Something that really became clear to me this week is that we need to exercise some more self-compassion. I keep hearing people talk about the guilt they have about feeling like staying home is hard. That staying in your apartment is a privileged thing to whine about. But that’s the iceberg tip as my coach Casey would say. What’s underneath that?
And I want to encourage you to think about the fact that it maybe isn’t staying home that’s hard.
Maybe what’s hard is sitting with the discomfort and the fear and uncertainty.
Maybe what’s hard is being afraid of losing everyone you love.
Maybe what’s hard is being afraid of getting sick yourself and dying.
Maybe what’s hard is feeling like you’re not doing enough to keep things at bay.
And now you’re homeschooling and maybe unemployed or maybe trying to get your toddler not to streak naked during your video conference.
These are all hard things. No, we aren’t fighting in a war literally. But all of these fears and demands are valid and understandable and exhausting.
Please cut yourself some slack. You aren’t feeling the strain of watching Netflix for 80 million hours. You’re fighting the sense that if you look away from the news for just a second you will miss something important with tragic consequences.
It’s that 9/11 moment watching the towers fall over and over and fucking over again. Remember just watching it over and over on the news? It’s that but it’s slow-motion sustained over weeks. But it’s infection rates and models and curves and respirator counts and PPE shortages.
It’s vicarious trauma. It’s first-hand trauma.
You are holding space for people who are out there being essential, worried about losing them.
You are holding space for people in your family who are scared.
You might be a service provider determined to keep your clients from giving up on their dreams.
Maybe you’re trying to be Pandemic Pollyanna and it’s exhausting.
Pandemic is intense emotional labour. Don’t discount that. It’s real. So cut yourself some slack. No good will come of shame. Notice the feelings and figure out what to do with them.
This isn’t a situation where only the person who has it worse gets to complain. There is no pandemic trauma zipper merge. We can feel tough feelings together, concurrently, in tandem, without competition or invalidating anyone else’s experience.
Consider this your permission slip to acknowledge that this is hard and release the guilt of noticing that it’s hard. We can still do what we can do and make the best of what we have, but it’s okay to notice the suckage.