As I listen with my colleagues, we are each coming to realize what I would call a kind of “convening fatigue.” The context in which I’m speaking is more to do with online spaces. So let’s call it online convening fatigue.
Online convening fatigue isn’t about whether the cause is good or not. It isn’t about whether the people are good or not. And, it isn’t about denying the stunning adaptations and connections that many of us make in online settings that open hearts and imaginations together.
As I listen with my colleagues, we are recognizing a very simple reclaiming — we humans aren’t meant to solely sit in front of computers. Even the most introverted of us are missing the incidental touch of a knee. Or the kindness of holding a physical door open for another. Or the collegiality of “can I poor you a cup of coffee?”
Online conventing fatigue is real. And, I am learning, it has a cumulative quality to it. It gets stronger over time with repeated experience.
Now, I want to be clear. I think we humans can adapt to most anything. The last year of all things digital has demonstrated that. And, I believe that if such a context were to continue for another ten years, we’d adapt further. Our expectations and reality of experience would change our DNA, removing some of this convening fatigue that rears in adaptive state.
But let’s stay in the present.
As I listen with my colleagues, we are each coming to advocate — hmm…, perhaps a bit stronger, insist — on self care as a priority. Not self-care as something to get to if there is time left over. Not self-care that is only at the end of the day when there is nothing left but crashing to sleep. Self-care needs to be higher on the list.
Self-care is of your choosing. It’s not yoga for everyone. It’s not meditation for everyone. It might be three minutes outside to deliberately breathe. Self-care isn’t just tending to physical body, or to spiritual body. It is also tending to emotional needs. Self-care can be a cup of tea. Self-care can be reading a poem a day. Or writing a poem a day. Lots of choices.
As I listen with my colleagues, we are learning that fatigue is real. We are learning that self care sometimes patches a gap in our personal and collective bandwidth. And sometimes, adds vitamins to the long arc of our adapting.
Here’s to speaking the truth of fatigue. And the kindness of witnessing it in others. Here’s to speaking the truth of some choices that move us with gentleness.