It has been about a year since the U.S shutdown in response to Covid-19. Reflecting back on personal thoughts about the impact of lockdowns still ring true. Mental Health impacts especially and frankly the most concerning for me.
We have been slightly more resilient than I thought, but I think that the prospect of a vaccine within 2 years helped to buoy people’s emotions and ability to cope. “Hang in for a little longer”. “There is light at the end of the tunnel”.
Flashing back though to those early weeks, my biggest concern was the loss of coping mechanisms writ large. Coping mechanisms are important for everyone. People that are considered healthy may not even know that they are using one. People with chronic pain or health issues likely know that they need something to help them recharge but may not fully understand why.
What do I mean by coping mechanisms? I think of it as activities we choose to do within the flow of our day to day lives that we feel recharged by such as:
- going to church – church community, exercising your religion;
- working out at the gym – community of other healthy people, access to equipment or space(i.e. basketball, swimming pool), taking classes;
- participating in sports leagues, attending in-person school;
- attending almost anything – art museums, plays, movies, family reunions, concerts, games, races;
- watching live pro/college/high school sports on tv – even that has been terrible. How many Cornhole Championships are there?;
- going to clubs, restaurants, and bars.
There are others that don’t require one to go somewhere or be with others, but these are pretty impactful to those that do use them.
There is one more that some people may not realize – going to the workplace. Ironically work can be a coping mechanism. If you have significant/chronic health challenges at home or personally then work can be a refuge. A place you can go and accomplish something – those with chronic issues know what I mean.
So we all lived it and know what happened next. Our day to day stressed increased well beyond what we expected while at the same time our outlets for stress relief were not available.
When Covid-19 hit us, I started holding short sessions with my teams to discuss topics like:
- Resiliency and Tenacity
- Reaching out – use your resources
- Finding new outlets
- Holding Steady
Awareness can go a long way toward helping with resiliency. And it did. It is wearing thin.
A year later as we emerge from all of this you can see some ripples of cause and effect flowing through our society. It isn’t over – the Covid-19 specific health crisis is likely over. The enduring aftermath of it is not.
Now as we try to transition back to normalcy we need to ramp up those activities that served us so well. Shake off the fog of the lockdown. Regain our confidence and boldness. Re-focus on delayed medical procedures and diagnostic testing. Build our immunity. Get our kids back to being kids again.
I know all of those things, but it has been so long those old patterns have been replaced. The Covid-19 Hangover is holding me back. Curse you Covid-19. 🙂