By now, most of us have realised that our world has changed and like it or not, we are moving forward, even though somedays it feels more lateral or even backward. I read a beautiful term for this last week – “languishing” – a sense of stagnation or emptiness, as described by organisational psychologist @adamgrant. Some days this feels true – the tide is washing over us and we are simply treading water. The antidote to this, Adam suggests, is flow.
We thought the worst of it all was behind us, and that 2021 was going to bring renewed hope and purpose back to our days. But as I sit here, surrounded by my children in the throws of remote learning, enduring our sixth lockdown, the fatigue of it all is starting to wear. We are seeing it all too acutely in you, our patients, also. Fear, anger, pain and grief can negatively affect us long after the original event has passed. Top that with feeling deflated, weary, struggling to find motivation. These are all feelings many of us are experiencing daily at the moment.
Lockdown fatigue is a newly discovered term and presents as feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety and irritability; chronic stress leading to physical tiredness; exhaustion and burnout as suggested by @anitatoi. It affects decision making and behavioural changes such as non compliance and a sense of emotional disconnection.
Initially I felt that it was my own inability to cope with the multitude of changes that were being thrown our way that was my failure. I am, by nature, a creature of habit, and thrive on daily routines such as eating well, physical exercise, getting enough sleep and planning. But through it all I still felt a real disconnect with my own physical, mental and emotional health and it made me think that maybe this is about something bigger than individual daily habits.
2020/21 was supposed to be about slowing down, but the constant rollercoaster from lockdown to the overwhelm of life, trying to get in a few catch ups and shopping stock-ups, children’s extra-curricular activities back in full swing, school drop offs and pickups, before the inevitable lockdown ensued again has seen our concerns amplify, our worries and our emotions skyrocket; the constant need to pivot to our changing environment is affecting our health on every level and we need to acknowledge that. Once we do, and only then, can we begin to lean into the current situation and give ourselves some space.
As humans, we are meant to live in communities where we support and uplift each other. We utilise our individual skills to aid the functioning of our communities as a whole. We are perfectly shaped quilt pieces in the fabric of life. We need to lean on each other in times of uncertainty, and respond to our ever-changing environment with a level of flow. We are being shown how far we have strayed from our natural state and how out of alignment we are. We don’t necessarily have a mental illness, but we are not the picture of mental health either. We are not functioning at our full capacity. We are languishing. Our motivation is down, our ability to focus is dwindling and in some ways, our drive is dampened to a very dull roar. But this is all merely circumstantial.
We need to protect ourselves from this state, and find our flow. We need to remedy our social interconnectedness, avoid fragmented attention, and get back to what makes us happy. Acknowledge your feelings each morning and respond to them with an emotional fortitude, without judgement. Do something each week that challenges you – a project, a goal, a meaningful conversation. Stay active – a walk, a run, get out in the garden. Be “mindfull” – read, sit with a coffee, colour in, draw. A good dose of gratitude and kindness go a very long way to filling your cup and in the gentle moments of every day, find your flow.
Osteopathy and Podiatry are currently open for urgent care. If you are experiencing any form of pain that you feel cannot wait until after restrictions are lifted, please call the clinic on 9437 6268 or book online and we can help step you through the process. We are here to help keep your Health Connected.