One year ago: We had just landed back in the states after a whole international travel debacle (another story for another time). The shutdown just went into effect, and we crashed hard, jetlagged—and exhausted. It was a moment of sweet relief as my head hit my pillow, and I slept so hard that night. We could finally exhale. We made it home.

The next morning, I woke up to a cluster of emails. I got the same message with more or less words from 70% of our clients over the next 48 hours. “James, we have to cancel our work with Germination Labs.” 

Seventy percent is no joke, and if you’re a small business, your hands are a little sweaty right now as you read this—not only because you know how hard it is to run a business, but also because you likely experienced something very similar last year. 2020 was not a year for the faint of heart, especially if you were in the business of marketing for restaurants.

“Unprecedented” wasn’t a word that made any of this easier. Neither did “pivot” or “WFH” or any of the other new terms we’ve grown numb to in the midst of pandemic. That’s the thing though. It was unprecedented. We had to pivot. We still WFH. It is growing on us.

But why are we bothering to write about this? Seems a little touchy-feely for a marketing agency blog right?

Because March is a “trauma-versary.” It’s a term that even Google Docs isn’t marking with a red squiggly line because it’s been used so much already. The anniversary of a global shutdown. The one-year-mark of mask mandates, take-out only, PPP applications, and countless hours of just plain trying to figure out how to make ends meet for millions and millions of people. 

“Trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on the mind, brain, and body.” - Bessel van der Kolk

For us? We feel the reminders of that week. Sights, smells, and sounds trigger those memories—the trauma—that we experienced. We recognize that we are not alone in this, a globally traumatic event that is still being felt all around the world.

Business and life looks a lot different today.
And it’s ok to not be ok in the midst of it all.

As a marketing firm, and for anyone else thinking about how to communicate to the public about their goods or services, we must be aware of what this anniversary holds for so many. Often it is unspoken, but if we tune in to our bodies, even just for a moment, there are a lot of reminders of the trauma we all experienced.

Be kind to yourselves this month.
Be kind to those around you.
Check in with the ways you might be carrying that trauma.
It’s ok to not be ok.

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