I don’t think there has been another time that has required us to dig as deep and make as much of our resilience, resourcefulness and creativity. Even for those of us who are used to uncertainty and take unpredictability with a pinch of salt, the Covid-19 Crisis is proving to be unsettling, scary and stressful.
As the weeks pass and the lockdown continues I am increasingly noticing that the range and progression of symptoms (both physical and emotional) that many are developing during this Lockdown period mirror those of burnout and compassion fatigue, prompting me to name this experience of stress, overwhelm and anxiety Covid Fatigue. (You can read my blog and listen to my chat with Azania Mosaka about Covid Fatigue).
One of the tell-tale signs of burnout and Covid Fatigue is an amplification of responses. Things that used to mildly irritate us may now send us into a rage. Instead of feeling a little sad, we might now feel overwhelmed with misery. Bouncy people seem to have even more energy to expend and many of the quiet ones seem to be getting even quieter.
The magnification that I am finding most magnificent is the one that makes kind and compassionate people even kinder and more compassionate. The generosity and empathy that is in evidence is really quite awe-inspiring: The countless people and groups who are collecting and distributing food to hungry communities. The NGOs who run 24 hour call centres to provide support to people who are struggling with loneliness and despair. The teachers who are working extra-long days to help the learners in their care to stay connected and contained, to create online learning materials, and to help the parents and caregivers navigate this new and scary learning medium. The university students who have set up a free helpline to assist teachers in this unfamiliar world of online learning…
During a time that is extremely testing for all of us, the kindness and care that is being shown by ordinary people is a true testament to the concept of ubuntu that we South Africans hold so dear.
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the fear and the worry, which makes it even more important to remember to see the good. I’d love to hear your story of wonder and inspiration.
May your May be filled with kindness and compassion.