|THE EARTH gives up trying to hold back the pressure from below as hot water and steam spits out of the ground at the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Society’s reaction to the recent pent-up isolation, uncertainty, and fear are like the geothermic eruptions in the Badlands: Unpredictable, uncharacteristic, and volatile. Yet, we have no term for it. |
Vietnam Vets returning home displayed never-before-seen levels of depression and struggled to integrate into civilian life. Later we named it PTSD. Maybe in 2022, we’ll call our prolonged stress and reaction to COVID: USRS; Unpredictable Stress Release Syndrome, or the Badlands Effect.
In any event, when it comes to the sustained stress of 2020, we don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t know when our decorum and the outer shell will give way to the pressures within. We don’t know when we might just break down and cry for no reason. We don’t know the long-term effects stress will have on our marriages, health, and confidence toward trying new things.
While playing golf, a beloved client of ours dropped dead at the second hole. Other clients report unusual heart conditions and high blood pressure. Usually, mild-mannered people get angry in public, gregarious loudmouth-attention-seekers are going silent, and soft-spoken servant leaders have shut down all but the most necessary communication.
What do we do?
- Tread lightly,
- Get more sleep than usual,
- Be easy on yourself,
- Find things to be grateful for,
- Give people the benefit of the doubt,
- Take people where they are, not where you want them to be,
- Play, laugh, watch comedies on Netflix, and stay close to friends and family.
Human evolution is trying desperately to catch up with the speed of change caused by the current challenge, COVID. Later, we’ll have to tackle the accelerated rate technology is infiltrating into our lives. We must maintain what makes us human—being vulnerable, emotional, intuitive, and caring people serving the greater good.