Anna-Stina Nykänen: Are you tired for the right reason?

I have found a great international reference point for myself, which I follow. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, Jennifer Senior, editor of The Atlantic magazine. Senior is yes, compared to me, junior, younger. And a little more famous in the world. But we have one important thing in common.

We both suffer from prolonged corona or long covid and we talk about it openly. It’s a pleasure to compare experiences. Especially the kind of cultural differences they reveal.

It’s different to be sick in American culture. It also says something essential about us Finns.

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Seniors are hurt the fact that everyone else there seems to have recovered from the corona disease in a couple of weeks. Even 80-year-old President Joe Biden. That information made Senior burst into tears. Why did the others do so well?

This makes me laugh. After all, no one here claims to be cheerful and have a good life. Everyone is tired. Also without long covid. In Finland it is normal.

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When Senior told the American media industry boss that he had long covid, he replied: is that the explanation at your workplace for being less productive than before?

Many people in Finland think so too. That long covid is an excuse. It is more acceptable to be tired without long covid. And why?

Because in Finland, complaining about being tired is a way to say that you have worked hard. That’s great.

You can also be tired because there are so many worries in the world. It shows responsibility.

So in Finland you can be tired, as long as you are not weak or sick. You must be tired because you carry so much on your shoulders. Which are strong.

Being tired doesn’t mean doing less. Tiredness tells you that you have done more, even too much.

Senior on prepared a code of conduct that advises what not to say when you meet someone with long covid.

You shouldn’t ask if you’re feeling better or if the symptoms are starting to ease.

It’s a devilish question in a disease where symptoms change all the time and no one can predict when it will be over.

Senior advises that it is better to ask how is your day today?

I have prepared a response label for myself.

It’s not a good day to sneeze with joy. You don’t have to explain with beaming eyes that it’s clearly better now, all things here right away. The next night, a headache and brain fog that lasts for days can start.

The best thing to remember is that fatigue is not an obstacle, it is a retarder. It must be slow. Even by doing things slowly, good things happen.

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