How to Keep Going When You Feel Like You Can’t
Anyone else suffering from coronavirus burnout or pandemic fatigue? As time goes on, it’s normal to have negative feelings about the state of the current events and how they impact your life and the lives of those you love. Hearing that it’s normal and you aren’t alone may be comforting, but I’d like to give you some practical tips to help you keep going. The reality is, pandemic or not; there are times in life we feel like we’re at the end and can’t possibly take another step. What do we do when we feel overwhelmed, heavy-hearted, and bone-tired?
- Remind yourself that how you’re feeling today is a moment of time, and you won’t always feel the way you feel right now.
- Reach out to the one person who you can trust with how you are feeling right now. Some of us withdraw when we are overwhelmed. Wounded animals often crawl off to die alone. Fight the urge to withdraw from the people and things that normally bring you joy. Right now, connecting can be difficult as we’re social distancing, but try to find alternatives—like video calls or virtual gatherings.
- Don’t compound your issues—Monitor self-medication. Resist the urge to increase your use of tobacco, alcohol, or other substances.
- Do one thing—whatever small step that might be—and congratulate yourself for getting it done. It might include getting out of bed, showering, and leaving the house. Many of us feel that there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we need to do—and that does not take into consideration the potential drag on our energy based on how we are feeling about life.
- Embrace comforting rituals. Over the last few years, we have been doing a very pared-down version of the holidays. We frequently traveled to visit family. This year, I am all in—gingerbread houses with the grandkids, decorating the house, Elf on the Shelf. My motto this year is “Go big AND stay home.”
- Stop judging yourself. Give yourself grace. If you’re judging how well you’re handling things, stop it. Nobody is handling things the way they were pre-pandemic. That is truth.
I’m hopeful that some of these practical tips I’ve used can help you. But, I also realize there are times that none of our usual coping mechanisms work—times when one experiences a dark feeling and sense of dread despite all of the things we may try to buoy our spirits. If you are feeling this way, seek help. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a great resource specific to coping with stress during the pandemic (link here).
The world needs people who have experienced great pain, lived through it, and came out the other side to share hope with others. On days when you feel like you can’t possibly take another step, remember—that’s our purpose—to make the world a better place.