Karyn Zuidhof, MA, R.Psych
A word I’ve heard about a billion times in the last few weeks and hardly ever before is unprecedented. Anyone else with me on this one? I looked it up, and it means “never done, or known before”. Simply put, no one has ever gone through this before. Truly, we haven’t. If even 6 months ago you were to tell me we would all be staying home because of a worldwide pandemic, I might have questioned your conspiracy theories.
We’re all going through something we have never gone through before, and we’re all riding a roller coaster of emotions. It makes so much sense you’re feeling all of those different feelings. We’ve suddenly been met with information which takes us so far out of our daily routine, and we don’t quite know what to do with ourselves.
There are days I have felt anxious and unsettled, and days when I have felt quite grounded. I expect many of you have felt similar. Days where you lean hard into rest or productivity, and days where you laid on the couch, and stared at your phone.
I‘ve realized the days which are the hardest for me, are the days when there is a new loss, or a lot of information. I find I’m able to accept things as they are after a bit, but the new announcements bring more grief. Knowing this in myself, I limit my exposure to the news and social media, and prioritize new information from a few sources I’ve chosen to trust. The most helpful thing I’ve done is to pay attention to my own capacity.
It’s really important to recognize there is a difference between having time, and having capacity. Technically, I’ve got time for a lot of things right now, which is why the internet is bounding with challenges, and tips on how to clean every inch of your home. However, I don’t have the capacity to take on a big project, and some moments I don’t have the capacity to engage with friends. Paying attention to this, and knowing when I still need to escape with a book in the tub, feel the wave of emotion, or ground in my gratitude list has been incredibly helpful in putting just the right amount on my to do list for the day, without needing to feel overwhelmed.
Listen to yourself. Do as few or as many projects as you want right now, tuning in to your own capacity, and what helps get you through this time.