Collective Exhaustion

August Heyn - The Exhausted Mother August Heyn - The Exhausted Mother

I've seen so many people on Twitter say they're exhausted and barely coping this past year and a half. I've heard friends say the same thing. I feel it myself as well.

I think of my ability to cope with difficult situations as a buffer that I can borrow from and slowly replenish when not stressed. I don't feel like I can recharge that buffer anymore due to the pandemic, the games industry being its normal horrible self, climate change, unjust wars, etc, etc, etc. There's just too much going on.

My emotions and mental state feel so raw right now. Some days I'm exhausted, some days I'm sad, some days I'm happy, and all of those feelings are turned up to 11. I feel less in control of my emotions and my brain feels foggier than normal.

I see the way people react to each other and it feels like everyone else's emotions are raw as well. Small issues turn into large issues. Old traumas are dredged up and resurface seemingly at random. People see enemies where there are misunderstandings.

In normal times, if I'm struggling I can ask friends for help because my friends’ buffers are more full than my own. And I'm there for them when they need help. But who do you go to when we're all collectively exhausted?

I've found myself not wanting to talk to friends about issues I'm struggling with because I know we're all having a rough go of it and I don't want to add one more thing for them to worry about. I don't even talk to my partner about my issues sometimes.

I feel helpless at times right now and that is a rare feeling for me because I almost always feel like I can come up with a plan. But how do you cure a global pandemic when the people in charge prioritize capitalism and their own power over the lives of people in the world?

I understand feeling this way is a stress response and I recognize that trying to push through is an easy way to burn out. So I'm going to take a step back and try not to solve the big issues all in one go. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Touch my finger to my thigh to center myself back into my body.

What's a small step I can take right now to improve things? Who else might want to take that step with me? How do we care for each other along the way?

I don't know how to fix the big issues right now, but I can take a single, small step. What would be a small, manageable step for you? Maybe we can take it together. ♥