March mood: Martha feels meh

It’s March, and we’re in between seasons, when it is neither winter nor spring in my part of the world. Every day is a challenge. Should I wear boots or sneakers? Do I need a hat and mitts or a windbreaker? Put things away too soon and a winter storm dumps 40 cms of snow. Keep the winter clothes in the closet and all we need is a sweater. Decision-making becomes a chore and predictability, at least for a short time, looks appealing.

Every year I think it will be different, but nope. Yesterday SamB shared this graphic:

Image shows four blocks with a frustrated anxious-looking bird: Everything feels so gross!! My discomfort is vague and broad. My grumpiness is vast and directionless. The world is an ill-fitting shirt and I have nothing to change into!!!

I actually felt better. While I couldn’t put my finger on a specific irritant, I felt seen. The fact is while I am not bored, nor am I hungry or thirsty, I am feeling disenchanted, discomfited, and dare I say it, disturbed.

To disturb means to interfere with a normal arrangement or the smooth functioning of a process. To feel disturbed then is to feel ruffled, much like a cat rubbed the wrong way.

This cat can’t even any more. Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

The pandemic has left many of us disturbed. Our usual arrangements have indeed been interfered with, and none of our processes are smooth, and in some cases, they are definitely non-functioning. We may feel very much like my favourite Baby Yoda gif, wanting to hide in our comfortable travelling cradle, sheltered from the annoying sharp pointy bits of life in pandemic time.

In military parlance, a retreat can be a strategy and not a defeat. In wellness circles, a retreat is an opportunity to withdraw to a place of shelter or seclusion for reflection and renewal.

Last year in the late summer, I went on a retreat. A friend lent me her little house around the bay. As we start on our second year of life in pandemic times, I realize I need to retreat more than once a year. The batteries need recharging as the demands of daily living and working remotely, without regular contact outside our bubbles, drain them more quickly.

Self care strategies can be immeasurably helpful when we feel less than optimal, and in more severe situations, counselling and ongoing support can offer necessary lifelines. A friend going through a rough patch has embarked on a course of anti-depressants.

The key is to pay attention, to notice, to examine, and yes, to retreat. It may be the pandemic, it may be the never-ending winter, it may be your last nerve, or it may be something that needs more than a cookie, a cup of tea, or a hug. Be well, stay well.

MarthaFitAt55 lives in St. John’s where it often feels like spring will show up in the first week of June.