Same Procedure? No thank you!


Everything was better last year - really?

It's almost Christmas! It's still Corona. How can that be? My last Christmas message went something like this: We're almost through this bad year, the next one will be better. And, was it?

I guess it depends on who you are. Those we let indulge our palates; those who host us; those who love to entertain us and make us laugh or cry are heavily burdened by the situation and some will not overcome it. Some of our favourite places we will not be able to revisit. Yet we need these people and what they do. Socialising is part of our culture. Immersing ourselves in another world can provoke us, be balm for the soul, teach us many things about reality. Above all, it distracts us in a pleasant way.

State of emergency = Normal

Many of us have now been vaccinated several times. We know a lot more about the virus than this time last year.

My husband works as a lifeguard some weekends. He also has back pain and "has" to swim regularly. Last weekend he hung a sign at the Pool entrance. The message started like this: "Due to the permanently depressing Corona situation, you adults are only allowed in here today if...," after which he explained all the rules. They thanked him for that! He did not just display rules, he explained them and showed he felt the same way they do.

A state of emergency has in fact become the norm. Doctors and nurses in particular, but also all of us, are exhausted and at the end of our tether. We are facing Christmas with an insanely high incidence and are just shimmying from one episode to the next.

Sometimes that is the right thing to do - one step at a time. "I'll manage this task in small steps" is a mantra that chronically ill people know well.


There used to be more tinsel

Nevertheless. I often have the impression that some members of our government are not thinking very far ahead. But there are things happening in the background that we hear little about. The pandemic affects not only our health, but many vital systems of our society. Food supply, education and many more. In the background, organisations like "The Science Platform Sustainability 2030" are working on the topic: How we can emerge from the Corona crisis in a sustainable way. They are thinking ahead.

There used to be more tinsel, I mean cohesion, confidence, hope. That's what I feel, even though many terrible scenes can be recalled to my mind. Such as we have seen or experienced on television or in real life.

On 17 April, I watched Prince Phillip's funeral service. I am British and grew up with royalty. The following day there was a representative funeral service for those who had died by then due to a Corona infection. It all touched me deeply and lastingly.


Do we have a shape memory?

There are materials that, when taken out of shape, return to their original form in certain circumstances. The most familiar example is hair. As soon as a drop of rain falls, the painstakingly straightened hair bounces back into curls.

The hairs have a shape memory. This phenomenon is used in industry to recycle fabrics, for example. But that is another story.

We notice that we have a somatic memory, i.e. the body remembers something. That is part of trauma therapy. Have you met him in another context? When we meet a person we haven't seen for a long time, we behave as we did then. Old patterns emerge again.

The body has a kind of shape memory. In a positive sense, rituals also work that way. My husband is not a fan of Christmas. This dislike even earned him the nickname Scrooge in our house. He does, however, look forward to the good food. In the run-up to Christmas, especially Stollen and Basler Leckerli. I try to bake them according to a recipe from his mother. The smell of Christmas spices wafts throughout the house. That's when he knows it's time to take the warm Stollen out of the oven. A childlike joy comes over him when I succeed in making the recipe. That's how Christmas is for him.


Jump back

Resilience works in much the same way as shape memory. What does Resilience? The ability to "bounce back". This means to return to one's initial state after working through and overcoming stresses. In English even more metaphorically - "to bounce back!".

Resilience has been on everyone's lips in recent years when it comes to chronic diseases like fibromyalgia. In lectures, pictures of trees were often shown. These trees had storm damage. They grew in a different direction afterwards, and did not die from the damage. Or they twisted around an obstacle to keep growing.

With people, resilience means not only showing resistance, i.e. not letting a situation get you down, but also accepting it. Then seeing and seizing opportunities.

Crisis = Opportunity?

Around this time last year, I had the feeling that we were seeing opportunities in the crisis. To move forward with digitalisation, to accept new forms of work like working from home or hybrid working. To have more time for oneself and one's family, and much more.

I was also more confident about our environment. We saw how calm the sky was and how clean the rivers suddenly were. We saw that doing without makes a difference. Dr. Florian Roth from the Frauenhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, is investigating how knowledge from research about resilience can help in the Corona crisis. His term "to bounce forward" seems more appropriate and helpful than the conventional term "to bounce back."



1-2-3 Forward!


Our achievements

But many long for the way everything was before Corona. Carefree and above all free to do as one wished -  travelling a lot and cheaply, consuming without restraint. On the one hand, this is understandable, because we see these opportunities as an achievement. We can afford it. Wait a minute, can we afford it? Or have we overshot the mark? Especially during the crisis, we have experienced that less can be more.

Therefore, resilience in a crisis is not simply jumping back to the original form. We keep what was good on board. Then we look to the futre with courage and do without the too much/excess baggage. Everyone can find out for themselves what is too much.

The lure of the "time before..."

Have you longed to be like you used to be - more organized, more energetic, more agile? To be able to participate in life easily and light-heartedly without excessive planning. Jumping back into the old form. You have a memory for form, so to speak. So do I! The crux of it is - this longing costs us  a lot of energy.

The longing for what Dr Roth calls in his research the "ex-ante" stage - the before devours the power we need to leap forward. At least figuratively, we chronically ill can also leap forward.

People in actively involved in self-help

In my case, this means: I have met a lot of interesting people with all kinds of diseases through my involvement in self-help. They don't let it get them down. We understand each other and give each other new impulses. I have just taken part in a campaign to draw attention to rare diseases.

I was invited to paint a self-portrait and create a picture around it.

I had never painted a self-portrait before and had no idea how to do it. There are lots of suggestions on the action page. I painted a picture again after a long time. A feeling of happiness came over me, it was really fun to create something. In this way, old or new skills come to life again, or at all.

Talk to me not about me

As far as dealing with the Corona crisis is concerned, Dr Roth sees it this way: "Studies from disaster research have repeatedly shown that civil society in particular has enormous capacities for self-organisation and can provide valuable resources for crisis management. What is crucial here is that citizens are effectively involved."

What does that mean?

In short, those who treat and those affected want to have their say and be involved in solutions.

Not damned in all eternity

I see it the same way with a chronic illness. The disease cannot be cured, but the feeling of being condemned can be overcome with the help of other people who share the same fate.

Self-help groups have also suffered from the confusion of rules. At least now I have learned how to use Zoom.  It's not the same but it's certainly better than no contact at all.

Do you know the children's game One Hat, One Stick, One Umbrella? It's a kind of counting rhyme that turns what feels like a tedious walk into a game. Adults can do it too. Look.

So 1-2-3 Forward...!

Dawn thoughtful

Written by Melvarot63

Dawn is English and has been living in Germany for almost 40 years now. She currently lives on the Swabian Alb. She has worked as a foreign language correspondent, translator, and export clerk for a large car company. She has completed a distance learning course "Becoming an author*, learning to write" and has been affected by the disease fibromyalgia and others for many years.

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Roth, F. R. (2020, 23 April). Bouncing forward - How insights from resilience research can help in the Corona crisis by Florian Roth / 23 April 2020. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from

Wool-like material can remember and change its shape. (2020, 9 September). Retrieved 7 December 2021, from


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