plants in survival mode because of covid-19

COVID-19 and mental health: a story of survival (mode)

What happens when the Covid-19 crisis is over?

If you are anything like me, this Covid-19 pandemic is the time when you run on an adrenaline-rich diet. It looks something like this: you wake up, get some exercise in (god forbid I should gain weight in self-isolation), eat and get straight to work, go for a walk before ohmygodihavetogetoutofthishouse (you never used to mind being at home before Rona), more work (what work is it you ask? I do not even have a job currently), find any hobby and do it for the sake of it, message EVERY PERSON that will talk to you, eat again, read before bed.

Can you spot the missing item?

Reflection. Time out. Me-time. Self-care. Whatever you want to call it these days.

I have entered survival mode during Covid-19 — must not stop until this is over. Keep moving. Keep the adrenaline going.

You know what happens when you come down? All the stuff you did not deal with during survival mode hits you, and it hits you hard.

I was speaking to my therapist (via Skype obvs) and she told me that she hated this self-isolation situation (more like house arrest, she said) and I was like whaaaaat I am getting so much done.

Busy, Busy, Busy

The problem is that (as a trainee therapist, but as a human being too) it is way to dangerous to let yourself run on adrenaline and say: ‘no I don’t want to feel today, thank you’. It is dangerous because feelings catch up with you. And even though it will be amazing when this is all over, we will have to deal with a lot of loss, grief, depression, and anxiety that we simply could not deal with at the time (i.e. now).

Be kind

So do yourself a favour: take it in chunks. Small, bite-sized, manageable chunks. It’s okay to say ‘this is shit’ and ‘I feel down’. It’s perfectly fine to feel completely unmotivated because you are stuck at home and you cannot see your family and friends. And it is okay to even say that you don’t want to care anymore. It’s okay. You can hold that and not fall apart, I promise.

Then pick up the damn phone and call someone or go back to doing the damn work. Because you are stellar and capable of surviving this and much more. Maybe you can try a mantra like this. Have a go at self-compassion. It’s great, I promise. If need some ideas on being kind to yourself check out my article on creating rituals during Covid-19: https://irenestoppoloni.com/?p=61

The hardest thing is to realise that if you stop the world does not fall apart, you do not fall apart. Try. You will find that you can hold more than you thought. And that society sometimes is wrong: it really is okay to not be ‘doing’ all the time, and to just ‘be’.

My new diet: 80% survival mode 20% ireallyfuckinghatethis

And that’s okay.

Irene

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