Global Overload

Global Overload

Are you feeling out of sorts?

Does the word “tired” not quite capture the state you’ve been in for too long?

Are you finding that your old-reliable strategies aren’t working to boost your functioning?

In April, I wrote a post about rest.  It was a recounting of strategies we had actually used to give ourselves the opportunity to recharge and be renewed.  While we enjoyed some immediate benefits from those efforts, we quickly found ourselves depleted once again but not in the usual way.  We are well familiar with all the symptoms and signs of burnout: anxiety, headaches, poor sleep, cynicism, etc.  Those are not our experience.  Instead, it has been this indescribable mental exhaustion that persists despite all of our diligence around sleep hygiene, gentle nutrition, movement and sabbath.  We are committed to walking the talk, so we have been leaning into the strategies we teach our clients.  While we are grateful to be doing fairly well overall, we fully recognized that we are not functioning optimally…we are regularly dipping into our reserves and at some point, would find our “account” overdrawn.

Does this sound familiar?  Do you feel like you’re doing OK considering, but wonder how much longer you can coast on your reserves? 

We have been discussing this for quite a few weeks because we see this happening with our clients and friends as well.  When we stop and think, the reality is that the past two and a half years have been one sucker punch after another: raging fires, global protests, pandemic, climate change disasters, race-based traumas, political depravity, migration crises, supply chain failures, global war, inflation and the mass murder of children in our own country.  Those are just the low lights…so much more is happening every.single.day.  It is RELENTLESS and therein lies the problem.

The brain’s number one job is survival and a main component of that is scanning for and responding to threat.  Our brains have been in perpetual response mode since March of 2020.  Every single person in our world has daily faced some level of threat – whether from health concerns, financial instability, race-based stressors, or potential violence.  Not only that, but many of us are living with a high level of uncertainty regarding the future which can feel threatening in and of itself.  For those of us who own our own businesses, the usual marketing strategies are no longer effective, learning the details of social media content is a full time job, shortages and inflation make it impossible to plan and execute both in the short term and certainly in the long term.  All of this requires the brain to activate and maintain response systems that were never meant to stay online long term, yet here we are…still having to pump out cortisol and stay vigilant over 700 days later, each day awakening to a fresh reminder of just how unstable our world has become.

This is not sustainable.

Feeling unsafe or “untethered” as I call it taps into so many soul triggers.  Depending on our life stories, we struggle with the lack of control, lack of connection, and crumbling foundations we have previously rested upon.  We may find ourselves having to re-establish our safe base: that person, place or thing we rely on to ground us.  We are having to develop more intensive strategies for soothing our inner child, giving voice to our adolescent selves, and silencing our critical voice.  How do we build up a loving adult self who faces life with wisdom, courage and confidence when the world is metaphorically on fire around us? 

Personally, we have had to lean in to our spirituality in unprecedented ways!  Faith, hope and love take on earthier, more intense and tangible meanings when they are the only steadfast factors left.  One thing that has struck us in our scripture study is the extended period of time that civilizations would endure turmoil.  Over and over in the Old Testament, we see invaders or evil kings wreaking havoc for years and years – it wasn’t unusual for trials to go on for 40 years!  In modern times, we are trained to expect things to resolve in a few weeks, if not days.  Psychologically, we haven’t had to build the mental and spiritual muscles it takes to find internal stability in the midst of prolonged chaos.  That is where we have decided to focus our efforts.  While it may not be comforting to read stories of long-term tribulations in the bible or any history book, I do take comfort in the fact that humanity has overcome so much and God has sustained and redeemed far worse than we are seeing today.

There is one significant difference for modern times however, that we must take into account.  It was summarized well by Nadia Bolz-Weber last year:

It is this insight that informs our next step in the process of establishing internal stability: disconnecting from the global chaos and focusing solely on our village.  Beginning on June 1st, Justin and I will be working to remove ourselves from the fray for a season.  We are not sure how long is needed.  We are not sure what the disconnect looks like exactly.  What we do know is that it begins with logging out of phone apps and minimizing time on electronics.  What that looks like to our audience is quiet on our platforms: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, blog, etc. Thankfully, we’ve built up a LOT of content in the past two years so there’s plenty there for you to check out and benefit from.

As psychotherapists, it is our responsibility to lead the way when it comes to mental, emotional and spiritual health so we are committed to doing the work of building the muscles needed to face the current task.  This gives us more to offer in our sessions with clients and as we figure out how to reconnect, we will share what we have learned.  It is our hope that this post sparks your own thoughts about reasonable expectations for yourself and what steps you need to take to thrive in this marathon we didn’t sign up for.  Give yourself grace and compassion – wherever you are emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually.  We were not built for all of this so extreme measures will be required to move through it well.

Stay tuned…

 

 

Receive exclusive content when you sign up for our newsletter. Each month, get updates on what is happening in the Phenix community along with exclusive resources you won't find on our blog or social media sites. It starts right away with strategies to use when 'self care' feels like more of a bother than a help.

Sign Up

2 thoughts on “Global Overload”

Speak Your Mind

*




Orlando, FL

info@phenixcounseling.com
(407) 476-6041

Got Questions?
Send a Message!