This encouraging article by BBC’s Bryan Lufkin exhorts us to give ourselves a break during this COVID-19 crisis. He acknowledges that we are all under an incredible amount of stress. With the multitude of changes, we are encountering an extraordinarily unusual time in history. He recognizes that along with all the changes come social pressures to perform, to excel, to learn new things, and to be the person we always thought we could be, but never had the time to become.
Those pressures are real and disheartening for all of us.
Lufkin coins a great term. He states that burnout in this time of pandemic is likely to emerge because of something called “Decision Fatigue” caused by being forced to make “difficult decisions in an unsettlingly new context.” We are faced with giving a huge amount of thought to things in life that were previously automatic for us. We have to think intentionally about where we go, who we interact with, how we handle everyday goods and services, etc. We can no longer operate on “autopilot”. Lufkin points out that all of this extra thought adds psychological stress to each and every one of us as everyday decisions suddenly has ethical implications. This is something we’ve not been trained for and for which we have no prior resources or experiences to draw upon for help.
Lufkin goes on to say that amid all this extra stress we are experiencing, additional pressure is added to our lives because our normal coping mechanisms have vanished: no gyms, sports, hobbies, hangouts. We don’t have outlets to blow off steam and to let loose after the tensions of a difficult day. Add to that the guilt we feel at not using the extra time to learn a new skill. It is a season.
This isn’t forever.
Lufkin brings some hope for us as he wraps up the article. He reminds us that in the midst of all these trials and stresses and anxieties we are facing, that we simply must keep the perspective that this will pass. What a good thing to remember. This reviewer wishes the author would have commented on the new normal we may be faced with post-pandemic. Some words about how life may never truly be the same. Even though we’re looking forward to having our freedom back.
But overall, this is a helpful and encouraging article that reminds us to give grace and have compassion most importantly to ourselves. He concludes by saying “By doing nothing, you’re doing something,” and that’s a very positive thing.