Crashing Through The Wall You Hit in a Time of COVID-19
At four to five weeks into staying at home, many of us are hitting the wall. Hitting the wall, in athletic endurance, means losing all energy and not being able to go on. We can “hit the wall” in all aspects of life and face a mental block, a complete lack of energy to move forward, or a feeling of being “over it”. It is how we deal with these walls that define us. Do we scale them, blow them up, or get knocked out slamming against them? With weeks left of staying at home, for most of us, we need the energy and motivation to get through the pandemic wall. Here are four steps to do it.
1) Accept that it is OK to feel drained and that we are hitting the wall together. It is absolutely normal and expected that after about 3 to 4 weeks of post disaster that energy is drained. So, first, don’t get in your head or mentally beat yourself up for hitting the wall. As with so many things, the first step is acceptance- I have hit the wall and that is fine. All will be well. Or, in the words of Kurt Cobain, Oh, well, whatever, nevermind.
2) Allow yourself to take a break: You have probably been sticking to some routine, trying not to overeat, trying to be a great partner, roommate or teacher to kids, trying to get outside every day. No wonder you need a break. When you hit the wall, give yourself permission to stop and do something different. Sleep late or all day, eat all the carbs in your home, watch trash TV or sit outside and look at trees. Ok, this was my list, but yours may look different. The point is to give yourself permission to take a mental break and just let go, creating a kind of home vacation. And if that vacation involves dancing in your bedclothes or deciding to act as if your home is a museum of discovery, so be it.
3) Think about what has been working: Now that you are taking your mental break you can actually reflect on the past weeks and think about what is working for you and maybe, what is not. Make a list of what feels positive, healthy, nurturing and what gives you energy and make plans to do more of those things. Then make a list of what feels negative, tedious, pointless and draining and make a plan to stop doing some of these. No, you probably can’t tell your kids to get out of the house and play until it gets dark (as my mom did in the 70’s), but you can find ways to get some space and create some joy.
4) Regroup: Using your newfound knowledge of what has been working and what has not, make a fresh start and enact your plan of new strategies that will set the tone for how you want the next four to five weeks to be. It is kind of like a reboot or pandemic stay at home, phase two. Know that the new way of being at home can and should look different. This is a unique time, but in that time we are all still living life and creating memories. So live your best life as well as you can.