Just a thought… The last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. [Viktor Frankl]
So I’m going to give myself a little spiritual pep talk today, and I’m hoping that if this is a message you need to hear, too, you get out of it what I’m putting in.
Earlier this week, as part of a Canadian Real Estate Association podcast I do called Real Time, I had a long talk about psychological and personal well-being with Dr. Winny Shen. She’s an Associate Professor at York University, an expert on worker health and well-being and many other issues, but while I’m listening to her, I’m also thinking about you. About me. About how we’re getting through this together – apart.
Burnout was something she talked about – and I think (actually, I know) that a lot of us are suffering from this where Covid is concerned. I mean, whoever thought we’d be into this now 14 months in – the loneliness, the anxiety, the grief over what we’ve lost this past year. And you’re allowed to feel burned out, which is described as physical, mental and emotional fallout from a prolonged period of stress, which we have most definitely been in.
Many people feel that they are running on empty: tired, worn out and depleted. Some people can also feel cynical like, “What’s the point in all of these precautions when some people are just ignoring them?” It’s easy to feel cynical, angry and helpless when we can’t see a finish line; we don’t know what this crawl over glass is for, when some people are skipping along on pogo sticks and treating it like a big summer carnival.
So what do we do? Some of the messages from Dr. Shen that were most valuable to me were about self-care. Detaching. Which I took to mean from negative conversations, especially where you’re not possibly going to enlighten anyone or change their minds. I mean, why not just hit your head against a wall? You’re the one who ends up with the headache, while the wall is just fine and ready for you the next time you open Facebook.
But on the positive side, detaching also means taking time to do something kind for yourself. For many people in lockdown, the simple pleasures like visits with family or a trip to the hairdresser or even taking in a movie in a theatre or going to the mall just aren’t a possibility. So find something that will make you feel good. Soak your feet and put on a fresh coat of polish. You’ll see those coral piggies, and so what if no one else does – it’s a reminder you did something kind for yourself.
And finally, if you’re feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day – as people who are working through this pandemic are – try to make a time diary for a few days and keep track of how you spend your time. And then, in INK, make sure you carve out time for you.
For me, that means taking that long bath or a Netflix binge or whatever makes me feel like I’ve had a break. And please, try to get as much sleep as you can, while balancing it with whatever exercise your restrictions allow. You’ll sleep better, your body will thank you for it and you’ll come out of this actually ready to sprint to that finish line.
On that note, thank you for coming by and always giving me something on the horizon, not just to put on makeup for, but to look forward to. (I’ll spend the weekend picking up those inverted prepositions, but for now…I’ll be gentle and leave them there.) Take good care of yourself. A lot of people need you to be healthy and to see setbacks as chances for better outcomes. Be the kid digging in the manure pile, searching for the pony. It has always worked for me…that’s all I know for sure.