Heck, it’s been a difficult few years.
You survived. You showed up. You were brave. You had to dig really deep to survive, to show up, to be brave. But you did it.
And now you’re exhausted. Or maybe burnt out. Not quite depressed. What is this feeling? Why am I so over everything and tired on a level more to do with the mental but also the physical? Am I depressed? Not really. But not exactly happy either.
Psychologists call this feeling “languishing”. A blah, unmotivated, fed-up-with-bad-news feeling.
We’re all a bit tired of feeling worried about Covid, the economy, the wars in the world. All over the world many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic. It’s just been a bit too long to deal with the lockdowns, the masks, the sad news, the fear when someone you love catches this weird virus, nagging caution about being in the supermarket or hugging people. We’re all just a bit fed up!
How can we heal and find our joy again? How can we get our mojo back?
Be kind to yourself
It’s okay to feel sad and tired. It’s okay to acknowledge that what we are feeling collectively is probably grief for the loss of normalcy. Its okay to say, yep, this feeling is languishing. Acknowledge kindly that it’s been tough, but guard against collapsing in self-pity. Give yourself a metaphorical hug, and a nod of acknowledgement for all the things you still managed even when it was tough.
Take a break
Take a break from reading the news, checking your phone every time there’s an email or a message, take a break from chronically thinking about your to-do list or problems. At the very least decide to take a break from stressful things in the hours before bedtime.
For some of us going for a walk helps, for some listening to music, for some coffee with a friend. Bring back the joys that make you feel like you, like a more fulfilled you, and do it regularly.
Enjoy these little pleasures mindfully, savouring all the pleasures your senses and heart bring you. Connect with the gratitude in your heart and allow it to be there as often as you can. There is still a lot right. If you’re reading this you have eyes and a brain that work, a device to read it on, and probably a roof over your head and electricity. Maybe you have people or animals who love you, enough to eat and a warm bed to sleep in. Delight in the joys you still have and see if it helps to shift the meh feeling.
Check your habits
Maybe a few habits crept in over the past years which made you feel temporarily a bit better, but in the long run actually chip away at your resilience. Maybe you stopped exercising or taking time for friends or hobbies. Maybe your diet got a bit off track and you’ve been having too may unhealthy snacks. Maybe you’ve been doing ‘bàofùxìng áoyè’ - that is the Chinese expression that translates to ‘revenge bedtime procrastination’ - staying up late at night to reclaim the freedom one missed during the day and watching TV, surfing the net or watching online videos. The worst is probably reading the news late at night.
Remember you are a precious part of this world, and you need to treat yourself as well as you can. It’s up to you. And yes, you’re worth it.
Be kind to others
Research shows that kind acts make us feel more well-being. Or as the Dalai Lama says - “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”. As a rule we feel happier when we’re helpful, kind and friendly to others. Who knew?
So remember to smile at the check out person and call them by their name, write a thank you note, buy someone a cup of coffee or do something to help make somebody else’s life easier when you can. Let’s all make the world a little bit of a kinder place.
And if you think your little bit of magic can’t change the world, here’s the Dalai Lama again: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
Wishing you all very well in this time and in the new year!