January was a bit of a rude awakening. Closing in on a year of pandemic, I realized that the end is still not in sight. When this all started, I couldn’t have imagined how long it would go on and the profound and varied ways it would impact us. Even in December, I didn’t fully appreciate it. So, in January it felt a bit like running into a wall.
I don’t think I’m alone in this, as I’ve read articles talking about “pandemic burnout”, “psychological hibernation”, and “‘frustrative non-reward”. Frustrative non-reward. I didn’t know what that meant, but it certainly made sense when I read that it’s the idea that you go through something difficult or challenging with the hope that you get something out of it. But so far, no reward! And frustrating is an understatement!
In case you and/or the people you are working with are also feeling stress, frustration, disappointment, fatigue, distraction, and/or that their coping skills have been exhausted, I wanted to share a few resources with you.
1. Abby Ferri on the Safety Justice League’s podcast did a great interview with Frank King, the mental health comedian. This interview was in August, but so much of the advice they share is timeless.
2. Cope Notes sends daily exercises, encouragement, psychology facts, and more via text message. The messages arrive at a random time each day, and Forbes recently wrote that they were “the next evolution of digital mental health support.”
3. Give an Hour provides free mental health services to veterans, and they have also been working to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around mental health. This video by Chris Stapleton comes with a discussion guide that while geared towards young adults, might a good starting place as you think about how to have these discussions with others.
4. Some people will struggle through these difficult times more than other. Those who are having suicidal thoughts can call 1-800-273-8255 or use the chat feature at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website for assistance from a trained counselor.
As we all navigate the unknown waters in store for us over the next few months (or how ever much longer this ends up being), be gentle with yourself and gentle with others. We’re all just trying the best we can to get through a very difficult time.