The Happiness Connection  

COVID fatigue taking over

A change is as good as a rest.

Recently, I had an unexpected reminder of this sentiment.

When it comes to writing my column, I get my weekly inspiration from life. I’m constantly on the lookout for encounters, lessons, and observations to share.

As we near the one-year anniversary of social distancing and some degree of lockdown, this has become more and more challenging. New experiences are scarce and people watching is almost non-existent.

I spent a lot of time during the last week of January trying to choose a topic for my upcoming column. It was almost the end of the month, so February popped into my head. Along with that came the idea, Be Your Own Valentine.

It wasn’t until I attached the finished document to an email and got ready to send it to my editor, that I realized the theme might be a little premature. I didn’t have time to write something different, so I sent it anyway.

I received a reply saying my submission was going to be saved until the first Sunday in February. This meant I didn’t have to send another article for two weeks.

At the time, I didn’t think much about it. But as the days passed, I noticed there was an unidentifiable, uplifting energy hanging around that wasn’t usually there.

I realized I was enjoying a change to my unusual routine. I didn’t have to start looking for inspiration or carve out enough time to write a draft and then clean it up.

I love writing my column, and wouldn’t want to stop, but having a week off was like an unexpected ray of sunshine in the middle of a snowstorm.

I know a lot of people, including myself, are experiencing COVID fatigue, a term used to describe being tired of the pandemic. You may feel bored or frustrated. The light at the end of the tunnel may seem barely visible.

Something as simple as not writing my column for a week was all it took to give me a needed break from the routine. It didn’t erase the boredom, but it gave me a significant lift.

You can do the same thing by choosing a regular activity or chore and giving yourself a break from it. It doesn’t have to be something you hate, just something you do regularly.

If you live with someone, take on one of their responsibilities for a week and then let them take on one of yours. You might even choose to swap household tasks for a few days.

Adding a new hobby or activity can also do the trick, but many people I’ve spoken with recently, feel they’ve exhausted their list of projects.

The trick to lessening your sense of COVID fatigue is maintaining a balance of certainty and uncertainly in your life.

These are two of the six basic emotional needs that all people have. You don’t just want them you need them if you’re going to feel happy and satisfied with your life.

Tony Robbins created the list, based on the psychological elements included in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Certainty comes from routines and knowing what to expect. They help you feel safe.

Uncertainty provides variety. It gives you a sense of excitement and adventure.

If you have too much certainty, you’ll feel bored. This is what’s happening for many people and is at the centre of COVID fatigue.

If you have too much variety, you may feel fearful or insecure.

The secret is to find balance between the two seemingly opposite needs.

If you’re feeling the rug has been pulled out from under you, remind yourself of all the things that haven’t changed. Establish new routines to strengthen your sense of safety.

If you’re feeling bored and restless, change things up. Find some routines that you can release or experience more consciously. Being mindful stops them from being habitual.

A change really can be as good as a rest. I didn’t realize just how relevant that statement is to today’s pandemic world, until I received an unexpected break from my column. It was just what I needed.

There was another gift that came with this experience and perhaps it was even greater than the injection of variety into my life. I didn’t have to struggle to find something to share with you in my column this week.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make life special.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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