A friend of mine who is a psychotherapist shared an interesting thought a few months ago. She has a busy practice in New York City but lives in the Hudson Valley. When the pandemic began, she started seeing her patients virtually. Even though she was working the same number of hours and she wasn't dealing with the long commute, she found herself unusually exhausted at the end of the day. Interestingly, I know her to be an incredibly vibrant personality, so for her to say she was exhausted is quite telling. At first, she didn't understand why, but then a colleague pointed out to her that meeting in person and meeting virtually result in different energy exchanges.
In person meetings result in an exchange of energy, some of which may be beyond our understanding. Virtual meetings result in a one way exchange of energy where both parties are giving their energy (typically into a computer screen) but they aren't receiving energy back. If you're a teacher, a public speaker or a performer, likely you understand how different the experience of presenting in person versus virtually can be. The more one does virtual meetings, the more one gives without receiving, resulting in fatigue.
"Zoom fatigue" is a new phenomenon people are experiencing. Spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen is draining, and it's not what humans were designed to do. Even if a Zoom meeting on a favorite topic with incredible people is scheduled, one may choose to skip it if they are experiencing Zoom fatigue. This kind of fatigue is depressing, even debilitating....and it's completely part of the human experience.
Humans are a social species. Thanks to Covid-19, in order to remain safe we now must become a socially distant species (temporarily), which goes completely against our nature. Not only that, but from a 5 Element point of view, how people balance each other in society get disrupted as well.
Innately, people tend towards a specific Element personality with some aspects of other Elements helping to shape who they are as a human. For instance, some people are Earth types but have secondary characteristics of a Water type. A great read about this is Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Efrem Korngold and Harriet Beinfield, which also contains quizzes to help you understand what Element of the 5 Elements you are. Below is a simpler explanation of the personality traits associated with each Element.
Not one Element is meant to exist on its own, so when we decrease social interaction with each other, as a human species we don't reap the benefits of depending on the strengths that come from different Element types.
So how do we persevere through this time socially distant time?
1. Find a social bubble. In some countries, these are encouraged. A social bubble is a group of people that agree to the same safety rules (such as getting tested regularly, wearing masks when together) so that they can socialize together. In order for social bubbles to work, trust between everyone within the circle must be strong and communication must be clear.
2. Get wellness treatments. Not only will acupuncture, massage therapy and other holistic treatments help you feel better, but the contact between you and the practitioner can be a very fulfilling energy exchange. Especially in New Jersey, guidelines for safe practice are strong, so as long as the practitioner is following them, you should be safe to get that treatment.
3. Write letters. Who doesn't like to get a handwritten note in the mail? Holding the card and feeling the texture of the paper are wonderful tactile ways of receiving energy. Sending a loved one a letter may give that person a big boost, and it might inspire them to write a letter back.
4. Schedule a weekly fun Zoom. This may be counterintuitive given the explanation above, but if your only option is to self quarantine because you are in a high risk category, Zoom is still a better avenue to connect with others than having no connection at all. Gather together a group that you haven't connected with in a long time. Maybe it's a group of high school friends or colleagues from a prior workplace. These people may be in the same boat as you, so talking with them every week may be the best option for everyone involved.