Full disclosure: my family of 5 has been dealing with Covid in successive waves since late December 2021. As soon as one family member ended their period of isolation, another's began. Winter cold and flu season also being in full swing, Covid-free family members have been symptomatic with congestion, sore throats, and body aches for other reasons. So, we test, again and again, we cancel plans, we don't attend school, and we reschedule medical appointments and home repairs. Rinse and repeat.
As we grow increasingly exhausted by this cycle, we also grow bored. And boredom, when it's a Saturday after a snowstorm, you're 9 and don't know what to do with yourself, can actually be an opportunity for creative inspiration. But boredom, when it's the fifth Saturday in a row that basketball got cancelled and social plans aren't recommended, begins to look a bit more like depression. The cycle can wear down hope as it wears down motivation. It gets harder to be excited by a FaceTime date, whether you're 9 or 45. Screen time becomes escape time. Naps can become avoidance rather than needed rest.
Mentally speaking, not knowing when the cycle (or the pandemic) is going to end or exactly how it's going to be at the end, provides minimal consolation. When we're still grieving all that we've lost, it's so hard to accept, let alone appreciate, what we're moving towards.
I see and feel the collective weariness. I understand the mental exhaustion of having to consider all of these features (masks, tests, symptoms, risk evaluation) on top of living (at minimum) and crafting (at best) a life. But let me repeat myself, while we are collectively grieving what we've lost, we are also wrestling with what's now, and we're moving towards something new. New may not feel better, at least not on this anticipatory side of the divide. But something new is collectively being created on micro and macro levels.
In our fatigue, let's remember to care for ourselves first and then for each other. Direct your compassion to your own heart and mind first. Say to yourself, "Of course I'm tired and fed up." Feel the feels. Despite what your social media feed may suggest, your friends and neighbors are feeling them too so express what really lies on your heart. And then, consider what act of kindness can you give to yourself in honor of that fatigue or rage? What available experience will, albeit temporarily, remind you of the capable, curious, and complete person that you are?
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or self-injurious behaviors, please seek help. You can find immediate support at the the following:
Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 or at suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Samaritans at samaritanshope.org.