“Pandemic fatigue” seems as viral and widespread as Covid-19, belying the fact that the pandemic is far from over, and it may still be several months before effective vaccines become widely available.
With fall’s (and soon winter’s) arrival, many of us are back indoors for longer periods of time now, still maintaining social distance, sheltering in place, and taking other measures to keep ourselves and loved ones safe and healthy.
It’s been a long haul and it ain’t over yet, so how do we keep our spirits, hearts and mindsets strong and resilient in such times?
In her article “Strengthen Mental Stamina Like the Pros,” New York Times writer Talya Minsberg shares that
“The drive to persevere is something some are born with, but it’s also a muscle everyone can learn to flex. In a way, everyone has become an endurance athlete of sorts during this pandemic, running a race with no finish line that daily tests the limits of their exhaustion…Some of the world’s best athletes shared what they do when they think they’d reached their last straw. How do they not only endure, but thrive in daily challenges?…One message they all had: You are stronger than you think you are, and everyone is able to adapt in ways they didn’t think possible.”
One person Minsberg interviewed was Dr. Carla Meijen, a sports psychologist and senior lecturer at St. Mary’s University in London. “A lot of it comes down to pacing, ” Meijen said. “When we think about the coronavirus, we are in it for the long run; so how do you pace yourself?”
Honoring effective routines, being pro-active, and valuing processes over results helps boost our mental stamina and ability to thrive, noted Meijen. None of us really know when the pandemic will finally be behind us, but we do have power and control over our daily habits.
And we usually do this best when we take life, and each moment, one day at a time, while balancing and honoring our needs for rest, relaxation, recharging, and exercise.
Setting mini goals, creating structure, and focusing on something new were other time tested strategies endurance athletes recommended when interviewed for this article. Together with pacing yourself, they immeasurably help strengthen the capacity to persevere, and stay positive in the face of adversity.
“You are stronger than you think you are” is powerful encouragement for navigating the storms of life, continually helping us endure, adapt and thrive, no matter where our feet are on this human journey.
In the meantime, hang in there and keep the faith, remembering that indeed this too shall eventually pass.