Pandemic fatigue has been stressing me out. I’ve been trying to figure out why I am always feeling tired, unmotivated, and unable to snap out of it, but I haven’t had any luck! I’ve dealt with the uncertainties that have come up during this time and really, still am to this day. I‘ve tried to get accustomed to the “new normal”…but I can’t tell what it even looks like as it is not a one size fits all.
The one perspective I found helpful was the idea of imagining our lives throughout COVID-19 as a game of Jenga. You know, the game with the tower where players take turns removing one block at a time. The thing is, once you remove the blocks you have to carefully place it on top of the tower, which then creates a taller and increasingly unstable structure as the game progresses. I imagined my Jenga tower before COVID-19 and I realized the structure of it is way different to my current tower today.
Nobody’s life was perfect to begin with, I know mine sure was not. So, I know my tower was not the strongest given the circumstances. Then COVID-19 came into the mix…
Throughout these past few years, certain blocks have been removed from my tower including my social interactions, job stability, loved ones, loss of routine, and the blocks could go on and on…creating a shaky foundation that feels like it can collapse at any moment.
When I think about a new normal, I imagine taking those very blocks that were removed from my life and trying to push them back into the very spots they were removed from. I find that some pieces don’t fit anymore …and the more I try, the more I increase the risks of my whole tower collapsing.
I found that majority of this time I have been in survival mode. I constantly feel like I am on edge. Losing my blocks increased my stress levels and trying to put them back in their original spots has been even more triggering… making it difficult to leave survival mode.
Reminding myself that life may not go back to how it once was is important. Instead, focusing on how to work with what I currently have has been enlightening.
So, the question is how do I strengthen my tower? Well, the game of Jenga has taught me a few ways, which include playing by getting creative, socializing, leaning into my support system, and using problem-solving skills when I feel stuck.
Now, I know all of this is easier said than done, so starting slowly is key. I remind myself of that moment when I’m playing Jenga and am trying to remove a block from the tower and how careful I am to give myself that time and space to make sure there’s the least amount of damage to the tower.
The same thing applies to me. I will take my time with my healing. I plan to surround myself with people I’d want to play games with, focus on gathering and cultivating solutions to problems, and lastly practice self-compassion and share that gentleness with others around me.