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Hitting the 6-month wall

It’s taken me a while to write this because I’m feeling the impact of the last 6 months and some days my mind is completely full, feeling like I can’t master the strength. Some other days I feel like I can take on the world.

It’s been a long 6 months since this pandemic hit us in full swing. We are not made to sustain these levels of anxiety and adrenaline for such a long time and oh my gosh, we are feeling it.

I feel sad that we have lost so many activities that we previously took for granted. Every decision is fraught. Helplessness and a sense of being out of control seems to be the new norm.

We have lost the activities that keep us refuelled and connected as a species; seeing people face to face and connecting with them, attending weddings and even funerals, going to school and other educational/developmental activities, playing sports etc.

How do we move forward? We can’t bring the past times back. So, how do we move forward when the destruction of the pandemic is not always something we can actually see, like the impact of a storm for example.

You can look outside your window and you would not know that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. And yet every decision we make is influenced by the pandemic.

How do we protect our children? And not just in the sense of protecting them from illness but protecting them from having the fun taken from their lives, losing aspects of their lives that are beneficial to them that go above and beyond educational aspects.

We are stuck at home and we have mixed feelings about it. How grateful we are about the fact that we actually have one and how incredibly claustrophobic it can feel to have your whole life (and that of your family’s) based inside the same four walls 24/7 all week long!

This is a very long stretch to be hanging in there.

So, even though, back in March, we accepted that our lives have changed and it will be a while until they returned to normal, no one could imagine just how long it would take and just how hard it would be to adapt.

And it’s those never-ending and ever-changing rules and situations that make uncertainty seem bottomless. When we feel uncertain, we also feel anxious but “normally” that anxiety spurs on to control the situation and alleviate that anxiety and then it dissipates. But in a pandemic, the implications and the resulting destruction from it, is never ending and often invisible at first.

This pandemic has forced us to review our relationships with people. When we are forced to spend so much with our close family, on the one hand we feel so grateful that we have one but on the other hand we struggle to create space for ourselves and the constant need to meet others’ needs leaves us exhausted and examining those relationships.

In essence, we are examining our own roles, as partners/wives/husbands, as parents, as siblings, as sons/daughters. So many roles that we occupy in life are now suddenly under the microscope.

But also, we are constantly exposed to everyone’s opinion and guess what, we don’t always agree with each other and that puts yet another strain on the relationship; family and friends alike. We evaluate our friendships and how we are as friends.

The support we normally receive from communities, rituals and other systems is not there to fill the gaps in relationships, so those close relationships can feel even more intense now.

A lot of the advice on how to cope is based on self-care and it’s ironic because we often associate self-care with activities that we are not allowed to do or have become very complicated now… such as swimming in the pool, going to the gym, meeting friends or having a massage.

So, we have to look inwards to see what helps us connect with ourselves, and our sense of self. Does self-care have to involve others? Does it have to involve paying for a massage? How about 15 mins of cooking or reading a chapter in your book, gardening, listening to music, playing a board game or solving puzzles?

So, back to the question…how do we move forward and make the best of the situation?

1. Accepting as much as possible that this is shit (technical term!) and this is a problem that won’t be easily solved and it’s not wholly dependent on you to be solved.

2. As the rhythm of life has changed, we have to change along with it. Find out what you like most, what helps you reconnect with yourself and try it out. Keep trying and take what you can from each attempt. If your glass is half empty, take a smaller glass and pour the water in there. Expect less of yourself and be ok with it.

3. What small things can you do that will refuel you? Think about play. How can you play more? How can you spend a bit of time without purpose? Could it be listening to music? Drawing? Making pom-poms? Knitting? Reading a book? Gardening? Puzzles? Lego-building? Take the time and give yourself permission to play.

I’d love to hear what you think about the 6-month wall and whether anything in particular has resonated with you.

You can find me through my website and via Facebook @Christina Therapy or Instagram @christina_therapy

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