By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Content Agency
Q: I’m dragging myself through my home work day lately, fantasizing about beach vacations, and generally exhausted. I’ve been tired before but this is different. I’m burnt out worrying about COVID-19, the protests, finances, government, and the economy. Why am I so tired, am I just a change wimp, and how can I handle my burn out better?
A: You are so tired because we’ve all been marinating in an intense crockpot of too many problems chasing few if any solutions. If you’re paying attention you are probably tired of feeling freaked out and noticing it’s exhausting to be surrounded by so much collective anxiety. Thus you are not a wimp just a normal person reaching the end of a normal rope because no one knows just how long we will remain in this limbo.
Some of my clients joked this week that they just want to escape to a desert island for two months and return to see if anything has changed. Most people are getting battle weary from fighting so many issues on so many fronts and scanning the horizon for new threats.
You’d be wise to create a mini-vacation for yourself. There’s nothing immoral or unwise about going somewhere in the middle of a wilderness, unplugging your technology, and ignoring current events for a while. When you return nothing may be different but you won’t be as burnt out.
Whatever deeply feeds your soul and generates peace is a smart idea. For some, “forest bathing,” or hanging out in the serenity of wilderness is the ticket, for others meditation, or for some spiritual practices.
We can also seek out the shelter of each other now that most states are moving toward greater social interaction. Many of my clients have set up “happy hour” with family or friends at a specific time each week either remotely or outdoors.
Even in normal times change is tough. Psychological research tells us that even good changes; a great job, new marriage, or new baby are stressful. We all feel safe in the familiar and anxious in the unknown.
Whatever part of your familiar routine you can recapture work to do that! Some of my clients have returned to golfing, are doing gym activities at home, or creating new comforting habits like a regular family dinner.
You have the right to feel agitated, tired, and irritable with all the change going on around you. You also have the power to take care of yourself at a higher level to build your resiliency while this storm continues.
Every storm has an end. All chaos eventually settles into a new order. What will endure is what you learn, your confidence in surviving difficult changes, and new creative abilities to see opportunity in what is coming.
The last word(s)
Q: I am depressed and anxious in and out of my workplace. All I see around me is problems and things falling apart. Is there a method you teach clients to have optimism about the future?
A: Yes, I teach clients that growth both within and without requires alternating cycles of chaos and an improved order. Like the cycles of the moon you can count on this natural cycle to restore predictability and structure.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru.”. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006).
You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.