August 30, 2020

Winter is coming

At least in Seattle anyway, you can feel that summer is winding down and autumn will be here way too soon. The days are getting shorter and even this evening we had some rain, a reminder of the coming rainy season. Don’t get me wrong. I love the rain and the cool weather. Seattle summers are glorious, but I will admit it, the winters can drag on in their grayness. I am not looking forward to the coming one, mostly because of COVID-19 and wanting to stay safe and sane, as we spend more of our time indoors.

This article about our brains getting numb to COVID-19 in The Seattle Times resonated with me. If we get too numb, we may start to get careless, which is not such a good thing. The Seattle Times also has this helpful article with advice on reducing risks with house guests or on a road trip. The Washington Post also has some good suggestions for self care as we move into fall.

A Medium post talks about how our “surge capacity” is depleted, which can make us feel pretty exhausted, drained, and full of grief. This article is worth a read for its good ideas of how to refill your batteries and gives us permission to have the full spectrum of emotions we all have been feeling.

This reminds me of a term I have heard in dog training called “stacking”, especially regarding reactive dogs. “Stacking”, as I understand it, means that the dog in question can do well with 1 or 2 stimulating interactions, deal OK with the 3rd or 4th, but then the next interaction puts the dog over the edge and they lose it. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The interactions or stresses stack one on the other until the limit is reached. I know that I have reached my own stacking limit in this way, and gotten overly frustrated with a seemingly small event. I also can tell that my limit is reached much faster when I have other stresses going on. We can all try to limit our exposure to “stacking” but often it is hard to see, until it is too late. We can also see this in others when they melt down for a seemingly mild thing, we don’t really know what else has happened before that meltdown. The more we can take care of our own selves and be compassionate towards ourselves and others, the better we can do. We are in this together.

We have done an excellent job in so many ways the past 6 months and we can come out the other side by continuing what we have been doing, hopefully a little smarter and a whole lot kinder.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and be kind to yourself.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.