In my last post, I wrote about emerging from the pandemic with intention. That was in June. Next, I started writing a post about the joy of "collective effervescence" from a piece in the New York Times by the behavioral psychologist Adam Grant. My plan was to discuss how important it is for us to be with others for fun times.
However, since the time I started working on it until now, the delta variant has spread throughout the US, initially across some Southern states, upending the positive trajectory we all thought was on the horizon for the pandemic.
Instead, I have heard parents talking about their fears for their school-aged children, especially those under 12 and not yet eligible for a vaccine. I have heard concerns and worries from adults who work in schools, and many healthcare professionals have shared their anger, frustration, resentment, and discouragement with me. Many see the current wave of infections as preventable, and they are exhausted from what has already occurred in the pandemic and feel they have little to no reserve for this current wave of ill and dying people.
Additionally, many people have talked and written about their general uncertainty in making decisions again. Do I move ahead with plans for indoor work and gatherings? Should I resume travel for work or pleasure, or should I again cancel my plans? Will I ever be free of Zoom or Teams meetings or at least have less of them?
Earlier in the pandemic, I wrote about the challenges for the human brain brought about by uncertainty and the unknown. Our brains struggle with chaos and stress, with uncontrollable stress being worse for us than that which can be controlled. Recognition that we do not know what will happen from the current surge (although the trend is more hopeful in the last week), wears us down even further.
While we may all be weary of figuring out how to navigate yet another pandemic-related challenge, we need to be reminded there are still things we can do to keep ourselves centered in this moment of time. It begins with being kind to ourselves and acknowledging that these circumstances are extraordinarily difficult. Here are a few tips for getting started:
Take a long breath in and out and be present for the moment
Be as patient and kind to yourself as you can be. This is a time to be especially self-compassionate and give yourself a break.
Acknowledge the challenge of the moment and allow it to be... without trying to fix it.
Set small and doable goals for yourself for things over which you have control.
Have fun with people who bring you joy and make you laugh.
Remind yourself that this version of reality will not last forever!
This list makes it look easy. It isn't or we wouldn't forget to do it. But, at yet another time of pandemic challenge, it is important to remember to take care of yourself. Do you have any action items to add to the list? If so, please share them with me.
Please take care of yourself.
Sending my best regards,