The past few weeks there has been a definite theme among my clients (and myself). Exhaustion beyond what seems normal or explainable, zero drive or giddy up, and mystery body pain.
What is this? It is Pandemic Burnout. Burnout is when we push our bodies beyond what they can tolerate. Most of us relate this to overwork and overstress.
Well in the pandemic, it is boredom, disillusionment, and losing hope. While none of these seem like they would cause that list physical symptoms, they do.
We are rounding the corner on a year in some form of lockdown or restriction of our normal life. Not knowing when or how exactly this will all end if a very heavy weight to carry and it is showing up in our bodies.
If you identify with this experience, relief can be found but it is likely to be temporary and require you to monitor yourself to avoid another bout of burnout. First up is surrender.
Acknowledging out loud in front of a mirror that you have zero control in this situation. Allow your body to feel that, let it sink in. Express the emotions that come up, do not bypass them with your big logical brain. You have an inner child who is either pissed off or terrified or both. Feel it, acknowledge it so your body can let go of its grip and relax.
Next, explore some kind of creative outlet. The body has built up all this energy to do something but its normal outlets are currently blocked. Seek out something new that tickles your fancy and allows you to express some of what is bottled up inside.
Draw, dance, write, or sing. Renew the mind body connection with a creative pursuit. And I encourage you to pick something you don’t know how to do. Find some YouTube videos that show you how to start and allow your mind to be a beginner with no expectations of output, just practice and be bad at it because eventually you will become good at it.
So build a bookcase, learn to play the piano, take up tap dance, create some art, write a short story, just make something and let your brain fixate on learning something new instead of trying to fix what is currently broken and without a known fix. Scour YouTube for ideas or your local library.
And if, like me, you are or were in a dark place and feeling disillusioned and hopeless, read (or reread) Surviving the Dark Night of the Soul. It helps to know what is happening and that you are not alone right now. This is hard. Everything is really hard right now. And this too shall pass. Remember to use your tools and strategies for relieving the pressure and finding some moments of peace. As always reach out if you need some assistance or guidance through this particular wilderness, I know it well.