It is indeed. Consider just these four big-ticket topics: COVID, Economy, School, Politics, and my head is spinning. I imagine yours is too. The heat setting on our cooktop of coping seems to be on “hard boil.” I heard someone refer to the last six months as “the most challenging ten years of my life.” That strikes a chord…yep, that fits.
There are no platitudes or quips that can fix it. It is what it is… and will be until it isn’t anymore. “This is how it is…now.” That’s just the truth. Clever, quippy sayings, and inspirations strike me as trite and more irritating than helpful. Like you, I’m grappling with how to continue to function and flourish in my line of work, with all its old and new challenges daily. Cliché and trite don’t fit the bill.
Our fatigue seems multi-dimensional.
Weary of the length of time that we are living in the midst and threat of a pandemic. Tired of being told conflicting information about our safety, our best strategy, only to have it be rescinded and changed sometimes within one week’s time. Beat from the black hole of bad news and political posturing, all of which takes so much energy to manage. How much do we let in? How much of ourselves do we give over to this? How do we protect ourselves and keep some of our precious energy for what’s most important?
Lots have been discussed, written, and messaged about resiliency: bouncing back, being able to face demands, difficulties, and even crises, and return to base. The ability to “reset.” If we have it, we know it, and it has been put to the test. If we don’t have it, we want it. Like all of our coping skills, our resiliency is not fully functioning every day. Up and down, in and out. It’s available, and then it isn’t.
An opportunity undoubtedly present in this banner year is choice. Often when up against significant odds, we feel our options are limited. Choices about how we mask or unmask, how we spend our time, what information we consume, and then the big-ticket items like how we reach out to others in hardship or pain, and what example we set for our children. Maybe some choices are limited, but some are not.
In the blizzards of winter, we are often stopped. Maybe we have no electricity. Life gets slow, even for hours or days. It’s quiet. We have choices to make. Marshmallows over the fire or out of the bag? Games or a book? Pajamas or clothes? Inconsequential. Those are easy.
The blizzard is now six months long. The demands of our central nervous system continue. Like a drum… work, school, kids, parents, virus, unrest in the country…and world. We want to yell, “STOP!” But even if we do… it won’t. We can’t stop “it,” but maybe WE can slow down. If we consider our “consumption” and its impact, if we filter, choose and limit, we have the opportunity to create a protective layer, provide shelter, and take it all down a notch.
In the massive hype that is all around us, the “breaking news” of daily life, we can also tune into the breaking news of the cool air, the refreshing blue sky, the stars of night, and the quiet. Sometimes it’s not what it “is;” instead, it’s “what it’s not.” If it’s not noise badgering us, demanding our attention, and our response, then it is something else. As we wrap up our COVID summer and embrace the next phase of the seasons, we can labor toward more peace and less mania, more proactive and less reactive, knowing our own resilience and strength and dismissing powerlessness.
We are what we eat. Garbage in, garbage out. Toxicity in, mania out. Peace In, Peace Out.
Joanne MacInnis, RN, is the founder and president of Aberdeen Home Care, Inc., of Danvers, a concierge private duty home care agency in business since 2001. With 35 years of nursing practice, management and administration experience focused on home care and hospice, Joanne and her team specialize in advising and supporting families addressing the elders in their lives retain dignity and quality of life.