It’s okay to be not okay

I find myself looking at the calendar a lot lately. The days are creeping toward March 17 – for my family that’s the day that the pandemic reached us directly. It seems like a long time ago and it seems like it was barely yesterday. Life has changed, a lot.

Yet, a lot of the messages we receive from our workplaces have not changed – old, pre-pandemic messaging about productivity, efficiency, being “lean,” and output continue. They’ve been joined by new, post-pandemic messaging about flexibility and (my personal most hated) the importance of “pivot”.

Every time I see these messages, I think of this dinosaur image:

Underneath this focus on “business as usual” is the message that we should all feel okay by now.

An important act of self-care is resisting those messages if they don’t work for you. If you don’t feel okay, that’s okay. It’s okay to not feel normal during a global pandemic. It’s okay to not feel okay right now, and it’s okay to not be as productive as usual.

For many of us, our dreams of what the last two years would look like have had to change. It’s okay to grieve that too.

I went to an online conference last year where the speaker (Jordan Gill from Systems Saved Me) pointed out that something we do every second and take for granted – the act of breathing – has become something dangerous that could harm people we love. That hit me hard.

Sometimes self-care actions look obvious. Things like going for a walk, saying no to a request at work, spending time on a hobby – it’s easy for most of us to see those as self-care. But sometimes self-care is also sitting with our emotions, accepting that we don’t like something, or telling ourselves that we’re not going to buy into messages that don’t work for us.

Some other posts that might be helpful right now: our post on our “small win self-care in a crisis” strategy as well as our emergency self-care approach.

In self-care solidarity,