A Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking poll of adults recently reported that the respondents identified a significant increase in the difficulty of sleeping, eating, and the worsening of chronic conditions during the pandemic. In the best of times when we are running on fumes and just trying to make it to the end of our day, we are often unaware of the cumulative toll isolation, job loss, or stress at home has on our mind, body, and spirit. Combined with the protracted pandemic it is clear that for many, stress has been taken to another level.
Oftentimes, an unintended consequence in protracted transitions is the misalignment between our external and internal experiences. Just as we are witnessing the external signs that we are slowly beginning to turn the corner on our crisis, at the same time we can sometimes feel a sense of internal despair and exhaustion. When we feel the fire has been drained out of us, there may be nothing left to give to anyone else much less ourselves. If time is not made for a periodic check-in to rebuild that sense of vitality and optimism, it can be challenging to feel hopeful about the future.
Endurance, defined as, “the ability to harden oneself, to last through pain and suffering,” can be elusive at times. To restart that fire within and gain forward momentum, it may help to balance that self-hardening with some hard self-love. If you are struggling, reaching out to a friend, loved one, or a mental health professional for support can help you gain a perspective on how you can be more loving and nurturing to yourself.
February has always struck me as the month of endurance. On the heels of January, the month of vision board parties, big dreams, and the steps needed to accomplish those dreams, Valentines Day celebrations inspire us to celebrate the love for others in our lives. Family, friends, and colleagues continue to face a tidal wave of need from stressed out parents, children, partners, and employees. There is a sense of urgency to get to a brighter future immediately. However, we may be required to temper our hope for that brighter future with an acknowledgement of the burdens carried by the people we love. Ask yourself; what is one real action step that can help me or my loved one move forward one day at a time no matter how bleak or challenging circumstances may seem? Having the courage to honor the road traveled thus far and assess what we need for the road ahead can help us move one step closer to the finish line. Wishing you continued strength for each step you will take on your journey in the months ahead.
February Affirmation: When powering through adversity, remember you need rest and recovery.