Let’s begin by taking a deep breath…isn’t that better? What a whirlwind! We all know what’s been going on, so I won’t recap what you have all heard, read and watched a million times over. The point of this blog entry is to address the concerns so many people have brought to my attention in the past few weeks. I have heard an array of concerns about mental health. “I am so tired.” “I am vaguely depressed.” “I feel lost.” “But why should I feel lost? I have been working, I have what I need, but something feels off-kilter.” My response: You are feeling what everyone else is feeling; confused and constantly wondering—something I have been referring to as burnout from the “Unknown”. Listening to, reading, or watching more news and speeches has had a stressful impact on the population’s mind, body, and spirit now more than ever before. It’s full of unknowns, opinions, conspiracies, negativity, sad reality, and death. As time goes on, this information is harder to get away from. The desire to remain informed overtakes the desire to stay sane. With the help of technology, we have this new world that always feels as if it’s on fire at our fingertips. This blog is about what you can do to quell the media burnout you are experiencing.
We have been quarantined—the very thing that we all brushed off as a mere vacation, depending on your circumstances. Sleeping whenever you want to, reading all the books you “never have time” to read, never having to get out of your sweatpants, and even social distancing is an introverts secret paradise. But this feels different. First, it was not planned. This license to stay at home was not in our control, and it has made some people feel unsafe. Second, it is not taking place at a beach or in a cabin in the woods. The beaches are closed, and you can’t travel to your cabin in the woods. It is happening in your own home. The scariest part of it all, is, it feels as if it will never end. However, we are all in this together. Below I will share some simple tips that I have seen to be effective for myself, and those around me. If you have any other styles of coping through this, please leave a comment below and share with everyone!
Here are a few simple tips to help quell your “Burnout from the Unknown”:
- Lower your intake of news, and make sure you are consuming it from a viable source.
- We may be socially distancing, but we are not emotionally distancing during this time. It is safe to reach out when you need to talk to people with Facetime, Zoom, Skype, or whatever your communication means are.
- Accept your feelings of burnout. It is very real, and you are not alone. Even if you feel like you don’t have a right to be burned out, you do, because your life may not be as affected as others. Times are stressful and “Unknown”. This new lack of stability is easy to burn out on.
- Do some jigsaw puzzles! This is a personal favorite of mine. You are using your brain and building something, which makes one feel productive, and you are able to turn your focus to something else for a while.
- De-clutter. There is no better time.
- Do not forget to exercise. There are many gyms that are teaching classes online. If you are not a virtual workout person, there is always the great out-doors. You can go for a walk and stay six feet apart. Many people have told me that exercising outside in the sun has helped them feel so much better. Getting active will help your body feel more balanced, will aid in trying to maintain a structured schedule, and will counteract all that “quarantine-baking” we’re all doing!
- Get artsy! Crafting is such a great way to express yourself. Even if you feel as if you do not have any artistic talent, try it! Paint, draw, take pictures—however you feel best expressing yourself.
- Learn something new. That thing you always wanted to learn but “didn’t have time” for—musical instruments, a language, a new recipe. Exercising your brain and learning new things is important for life even outside of quarantine. This just gives us more time to learn them.
- For those of you who are daydreamers, you are not alone! No one outgrows daydreaming. Our daily inner narrative of our lives and our days, and how we wish to see them, really can help keep a positive attitude. Daydreaming is a great way to find out more about yourself. What are your dreams? How can you get there? What goals can you set for yourself when this is all over? Because yes, it will be over.
To all my peaceful beings, please stay safe and healthy out there. We will get through this, and most importantly, YOU will get through this.