I am an introvert. I love spending time alone, it is how I recharge. But even as an introvert, I am growing weary. Traveling is my solace and one of my coping mechanisms. I need the beach. I need to be beside blue water but while people are still traveling and as my mom would say “spreading joy” I have not brought myself to that place. I want to travel without restrictions. I don’t want to stay on the resort. I don’t want to leave the restaurant by 8pm because of a curfew. I want to be free!
Trust me, I am not one of those cabin fever people. I don’t get cabin fever. How could I not love staying in the house that I pay for only a few days while the snow purifies the air? However, this is taking cabin fever to an all new level. I’m weary of this indoor life. I’m tired of going out and feeling like the first cough I hear could be from a person infected with the virus. I am tired of telling my child she can’t visit her friends or go to birthday parties because the truth is…mommy can’t lose her. So I came up with a term for what I’m feeling. I call it COVID fatigue (I didn’t really create this term but go with me).
Being tired is one thing but being fatigued…that’s a different beast. When you are fatigued your muscles ache, your reflexes are slowed, you experience brain fog, you’re chronically tired and you can become moody. These are just a few symptoms of fatigue but those are enough to make you want a cure, and fast. 2020 has been quite the year. When the semi-lockdown first started I knew it was going to be a while before a treatment was developed. I was prepared to stay inside for a few months if it meant that summer would be mine for the taking. Never did I imagine that we would be less than 45 days from the end of the year and re-entering semi-lockdown. I was certain that Pooh and I would travel for Christmas. I was sure that I would be able to get together with friends and family for our annual celebrations. Instead we are bracing ourselves for holidays apart from loved ones, at least 3 more months of virtual school, and lots of Netflix watching.
2020 is out here throwing a temper tantrum and knocking everything off the table. Yesterday I found myself saying, “yo, this is a mess”! I’ve never seen a world like this. I feel like Ernest Hemingway, “people are dying who never died before”. That quote may seem funny because it is ridiculous but that was Ernest’s truth. Things were so messy in his world, at the time, that the description, to him, was accurate. Ernest wanted to fix things, put it back the way it was or make it better. Ernest failed to acknowledge that he was trying to fix life. But you can’t fix life. Life is a mess!
So how do you stay sane during the mess? What is the treatment for this type of fatigue? I wish I knew but, like Sway, I don’t have the answers.
The only real solution is to embrace the mess. Many have found excitement by attending virtual brunches, sip and paints, meetups, happy hours and dance parties. Fitness instructors have taken their workouts online. Families are spending more time together, eating dinner together, talking more, and playing games. People have found many coping mechanisms but even those mechanisms aren’t hitting like they used to. So what is the answer? The answer is pivot. Find something new that brings you joy. I have started decorating my house. I’ve been in this house for almost 8 years but was always on the go. I never realized how many things I wanted to do in the house until I actually spent more time inside than I did in the streets. I’m taking my time with decorating, it takes me at least 6 weeks to make up my mind anyway. Decorating is new to me, it’s exciting. I realized that was the key to my sanity. I needed something new and fresh. Something that would allow me to take my mind off of all that is going on in this world. That’s how you maintain your sanity. Escape from the mundane, if even for 30 minutes a day and doing something that is new. If it’s yoga, meditation, designing, coloring; whatever it is…
Grab your vision board or make a new one. Figure out something that you want to go after and do that. We always say what we would do if we had more time. Well now is your chance. You have nothing but time.