This is a mantra we have heard a great deal this year. I’ve been reflecting on what this statement means in my life, my work, my supervision conversations of late.
I’m tired. Nothing particularly tiring to my life, but I am tired. Not the usual end of year approaching tiredness that traditionally hits in about late November when we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel for Christmas. This is a tiredness that I have grown more and more connected to, and that pretty much made its presence known about a week after we came out of lock-down in May.
And it is not just me that is tired. My day is filled with hearing from others that they too are tired; the people I am working with in supervision are noticing their tiredness, and again this tiredness is not the same as other years.
So we are all tired.
Hardly surprising really. What a year. A year when we have had to be hyper-vigilant with our hand washing, our distance, our socialising, and our work processes. A year when we have been on the edge of our seats wondering if another lock-down will ensue, and then being thankful if we did did not live in Auckland! A year when some people spent lock-down being essential services for the rest of us, some spent it trying to get work done at home amongst the myriad of other family and life expectations, and some spent it not working from home wondering how to entertain themselves and their children, and hoping there would still be work for them on the ‘other-side’. Oh the renovation and de-cluttering that must have gone on in some homes!
And then we also have all the uncertainty of sustained employment, whether work places could still pay people, whether contracts would keep coming, whether bills could keep being paid. Many of us are in roles were we are now seeing the impact on our communities of the loss of jobs, financial pressure and the increase of stress and the psychological impact of a year spent on the edge of flight, fight or fright!
Phew, as I write this, I am thinking “is there any wonder we are all tired!”. (not even considering or mentioning the fatigue of elections, other world events and weather disasters!)
So in this context how do we Be Kind? What does being kind to ourselves look like?
For me it has meant not putting too much extra pressure on myself. You’ll note the long gap between blogs! Being kind meant not pushing myself to make space to write a blog, even though it was on my list of things to do. Being kind has meant leaving some appointments in my day free, so I don’t feel full and rushed all day. Being kind has meant sticking to some of the rhythms in my life that help sustain me, like regular yoga, lunches with friends, not beating myself up when I watch one more episode of something on TV rather than doing a chore, or being okay with taking a half day off to spend as I choose, like going for a walk along the beach. Definite advantages in being ones own boss there!
I have also been encouraging those I work with in supervision to be kind to themselves, not to drive themselves to achieve more and more. Or at the very least to recognise the impact of a world living on the edge of constant anxiety and to cut themselves some slack for working slower, or being able to concentrate less, or being tired and less motivated. Encouraging them to breath a little.
So are we enter this end of the year, when usually we are all ‘amping’ up for the festive season and prepare for our summer, I encourage you to also consider what does “Be Kind” look like for you. Not just being kind to others, but being kind to you too and caring for your own health, welfare and parasympathetic system. May you find a way to Be Kind, rest and restore as we rapidly approach years end.
Hurihia tō mata ki te rā kia taka te ātārangi ki muri i a koe
Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.
Ngā mihi nui