Feeling tired, stressed, frazzled and Covid fatigued? You're not alone. Here are 4 timeless tips for thriving through stress and adversity.
It is hard to believe that it has been almost two years since many of us set foot in the same room, or exchanged hugs, laughs, tears, or life experiences with friends and family.
Without doubt, we've experienced a couple of rough years!
Personally, it has felt that I’ve been running a marathon at a sprint pace in the pitch dark without a water station. There have been more than a few days when I wasn’t sure that I could put one foot in front of the other. I know I’m not alone, and there are many who have faced far worse.
I’m currently rereading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. The book details much of his time in concentration camps, which he refers to as a “provisional existence of unknown limit”. After many months in pandemic land, this phrase really resonates with me.
The lessons he shares about finding meaning in the midst of significant adversity can really be useful in current times. Here’s my take on his big ones.
Uncertainty is hard
As biological creatures, we are wired to anticipate the future to maximize our chances for survival. Although we now have more tools at our disposal to fight this pandemic, it remains a moving target. Grappling with the unpredictability and uncertainty of viruses, variants, vaccines, openings, closings, beginnings, and endings, is hard. Accepting uncertainty is an ongoing practice, and it’s OK to be having a hard time doing that.
It’s perfectly understandable to be feeling the feelings that come with being apart from others.
Relationships are everything
Human beings, whether outgoing or introverted, need relationships to thrive. Although we’re learning how to stay connected in myriad ways, it’s just not the same as gathering in person. There’ve been many days when I would give anything to roll out a yoga mat in the company of my little community, or grab a meal or a hike with a friend. Not knowing when we will resume our social lives is hard. It’s perfectly understandable to be feeling the feelings that come with being apart from others.
Interdependence is essential
In the words of Dr. Spock of Star Trek fame, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” We can no longer deny that how we live our lives matters not only to our families, but to our communities. Compassion, care, connection, and kindness are the true currency of life. Our ability to care for each other may be the marker of how well we navigate the remainder of this pandemic.
Gratitude makes a difference
It can be challenging to feel grateful when focused on what’s not there. I’ve certainly fallen into that trap. But there’s some truth to the research that an attitude of gratitude can be a salve when we’re feeling hopelessness and despair, or even just lousy. I’ve started a practice of expressing gratitude for the little things, a warm cup of chai, the insanely cute bouncing of my dog’s ears when he walks in front of me, the luxury of sleeping in a bed, and so on. It may not work for everyone, but I’ve found that being grateful can sometimes be the extra kick that gets me to the finish line some days.
I’m sure you’ve come up with many other great strategies these past two years. I would love to hear them. Drop me a line and share your favorite.
In the meantime, remember that it’s OK to laugh, cry, whack a pillow, turn yourself upside down, or do whatever else you need to do to keep healthy. And remember that you are, and always will be a luminous, radiant star no matter how dark or long the night.