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By Makeba Royall

The uplifting energy, the hopeful thinking, the positive mindset it’s fading me. Being in fight or flight mode for the past year and a half has been draining, downright daunting and arduous. Operating and functioning for self and showing up for others during this time period has been a silent energy killer. I have been silently functioning in fight mode with high intensity and as of lately I feel depleted. My desire and motivation oftentimes seem low, yet I push through because there are others who rely on me. This low feeling is a result of the constant need to show up in spaces, and places and hold space for others needs and desires during this most difficult and challenging time. Yet I perform and put forth the best version of who I am.

During the initial phase of this scary and unimaginable new life I was in survival mode and was very intentional about my mental and physical health giving special attention to things that would keep me uplifted and on course. However, as we shift and transition into the “new normal” there has been a shift. My special attention and intent are suddenly starting to feel like they are no longer serving the outcome(s) I had “expected and hope for.” The dedicated intention and the mental protection and alleged self care are failing me. So what’s next? Where do I place my intention? Where do I immerse myself in order to fight through this next phase of this pandemic which seemingly continues to morph into something else?

In the movie, Creed lI there is a moment in the film where Adonis a character played by Michael B Jordan is in a state of deep despair after being defeated in a fight. After being pummeled by his rival contender he lands in the hospital. In this moment he begins to question  his desire or lack thereof towards boxing. Due to much re-evaluation and the pressures of life he decides to go at it again and he takes on a rematch fight. In preparation for the rematch he calls upon Rocky a character played by Sylvester Stallone. Rocky with lots of experience and great wisdom for the craft of boxing says Adonis’s training has to be different. This time around he has to readjust putting behind any of his natural defenses as they will not serve his current situation. His new training will require a reset that rips Adonis of his original training and thought patterns and takes him back to the bare bone basics of training. No fancy gloves, no boxing bags, but raw material and his bare body. This film immediately reminds me it’s time to change the approach.

As a social worker I would imagine many of us are martyrs and we wear our “helping profession” badge well, yet we often neglect our own needs. It is time to reassess the current immediate needs and utilize the tools that will be necessary for this next phase of the COVID fight. Finding ways to manifest dreams and aspirations in this time will require a different set of intentions and approaches that will support the gains that have been made and encourage and empower the gains looking to be made. Social workers are essential and human too. Let’s put into action what we would advise the populations we serve and let’s be honest. I will start …

I AM TIRED. Yes I admit it. I am FINALLY going to admit I AM TIRED. And it’s ok.

Self care is ever evolving. It will change over time and it requires the willingness to honor its purpose. Guard your spirit, set your intention(s) and stay the course even if it requires a slight detour and some much needed rest. Practice self care. COVID FATIGUE: It’s real.

Makeba Royall is a licensed social worker who currently focuses on public policy issues. Makeba has an extensive background working with persons who have a serious mental illness (SMI) and substance use disorders. Makeba is extremely passionate about the well-being of others and encourages everyone to invest in themselves by paying close attention to their mental health and healing. Makeba is a Harlem native and holds a BA in Political Science from Hampton University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from New York University. 

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