Rosemary Alpert, contributing author
We have weathered this year, experiencing a “new norm.” Every aspect of our lives touched by a global virus, sending us home, keeping us separated and challenging our mental, physical and emotional endurance. It takes energy to keep going under stressful circumstances. If you are feeling exhausted, you are not alone: Pandemic fatigue is real.
Last week, I forgot what day it was (a few times), my normal patience was running low, and exhaustion was taking hold. Friday, while getting ready for work, on a morning show I heard the term, “brain fog.” This referred to what some people, whether they have had COVID-19 or not, are experiencing after a year living this unusual “new norm.” Hearing the term gave me an odd sense of relief and a name to the mental exhaustion I had been feeling.
For the past twelve months, we have been running a metaphorical race, restructuring our lives and trying to do the best we can, under extreme circumstances. Our collective exhaustion is understandable. It’s important to remember, take time to pause, breathe deeply and gift ourselves moments of rest.
While experiencing the fatigue of the pandemic and foggy brains, it is important to be gentle with ourselves and those around us. Remembering the importance of selfcare, setting aside moments for ourselves is not being selfish, rather it is restorative. Not only for us, but for our families, too. The pandemic has taken an exhausting toll on our community from the young to our elders. Supporting one another with loving-kindness can make a huge difference in our collective movement forward.
Over the weekend, I took time to rest and recharge. Thoughts traveled back to last spring. Remembering the unusual stillness, some days hardly a car drove past my window. It was so quiet. I could feel the earth reawakening, catching its breath without the busyness of all our coming and goings. Now as before the pandemic, I am continually grateful for time tending the garden, watching the hummingbirds zip among the blossoms and listening intently with all my senses to the unfolding of each season. Restorative time spent outside.
These days, it is vitally important to create ways to recharge our inner beings. Refuel our endurance so we can show up with clarity and presence for our families, friends and community.
Talking with some coworkers at the Skagit County Public Health vaccination site, each expressed experiencing some form of pandemic fatigue or brain fog over these past many months. I asked, “What is your favorite restorative practice?”
Here are their responses:
“I head to the mountains.”
“Every week I buy myself fresh flowers. Along with photography, it’s relaxing and creative.”
“Play with my dog.”
“I make sure I practice yoga every day.”
“Call a friend, meet up for a glass of wine and walk outside.”
“Crafting, that’s my jam!”
“Put my phone away and unplug.”
“Take a nap.”
“Listen to music.”
“Sit quietly and watch the clouds.”
“Gardening, tending the plants and soil, recharges me.”
“Take a ride to the beach, spend time by the water, listen to the waves.”
Whatever works, I hope these restorative practices can inspire you to creatively move through moments of fatigue and fogginess. Continue nurturing endurance for the days and months ahead as we move forward with deepening kindness, compassion and joy.