Feeling lethargic? Nothing wrong with you.

Feeling lethargic? Nothing wrong with you.

By Steve Savels.

“You could go for a run. Hmm, tomorrow perhaps… You should practice the piano, it has been weeks since you really played. Pff, I’m not feeling like it right now. There’s a stack of books waiting to be read, shouldn’t you take advantage of the time you have now? At least you should meditate more often – this is the perfect time for it, and it would be really helpful, you know that. Or do some stretching at least – do some stretching. Yeah, yeah. Maybe later.”

One half of my mind keeps firing suggestions, the other half keeps putting them of.

Magazines and social media keep adding to the pressure: this is the time to master the art of slow cooking, practice Yin Yoga and Marie Kondo your wardrobe.

I’m sorry, I just don’t feel like it.

Apparently I’m not alone. When I asked the participants in courses that are running (online) which emotions they noticed most often right now, after 7 weeks of lockdown, many of them – especially the people living alone or without children to take care of – came up with listlessness, lethargy, dullness. No energy, no spirit.

And that’s probably completely normal. I think it all comes down to one thing: perspective. Or better said, the lack of it.

In the beginning of the crisis, we still had to adapt to the new reality. Fear was the most present feeling. And underneath it might still be there. But after all these weeks, the lack of perspective is slowly killing any sense of initiative.

Nobody knows how long this will take, and what the world will look like after this. In the beginning we thought it would be a matter of weeks, and then back to normal again. Now it’s already months. And who knows what ‘normal’ will be like in the future.

Perhaps this could be a good time to feel some compassion for people who may have already been in a situation with less perspective long before this crisis: people in prison, people with a severe illness, people living in extreme poverty. I always believed that if something like that would happen to me, I would intensify my meditation practice, live even more resolutely. Now I know better.

We all desperately need a sense of perspective, a sense of meaning – that there’s a point to what we do, that the future matters, and preferably will be better than today. When that perspective falls away, many of us become passive and lethargic much more quickly than we might have imagined.

If you recognize these feelings of dullness and stagnation, know that you are perfectly normal and human. Give yourself some space. You are allowed to feel what you feel, whatever it is. If you are not allowed to feel bad in the biggest global crisis since the Second World War, then when?