It has now been 6 months since the first Stay at Home order for Ventura County and the marker upon which we consider the time all of our daily lives changed. This is a time to reflect on all that has happened in the last 6 months and where we are now. We sometimes forget how it felt at the beginning when most of us thought the social distancing and stay at home orders would only last a few weeks, maybe a month or two at the most. Our minds could not imagine this would last so long without a concrete ending in site.
Many of us are starting to feel burnout from all the events happening. Burnout from the limitations on our day to day activities, from the news that feels so depressing most days, and from the heat and fires around us. We hear a lot about taking care of ourselves but it is not always easy to implement lifestyle changes that will help us be resilient during such a difficult time.
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Six months into a pandemic definitely qualifies as excessive and prolonged stress. You can identify burnout by feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet the demands around you. That may look as simple as not keeping up with your normal cleaning at home or letting other responsibilities go.
One thing you can do to help your mood is to reflect back on the last 6 months and allow yourself to be proud of all you have done to get through this. Give yourself a mental reward for finding new ways to cope, new ways to occupy your day and new ways to shop and run errands. We all deserve credit for getting to where we are today.
It has not been easy, and it will still continue to challenge us in new ways. But take a moment to reflect upon and recognize your accomplishments. Imagine if you were given an award. What would it say? Perhaps it would say “best transition to online shopping” or “learned to use Zoom in record time.” Maintaining good humor and being able to praise ourselves in the midst of a difficult time are excellent coping mechanisms.
Reflecting on ourselves and our successes over the past 6 months can help us to feel more confident in our ability to get through the next 6 months, whatever they may bring. We hope for the best, but know that we are resilient and we will manage and handle what is needed to get through.
Use this as a chance to also praise those around you who have found ways to adapt. Point out to them the things you have noticed them do to make things easier during this time. Include those who have helped you along the way by being a listening ear or assisting with errands and tasks.
Feelings of burnout are normal when going through extenuating circumstances like we all have been through in the last 6 months. To help relieve burnout and prevent it you should consider your self-care strategies and work on adding in more stress relieving activities. However, one of the best things to do is to realize that you already have the resiliency and resolve within yourself to get through difficult times. You have been doing it all along.
Martha Shapiro can reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at email@example.com.