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The Pandemic Whiplash

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

Do you feel like you were just finding your footing and getting your life back, when—boom! —the rug was pulled out from under you, yet again? You’re definitely not alone. We are not strangers to the unknown, the unpredictable, or perhaps we should call it "the emotional whiplash" we continue to experience as a result of the pandemic.

With COVID-19 variants on the rise, many of my clients have expressed fears about what is ahead and wonder if they have the wherewithal to continuously adjust to life and protect themselves and their families. Others express their frustration with certain states or businesses requiring masks again and how this shift impacts them.

Questions such as...

“How will I protect my physical health, but continue to compromise my mental health?”

“How do I manage my mental health and find the willpower to continue to adjust and make difficult decisions?”

Both are great questions that undoubtedly trigger anxiety in many.

Accepting the bitter truth that we do not have a definitive timeline and live in a world where viewpoints, reactions, and lifestyles will always differ are incredibly tall orders. Let’s remember, though, that our vast differences also generate growth and creativity. Constantly viewing circumstances through a negative lens is detrimental to our mental health and ability to connect with others. Of course, at times, certain realities can unfortunately generate fear and distrust, but they can also be humbling and give us an opportunity to simplify.

So... is there a bright side? Yes! We can now say that we have done this before.

Our new resilience

Some of the hurdles that we may again be faced with are not entirely new now. We have navigated them before. Some of them gracefully and some by the skin of our teeth, but nonetheless we have acquired ‘reps’ and therefore gained confidence.

We are more in touch with ourselves. As we make adjustments, we also improve our knowledge base and gain a clearer understanding of what works well in our lives and what we can omit.

Our level of self-awareness has increased. We know more now about how to simplify and what types of connections or activities truly matter to us.

We are more creative. Everyone has developed and constructed new ways to fulfill needs and feel validated.

We have discovered which relationships are the most important in our lives and which ones to let go of.

We find it easier to slow down, be alone, and be present in the here and now. Amazing progress lies in all three of these practices.

Remember to have reasonable expectations and focus on what we can control and where we can make a difference.

How to continue progressing

In order to avoid stagnation and continue progressing, remember the following:

  • Make the basics a priority. Be deliberate and mindful of what you put into your body, how you set yourself up for sleep, and that you are moving in one way or another every day.

  • Acknowledge the positives, but never force gratitude. Gratitude can even come in the form of acknowledging your feelings and giving thanks that you have the capability to even feel them, even the difficult ones.

  • Identify where you are getting information about your health, the pandemic, and our future. Are you feeling overloaded? How is it affecting you? Does it soothe you and help you feel more in control? Does it exacerbate your fears, doubts, and anxieties? There’s a fine line between staying in the know, sticking your head in the sand, and becoming obsessed and overcome with fear about the past or future.

We have learned quite a bit already. Don’t forget to utilize the resilience that every single one of us has acquired throughout this pandemic.

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