When the pandemic began we were probably okay for a time. We were running on surge capacity – what we draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations.
The problem with Covid-19 is that it’s not short term. It’s dragging on, yet ever-changing. Our uncertainty is indefinite. So we need to find a different way to cope now that our surge capacity is depleted.
If it helps – if you’re finding it tough, it might be because you’re an over-achiever. You’re used to getting stuff done, finding solutions, you have a successful routine. With the pandemic putting a kibosh on our plans, we need a new solution.
4 tips for functioning in indefinite uncertainty
- Accept that ‘this is the way it is’. That doesn’t mean giving up. Instead, marshal your resources. Don’t waste energy fighting how things are. That way you’ll have more energy for the things you do have control over.
- Expect less. Give yourself permission to explore yourself. Ask, what do I need right now? Your usual support systems (including childcare) have broken down. No one can function at full capacity now.
- Look for activities that fulfil you. It’s annoying when I read about “self-care” because most of my go-to solutions have been restricted (getting a manicure, going to the gym, meeting friends for lunch). Well, you don’t have control over the global pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have control over your day. Plan in activities that will give you a boost. Give short-term dopamine hits a miss (social media notifications, alcohol, drugs) and instead opt for sustainable ones: healthy diet, good sleep, meditation, exercise, practising gratitude, listening to music.
- Focus on maintaining and strengthening important relationships. Even if your uncle is posting conspiracy theories on Facebook and your aunt says she’s not wearing a mask. Find a way to connect. And remember, helping others makes you feel better. So take care of yourself and, if you can, someone else too.
Inspiration for this piece was taken from an article by Tara Haelle on the Elemental health and wellness website.
You can read it in full here: Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted — It’s Why You Feel Awful; Here’s how to pull yourself out of despair and live your life
With thanks to Evie Shaffer for the banner photo.