No matter where you are in life or where you live, all of us have been drastically altered by this pandemic, and here we are one year in and we need to recognize, accept and remember that: THIS IS HARD.

It’s hard no matter where you find yourself. Everyone is dealing with different challenges and I want to remind everyone to be kind to yourself and extend that kindness to others.

As I’ve been talking with a lot of people over the last few weeks, I get a sense that COVID fatigue has intensified now that we’ve reached the one-year mark. At the start of COVID, people were feeling stressed and worried because they didn’t know how long this would last, but now we’re here, a year later. While we might see a light at the end of the tunnel knowing that vaccines are out there, it also might feel far off for some and people have just had enough. That feeling can manifest itself in a number of different ways; at work that can turn into a lack of motivation, a lack of patience, lashing out at co-workers, or a general malaise. I’m no expert in this area but I think a reminder that it’s okay if we aren’t feeling okay, that everyone experiences this in different ways, and that being mindful about being kind to yourself and others, can make a big difference.

So here are a few reminders and tips for being kind to yourself and others.

Don’t feel like you have to reach for the stars

Recognize that you’re not perfect and no one else is either! Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go exactly to plan or you aren’t overachieving at everything. You don’t have to perform at 100% every minute of every day – get yourself comfortable with that notion. And make sure if you are a leader that your team members know that as well.

Sometimes good enough is actually great! At the start of the pandemic, there was this movement that if you weren’t using this time to learn a new skill or develop yourself in some way, you were failing – I hated that! There was all this unnecessary pressure! I decided that the new skill I was learning was how to keep my head above water while navigating a pandemic. That’s my new skill!

What’s your self-care style

This pandemic has created stress for everyone, no matter what you’re dealing with, so figure out what helps you relax and feel more you, then carve out that time to care for yourself so you can keep going.

Here are a few ideas I have found and used:

  • Take a walk or just get outside – fresh air helps!
  • Exercise – getting the body moving definitely helps you reduce stress and it creates endorphins that make you feel happy.
  • Do you have a hobby or something you enjoy? For me it’s cooking – not weeknight get dinner on the table while exhausted cooking, but on the weekend I love a long project type of cooking.
  • Meditation – this is something I have not mastered, but I REALLY want to. Many friends speak to the clarity and stress relief it provides so I would really like to add this into my self-care toolkit.
  • Connect with your people. Depending on where you are, that may only be possible virtually or outside right now, but sharing how you’re doing and maybe having a laugh will absolutely help lift your spirits and reduce stress.
  • Take a break – I won’t lie most of my days are spent sitting in front of a screen while on zoom calls and when I have a day of back-to-back meetings, I FEEL IT! Of course, there will be some days that you can’t help it but, if you can, schedule a break – get up and stretch, take a walk or just get away from the screen.
  • Lastly, and this is my response to everything, drink more water. I’m not a scientist but I know hydration helps everything in your body work, and feel, better.

I would love to hear what some of your self-care tips are – the more we share, the more we can take care of ourselves and others.