymore. People who feel like the light at the end of the tunnel feels dimmer and that the end-goal is distant. I see this and I, too, feel this.

We all hold so many beautiful hopes, dreams, and wishes for our lives, and in this constant state of pivot, unrest, and uncertainty, it’s extra challenging to inch towards these ideals. It’s so easy to feel defeated when we take on so much loss. And, it’s absolutely natural to lose your sense of optimism when surrounded by so much despair.

I say all of this with the intention of assuring you that the feelings that you’re feeling, regarding life and this pandemic, are valid, normal, and that you’re not alone.

This week, I want to share with you some thoughts and tools that I have been using in my life to help me manage this burnout and this overwhelm, always with the intention that it might be helpful, in your life, too.

Reassess your boundaries, especially when it comes to your self-care.  With life being so unpredictable, it’s so important to keep tabs on how you can best take care of yourself. Notice when certain things drain your energy, and gracefully pivot from those things. Take social media and news breaks when it becomes too much to take in. Remember that this period has been incredibly traumatic, and it’s important to rest. If you need to set a new boundary to take better care of yourself, honor yourself, and do it.

Think in micro, rather than macro. I tend to become very overwhelmed when I think of the enormity of our world’s problems, and to be honest, I propel my burnout racking my mind trying to solve it all. While I believe it to be important to be in the know about the state of the world, I also find it beneficial to drill back down into our own manageable lives. We might not be able to solve everything that’s happening globally, but we can take tiny actions to improve smaller issues in our own lives. When we are living in a state of overwhelm, it feels almost impossible to take action. I find that I’m able to move through that stagnant space when I bring myself back to myself, and the things that I can do, now, that will impact my small life’s sphere.

Take life one day at a time. I know that this tip is not new or groundbreaking, but it’s been the most helpful to me, especially when I feel down. My mom often says to me, “I might not be able to live this way for forever, but I know that I can do it for one more day”. In this vein, I try to approach each day as brand new, with optimism and with hope. I can do anything, and endure anything, for one more day, and in this mindset, day by day, I know that ultimately I will get to where I want to go and who I want to be.

Be creative with your joy. So much of our excitement, passion, and creativity has been drained in this period of time. The things that I personally used to look forward to, are no longer possible at this moment in time. While it’s important to mourn the way of life that we once had, I’ve found joy in tapping into my creativity and finding new ways to feel excitement and anticipation. It can be as simple as looking forward to ordering in from my favorite restaurant in town, watching an episode of a sitcom that I’ve seen one-hundred times, but it always brings a smile to my face, or simply spending time with my cat, Charlotte. The silver lining of this time, for me, as been relishing in life’s simplicities, and remembering how much the little things in life, actually mean to me.

Stop comparing yourself to people on the internet. Because we are all home and limited in our activities, we are online, a lot. I find myself on social media so much more than usual, and my screen time is through the roof. It’s my nature to want to read opinion pieces and see how other people are handling this time, but I also know that it’s very easy for me to slip in to comparison mode when I do this. Remember that there is no guidebook to managing a pandemic, we all are managing this new way of life differently, and have unique struggles and coping mechanisms. Remember this, when you compare yourself to a stranger on the internet who might appear to be thriving, when you’re feeling at your lowest. When in this space, take a break, do something that feels good for you, and know that you’re doing the best you can, and that is always enough.

Remember that this, too, shall pass. Just like with everything else, no phase in life is final, no feeling will last forever, and we will get through this time. I believe this to be true, and it’s this truth that anchors a feeling of hope and optimism, knowing that this heaviness will pass, and a new chapter will unfold.

I hope these little reminders are helpful for you, especially at this time. If you have some more tips you’d like to share, let us know in the comments!

I’m grateful for all of you, and I know that we will all get through this, and have happier times, one day soon.

xo, Michelle

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