(and some things you can do about it)
I heard something the other day that really struck a chord with me, and I think it probably will for you, too.
If you’re experiencing increased sadness or anxiety, along with an urge to dramatically change something about your life – some of the markers of pandemic flux syndrome – be assured you’re not alone. Many people are feeling such tensions. Although human beings are more resilient than we generally appreciate, it will take time for many of us to stably recover, to reflect and to recalibrate.
Dr Amy Cuddy & Jill Ellyn Riley
The Washington Post
Do you resonate? 🙋🏻 yep, me too.
There’s a lot in there. Let’s unpick it together.
what is pandemic flux syndrome, and do you have it? Good question.
During the week of June 14, as vaccinations were becoming widespread and public life seemed to be returning to normal, Gallup classified 59.2 percent of Americans as “thriving” based on their responses to a survey that asked them to evaluate their lives, the highest average score on that measure in 13 years. Optimism was the order of the day. I most definitely felt it, holidays were coming, restaurants were open, family were together, rhythms were returning.
Except, this feeling of optimism and hope didn’t stay put. It is, so to speak, for most of us, in a state of flux. One day we feel like life is on the up, stability is coming, work is good, family is as it should be and so on, and the next day we surprise ourselves by feeling overwhelmed with emotion or anxieties about situations we usually would be able to take in our stride. Small things bother us more than we expect them to. There’s a lack of that buzzword we are all expected to have in bucketloads: resilience. So, this flux state that we find ourselves in, sometimes on the up, full of hope, energy, renewed optimism, is then blighted by bouts of anxiety, caused by our depleted surge capacity, our inability to regain control, no actual ‘fresh start date’ (I keep wondering, will there ever be an exact marker in the sand that means it’s an actual new post-pandemic era?), the unfairness of the situation globally (same storm, different boats), and the rest of the major events that are unfolding across the global community.
It’s a push-me-pull-you of emotions and to say that this is unsettling is rather an understatement.
you’re not alone
This phenomenon seems to be affecting people in all kinds of situations, ages, stages, levels of security and success. It’s a real leveller in many ways – whether you would say the pandemic was held at bay, or really crept into your personal situations, this set of emotions is being experienced. I think all I want to say here is, you are not alone, this is not just you.
there’s an urge to dramatically change something about your life
In my work as a coach, and through the Purpose Pursuit community, I meet people all the time that are keen to make a change in their life. They know something has got to change. This emotion, or more accurately this state of being, has only increased over the COVID-19 era. We have been confronted with our lives and we have been forced to face them. Many of us have found them to be left wanting, and have set about making change in our lives. In fact, this is the entire reason that the Purpose Pursuit came about – the number of people that approached me in 2020 to be coached, especially around this topic was beyond any capacity that I could manage. I knew I needed to do something to give people a practical, detailed, plan to make that change. (The next cohort begins next week, and so if you are feeling like this, there are two more free introductory webinar masterclasses you can come to find out more. Then that’s it, doors close).
you have more resilience than you realise
It’s a classic Instagram inspirational quote, but that doesn’t stop it from being true – you have a 100% track record of making it through difficult times. The key is to stay in the moment, dealing with what really is presenting itself in this present day rather than looking ahead too much, trying to problem solve every eventuality or situation that may or may not arise. There is too much uncertainty right now to use that approach. All you have is now, and so focus on that.
it’s going to take some time
This is a big one for me. I don’t want things to take time. I want it all to be OK right now. I want to regain all of what I have lost, I want to be able to just plug myself in like my iPhone (or my new EV, which I love, btw) and be sorted in ten to twelve hours. Sorry, a spa day or an hour watching the telly isn’t going to undo the onslaught of the last two years. Give yourself a break. Be kind, be gentle, invest in yourself a little, keep recharging and eventually we will feel lighter.
I wonder, as you read through that quote, and the headlines I have pulled out, which one is most applicable to you today?
P.S. If you want to know more about Pandemic Flux Syndrome, there’s a Brene and Amy podcast on it (here’s the link!)
P.P.S. An amazing client of mine has set up this fantastic initiative to show a bit of support and appreciate for the GP community. I do a lot of work with GPs and I am astonished at the level of GP bashing that is going on in the press right now. Let’s do our bit to speak positively of others – honestly, we have very little idea of what they are juggling. Much like most people have no clue what we are attempting to pull off. Take a look at @YourGP2021 across social platforms.