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It’s Not You – It’s A Prolonged Pandemic

It’s Not You – It’s a Prolonged Pandemic

As we face the extension of Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order, the impact of uncertainty and quarantine is hitting us even harder.

I want you to know that it’s normal for your emotional and mental well-being to be impacted by this incredibly abnormal situation.

Are you feeling any of this?

      • Fear of future uncertainties
      • Stress or anxiety or worry
      • Restless
      • Feeling unsettled, antsy or edgy
      • Easily irritable or downright angry
      • Negative thinking
      • Rumination or a constantly busy mind
      • Fatigue or exhaustion or lethargy
      • Sleep problems
      • Weird dreams
      • Wasting time and lack of motivation
      • Difficulty making simple decisions
      • Poor concentration
      • Boredom – but also don’t feel like doing anything
      • Depression or low mood
      • Apathy (like, “whatever”)
      • Muscle tensions, aches or pains
      • Feeling safe only at home
      • Fear of touching absolutely anything
      • Are you over-indulging, or under-eating, emotional-eating, comfort-eating and/or stress-eating?
      • Are you drinking more? Alcohol sales are up 291% compared to last year!

Wow! Notice the length of that list! That’s a lot to deal with!

The #1 think I want you to take away from this: We are ALL experiencing these things!!! You are not alone!

The phases we are going through

At first… It such a shock that it actually felt traumatic. It was nearly impossible to wrap our minds around what was happening and the changes we were forced to deal with. It was so hard for our brains to even process what the heck was happening to our world and to our day-to-day lives.

At first… We went through serious disbelief, denial, shock, surreal-ness, anger, fear, worry and panic. We still go through times of feeling this way, but at first it was constant and more intense.

Next… We moved into stages of adapting to the shock, problem-solving and figuring out how adjust our day-to-day lives to what was being forced on us. We moved in and out of all the feelings listed above. We tried our best to cope, developing coping skills that were sometimes health and sometimes unhealthy.

Some nice things started to emerge: Gratitude to those on the front line…kindness… sharing instead of hoarding…community unity.

Now… We are looking at prolonged stress or prolonged duress of another month of the same.

Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations

Above all, I hope that you will remind yourself that whatever you are feeling is normal given this abnormal situation.

Many people have unrealistic expectations of themselves at this time. Don’t expect to be your normal self during the abnormal-ness of a pandemic! Your standards for yourself during a pandemic SHOULD be different.

Are you mad at yourself or negatively judging yourself for any or all of the above? Think you shouldn’t be feeling all of those things above? Think you should be handling it better? Disappointed in yourself?

Give yourself a break, please. It’s not you, it’s a pandemic!

What To Do Now

  • Self-Compassion. Read HERE about what really means and how to practice it.

  • Stop “shoulding” on yourself. You’ve never been through a pandemic so there is no standard for how you “should” be handling it. HERE’s how to stop.

  • Feel your feelings. Let yourself have your feelings. They are normal in this abnormal situation. Journal about them. Talk to trusted people about them. Cry if you feel like it.

  • Double Down on self-care. I’m talking about much more than the basics of nutrition, exercise and sleep. Get lots of 1-minute self-care ideas HERE.

  • Reduce media usage even more. I’m now recommending eliminating it altogether. What more do you need to know? Predictions about the unknown future are unnecessary right now. Mindfulness and keeping your focus in the NOW will be more helpful.

  • Focus on kindness and community unity. More community efforts are underway for the homeless, those who need food, and those at-risk and homebound.

I was driving home from the grocery store and saw a random table setup on a random sidewalk with a bunch of groceries and household goods, including toilet paper, with a sign “Take what you need; leave what you can.”

Look for kindness. Be kindness. Be kind to yourself too.


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