Friday, October 23, 2020

HSP Life in the Age of Covid-19

These are strange days in which we live!

Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I can't help but think that there are ways in which the current state of the world weighs heavily on us HSPs... if nothing else, simply because we tend to spend a lot of time "thinking about things."

From a personal angle, I have to admit that the "shelter-in-place" mandates and limited mobility has not exactly been a hardship around here. I tend to shelter-in-place anyway, and I go out as little as possible at the best of times. 

I have been using the past few months to catch up on a lot of reading and organizing around the house, and we found ourselves having the time to work extensively in our garden, and we grew a record amount of our own food, from our little patch of land. 

Those are definitely positives!

On the other hand, this thing the mental health profession is increasingly referring to as "Covid Fatigue" does feel like a very real thing.

It seems to be the result of the new reality that no matter what we do or think, we now "filter" pretty much every decision and action through the lens of being aware of the potential impact this "pandemic" has on what we find ourselves in the middle of.

Often, the effects are quite indirect. A letter to relatives in Europe suddenly taking two weeks to get there, rather than five days. Not being able to get certain things. One of your favorite stores being closed. The simple fact that grocery shopping often takes twice as long as it used to, because of all the preparations and precautions we now take. The realization that it has become unwise to do certain things.

At our house, we feel it more directly, as well. I make substantially most of my living from online sales, and — due to people feeling uncertain about their jobs and incomes — my income (which wasn't much to start with) has been slowly declining all year. 

The other mental/emotional "weight" I feel a lot comes from the simple realization that we really don't know how long this "thing" is going to be with us... and that leads to the next realization that there most likely will be no "return to normal." If there ever was a "normal" it's long gone, and all we can likely look forward to at this point is an entirely new paradigm for human existence. 

Not sure how I feel about that... because I find myself really struggling to visualize a positive outcome.

Meanwhile, the entire "energetic feel" of the greater world seems to have taken on a gray filter... reflected by the broader subtext of frustration, anxiety, despair and sadness so many people are experiencing, these days. And anger. There seem to be abnormally many public flareups of anger.

Here in the US, it's not made any "lighter" by the fact that we are running into the final weeks of a Presidential election campaign... something that often brings out the worst in people, even at the best of times!

I have never been big on "Rah-Rah Positivity Parties," particularly when there's no objective reason to have one. Meaning... that I have no great advice to offer on how to magically "feel better about everything." If anything, I'd encourage everyone to simply allow themselves to "feel their feels" honestly, rather than sticking your head in the sand and pretending everything is A-OK. 

Because, quite honestly, everything is not A-OK...

What has helped me most has been to do my best to not dwell excessively on things I have no control over. I try to direct my energies where I do have some influence: Getting long-postponed projects at home done, working on things I do enjoy — like my art, my photography and my writing — and making sure that I get outside. We HSPs benefit a lot from the healing power of nature, even if that "nature" is nothing more than sitting and looking at the flowers in our apartment complex grounds. 

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, wherever you may be!

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