Covid19 Guilt

“Survivors guilt” is a term associated with people who survive a traumatic event that took others’ lives.

It is fraught with an overwhelming sense that one cannot enjoy one’s life because one survived, when others didn’t.

It is a guilt that can be highly debilitating and life crippling.

I am noticing another type of survivor’s guilt in these times: “Covid 19” guilt.

It shows in a variety of ways:

  • Actual survivors guilt for those who have come into contact with those with Covid19 and have remained well or survived.
  • Guilt for those who have, or whose businesses or groups have Covid19 within their midst.
  • Those who know someone who has Covid19.
  • A sense of guilt towards healthcare and essential service people and what they are sacrificing at these times.
  • A sense of guilt towards the “have-nots” for those who continue to be paid over these times.
  • A sense of guilt for educators who hurriedly bid their students farewell as they went into lock-down.
  • Businesses who are trying to reconnect with their customers due to the swift lock-down.
  • Guilt over placing recyclables with non-recyclables in an effort to minimize contact for our refuse workers.

And the list goes on…

This guilt is real. It hurts deeply. It can stop us in our tracks.

Also know that this guilt is often underpinned by a sense of deep empathy towards others and the environment. When harnessed with positive action, this empathy can also be a strength.

We see this in our very own heroes. Willie Apiata VC worked through his own mental shadows after his time in the army to rise again and offer his infinite skills to the youth of Aotearoa to raise their resiliency. He shone a light on his shadows to make a difference for others.

Three things we can do as we work through our feelings of guilt around Covid19 are: Awareness, Gratitude and Action.

1. Awareness: Notice when you are in a downward spiral of guilt. Notice when your energy levels are lowered by this thinking.

2. Gratitude: Look for what to be grateful for. Appreciate the smiles from strangers, the bears in windows, less travel time and the connections you now have time to make.

Also show self gratitude. Take the time to give yourself some downtime. Even if it is a longer shower, that extra cup of coffee, or a moment longer hugging someone you love.

3. Action: Look for where you can contribute. Are you currently staying within your bubble, or are you stretching the rules a little? Yes? Then look within your current networks. Maybe you already work within an organisation where you can start to apply your skills even more fully or differently. Perhaps people in your community need support. You won’t have to look far to find an opportunity for service. It starts with noticing.

These times are real. They can be hard. They can be overwhelming.

They can also be a time when we can move from a mindset of Guilt to Do-Good. We can serve others using our skills, doing the right thing, doing things a little differently, or by being more mindful.

We have seen this from our wonderful New Zealand musicians who are offering their talents virtually.

So this week if you are sitting in a mindset of guilt, I challenge you to get into action and Do-Good.

Go well, do-good, and much aroha to you and yours.

Mary-Anne xo

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