I recently did a Google search on Covid and mental health. Turns out more people are suffering from mental stress than from the actual virus. I know that’s obvious, and it’s worth a pause. Perfect example of the stress response taking over the actual stress.

The other day I was coaching a smart professional. She works 7 days a week and attends school full time. For her morning routine, she gets up, brushes her teeth, and goes to work. I asked about self care. Silence.

We are in a crisis, and it isn’t Covid. It’s about how we’re living in this world. Covid provides a tipping point into the exposé.

I know, because I’m in it. It’s Saturday night at 9:40 pm and here I am. My To-Do list has had the same things for five months. Mention productivity or relax and I’ll deck you.

Here’s the baffling part. I teach self care, and I actually do it. That morning routine? Lemon water, yoga asana, meditation. Three healthy from-the-garden meals a day. Walking in the woods 4-5 days a week. Spontaneous time with friends.

We need more time for self care than we want to acknowledge. I’m healthier than ever. I rarely get sick and have pretty good clarity. I react less and less. The scarcity I feel around time, feeling productive, and relaxing is a perspective I’m having trouble reframing.

Real, in-the-moment living takes, uh…time. Spontaneous living—where we can receive unexpected guests, invitations, things breaking—requires a sense of spaciousness. I want that. Without feeling judgment or that stress response.

I’m taken with the idea of depleted surge capacity and ambiguous loss from Covid. That we have been sustaining stress for several months with corresponding losses. Radical acceptance and expecting less are part of the solution, part of mitigating that stress response.

I want that acceptance, spaciousness, and enough momentum to fulfill an obligation I feel towards this gift of life. Let’s support each other in letting go of whatever we’re gripping that isn’t working these days, and figure out how to live with a little more grace, and a lot more joy. Yes, even now.