The New Normal: When There is Nothing Normal About It
Here at Southern First, we have been utilizing the term “COVID Fatigue” to describe a vast array of very real emotional and physical characteristics associated with our current circumstances.
For some reason, the phrase “new normal” seems to be utilized with great frequency and feels quite inappropriate given that there is nothing “usual, typical or expected” about our environment. In fact, the unpredictability of the economy, education system, racial injustice movement, political environment and world pandemic is a very real cause for much fatigue. At Southern First we pride ourselves on being a family and respecting the fact that we are all different in how we process the world around us. Here are some lessons I've learned during candid conversations here that may be of benefit to you or someone you know:
Listen and Learn
Whether we are talking about masks, racial injustice or how to educate children next year, we all have unique perspectives. Now is the best time to learn from someone who likely has a different perspective to share with you. Listening is also a great way to check in on the emotional state of friends, family and co-workers so that additional professional resources (such as time off or an Employee Assistance Program) can be utilized as a next step if needed.
No one can dictate what the appropriate level or type of self-care is for an individual, but typically we can “feel” it when we are not balancing self-care with other priorities. Again, if we are listening to ourselves as well as to others, we can often identify which personal priorities need some attention. Are you listening to your own body, mind and spiritual needs? It may be meditation, exercise . . . or simply watching a virtual movie with a friend and engaging in belly laughs that are missing from your COVID lifestyle. Being honest and painfully sincere with yourself and others about your current needs will increase the likelihood of you following through with new activities and commitments that will fill your self-care bucket. It is OK that these activities look totally different than your life last year. Give yourself grace.
Enjoy the Journey
No one signed up for our current adventure in 2020 but seeking to enjoy this crazy ride can help to eliminate stress. There are so many relationships to be formed, lessons to be learned, and unique challenges to overcome in our current environment. Dance, sing, jump—just be you.
Fighting COVID fatigue takes courage and vulnerability. But being intentional about human connection is one of the greatest weapons we have for moving forward, with our heads held high, knowing we are growing stronger together. Enjoy the journey, friends.