Tip of the Week – Feel the Pandemic Wall
That's a term you've probably been hearing more lately: "pandemic wall." It was coined, probably, in a viral tweet by public radio host Tanzina Vega, but it's now everywhere, being referenced by the former head of the American Medical Association and in The Washington Post. 2020 may have been the most unexpected and turbulent year in most of our lives, but 2021 is when many of us hit the wall. We're at the point in the pandemic when we can kind of, sort of, see the finish line, but we're still isolated, still working the same hours, still pretending to be productivity machines, still waiting for that second (or sixth/seventh/eighth?) wind.
The body and the mind are simply too overwhelmed and there's only so much we can do without breaking under the pressure. The only mindfulness tip I or anyone else can really give for that is: it's okay and you're not alone. You may need to pretend to be perfectly composed and poised on your daily Zoom calls with coworkers and supervisors, but during meditation, you can let all that go. That's when you can give yourself permission to feel what you're feeling — the fatigue, the anguish, the isolation.
There's a deluge of emotion we force ourselves to suppress in our society. The worst thing we can do in our meditation is try to suppress it even more, with admonitions of "No, stop thinking, this is the time for following the breath." If your mind is desperately trying to process pain and melancholy and exhaustion with the few minutes you have to yourself every day, let it. If your mind is telling you it's hit a wall and can't do anymore, feel it. Be aware of it. That won't make the current situation change, to be sure. But it will, at the very least, validate what you're feeling and ground you in the present moment. You deserve to feel that stillness and peace, even if it's just a brief moment before the chaos begins anew.