THE NEW REALITY
Was it just me or was even the Superbowl off key this year? There were definitely less fans. We couldn’t celebrate in large groups. The famed Bud Light commercials had disappeared. Something was off! Even the skilled performance of a Grammy award winning musician, carefully represented with social distance, missed connecting with the throngs of screaming fans screaming on the field for a stage dive or two. For all the effort and creativity, the loss of connection and feeling lost in adjusting grows within many of us. As quarantine extends to a complete year, the loss can linger and simmer, without immediate resolve.
A CLOSER LOOK AT CONNECTION
If this experience is familiar to you, then you are likely experiencing some form of complicated grief or dissociation. Those are big terms to describe the sadness, anger, frustration, and numbness that can occur from frequent and recurrent losses. Holidays like Halloween, The Super Bowl, or even Valentine’s Day can be important. This is because they can bring fun rituals and experiences of being close to those you love. So loosing or changing the occasion can disrupt a sense of normalcy and happiness.
Furthermore, dissociation is the experience of being under so much stress for so long. In the past year, with the external threat of COVID-19, many of us also lost jobs, lost income, faced social inequality, or political strife. These experiences can trigger a sense of being detached from your emotions and disconnected from healthy emotional processing. Staying in either of these places are completely normal considering the seas we have chartered. But you may need support and attention of a professional if these stressors continue beyond six months or begin to impact your work, sleep, or relationships.
SOLUTIONS & STAYING CONNECTED
There is a silver lining. Even in the most challenging of times, we discover resilience, meaning, and purpose if we allow ourselves to find new ways to find joy and connect. By recognizing that we need more play, rest, connection, or stress relief, then we can start to find small doses of the right ingredients.
So, my tip is to first take an inventory on your time. Where can you carve a small break in your day? When can you enjoy a walk, a podcast, a ten minute visualization for example. Second, consider where in your week can you make a few hours for connection? Connection can be to a friend or to nature or animals. Remember that isolation is your enemy. When struggling, calling a friend as far back as your early days can spark a new adventure, some good story telling, and a few gentle laughs to boot.
We are meant to live and play. Even with our masks and as we preserve safety, we can discover new ways to experience and new ways of being. I am happy to support any of you or those you care about if this process seems too difficult or the pain needs processing before your rediscovery can begin. We all need support and support systems. If you can be that for just one other person, you’ll have redefined what this Valentine’s Day is all about.