01 Mar Hitting the Pandemic Wall
Hitting the pandemic wall. It’s not a clinical condition – yet. However, we all now know what it means. Going from feeling ok to empty, sad, trapped, and bored with a dash of panic just to keep it interesting. Sleep for 2-3 hours at a time. No appetite to carb overload. Hitting the pandemic wall feels a lot like depression.
It’s important to remember that for the last year we’ve been living during a national health crisis. A year in which many of our institutional systems failed us over and over.
- Mixed messages on COVID_19 and how to stay safe
- Multiple Black men dying due to police violence
- Social justice protests and riots
- Intense political division (even over masks!)
- A divisive election
- An insurrection at our nation’s capitol
All of this has been brought into our homes and hands via TV, phones, computers, tablets, etc… You name it, it’s immediately accessible. We have consumed so much this year. So much death, violence, hate, and divisiveness at a time that we really needed huge amounts of love and connection.
Additionally, our own stuff is happening. Job stress, lack of a job stress, virtual everything, kid’s schooling online or in person, and normal activity/movement outside of the home has been severely limited. It’s a lot y’all.
What I’ve found interesting – after a year of online therapy in a pandemic – is that we seem to hit these walls in waves. Waves that seem to come at the same time. Call it herd loneliness or herd boredom, we’re simply not alone in the toll this pandemic has taken on our psyche. Based on your life, temperament, and mental or physical health this may be happening more or less for you, but the wall is real.
Survive the Pandemic Wall
- Be patient with yourself
- Feel your feelings – try not to question them or minimize them
- Journal, write about what you are experiencing
- Tell yourself this feeling will end soon
- Drink plenty of water
- Don’t guilt trip yourself about what you’re eating (we all have some extra padding about now)
- Go outside if possible and take a short walk
- Talk about it with partner, friend, family, or a therapist
- Take your meds (if applicable)
This life we’re living has gotten “normal” and we can forget that it’s not normal to be living in a pandemic. We’ve passed a milestone in which over 500,000 people have died in less than a year from the impact of COVID_19. One of those people may have been a partner, family member or friend. We’ve all lost so much. Self-care is crucial right now. A national mandate if you will.
I hope you can see that there is light ahead. Although it may feel like a tiny light, things are changing. Remember when we couldn’t find toilet paper and we weren’t sure if masks were necessary or not? Well, there are now 3 vaccines available. We are better at this, but life is still uncertain. Give yourself a break.
Our biggest goals should be caring for ourselves and loved ones the best that we’re able. Staying as safe as possible is the only thing that really, really matters. Remember this: you matter, this will get better, and feelings aren’t permanent.
Be well, wear a mask, and social distance so that the pandemic wall is thing of the past. 🤍
Kate Murphy, LCSW
Kate Murphy, a therapist in Chamblee, GA, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often. Licensed in GA & FL.