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Overwhelmed and Tired

Spring is such a joyous time in books and movies isn’t it? The flowers are coming up, people are dancing for who knows what reason, the music is playing sweetly, pies are baking and no one is ever mad about anything! In real life Spring is kind of awful for any of us with allergies, pollen is everywhere, our cars look like a fairy exploded on them, our shopping carts are full of allergy meds and our arms look like pincushions from Allergy Shots. We kid you not, but band aids can leave permanent marks, at this moment one of our team has a mark on their arm that looks like a faded tattoo, no joke. The time change and losing a whole hour is really all anyone really needs to comprehend to acknowledge that Spring isn’t so great.

In times before a pandemic, we might have had a certain fondness for Spring, but God forbid you are coughing and sneezing out in public these days, it is the worst! You want to write on your mask, IT IS ALLERGIES, I PROMISE! School is wrapping up and there are tests galore, so between work, overtired children, allergies, a missed hour of sleep (no, we never feel like we recoup it in the Fall when the clocks turn back) this Spring seems to have left us overwhelmed and tired. We are stressed, we are burnt-out and frankly we are feeling a little ashamed feeling this way. We have the vaccine, we feel safer, we have gone shopping a few times, seen family, even tentatively hugged a few people (still feels daring and a little wrong) and even returned to a few pre-Covid activities. Yet the feeling persists, we are tired, stressed and overwhelmed.

Most of us have spent our whole lives being taught to believe everyone else's opinions about our bodies, rather than to believe what our own bodies are trying to tell us. For some of us, it's been so long since we listened to our bodies, we hardly know how to start understanding what they're trying to tell us, much less how to trust and believe what they're saying. To make matters worse, the more exhausted we are, the noisier the signal is, and the harder it is to hear the message.
-Emily Nagoski, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

It really is no wonder that we feel this way, we have all just been through a very traumatic year. We have known friends and family who have had COVID, some have recovered, while others have been left with long term medical issues or tragically died. We have seen increased police violence, protests, and insurrection. Yes, there has been joy, immense happiness and events that have made our hearts brim to the top with love, but the trauma we have all collectively been through and continue to live through, isn’t something that just goes away.

Traumatic events, by definition, overwhelm our ability to cope. When the mind becomes flooded with emotion, a circuit breaker is thrown that allows us to survive the experience fairly intact, that is, without becoming psychotic or frying out one of the brain centers. The cost of this blown circuit is emotion frozen within the body. In other words, we often unconsciously stop feeling our trauma partway into it, like a movie that is still going after the sound has been turned off. We cannot heal until we move fully through that trauma, including all the feelings of the event.
-Susan Pease Banitt, The Trauma Tool Kit: Healing PTSD from the Inside Out

We are all tentatively trying to re engage in life outside of a screen, a mask and 6ft away. The joy of being able to see and hug family safely is something that should never grow old, but we need to learn to care for ourselves and acknowledge that we need time to process and heal. Burnout, tiredness and feeling overwhelmed is nothing to feel shame about, our bodies are telling us we need to slow down, to rest. A lot of us have worked more during the pandemic than ever before either because you were a frontline worker or because you suddenly worked at home and you never left the “office.”

Here are some steps to try to combat stress and exhaustion in the days and weeks ahead:

• Go to bed 20-30 minutes earlier than usual
• Eat nourishing meals, but don’t deprive yourself of treats and comfort food
• Find joy in exercise: dance, walk, run, do yoga or Pilates, find something you want to do, not force yourself
through
• Listen to your favorite soundtracks or podcasts, just because
• Meditate on the positives of your day even if it was: I had chocolate
• Rest when you need to, especially on your days off or when the kids are asleep, or order dinner in and take a nap beforehand
• Practice gratefulness but also, get things off your chest that bother you
• Post about it on SupportGroups.com, talk about it in therapy, discuss with a friend or partner or journal about it

As always, thank you for allowing us the privilege of being part of your lives and your journey, you amaze us and humble us. Wishing you all nothing but the best-Team SG

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