Surge capacity is “a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters.” This is how we get through stressful periods or events in our life. But with a pandemic, the stressful situation is spread out over a much longer period of time, and many of us have likely depleted our surge capacity.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on everyone’s lives – both at home and at work. The “new normal” is constantly shifting. An article I read recently on elemental-medium.com gave some great tips on how to renew your surge capacity and learn to function during this pandemic. They include:
Accept that life is different right now. Instead of constantly wishing to have your “normal” back, you must accept that things are different now and will be for quite some time. Don’t waste your energy dwelling on how things used to be. Instead, find new ways to adjust.
Expect less from yourself. During this time, we need to take care of ourselves. We are expending more energy while dealing with the stress of the pandemic; therefore, we must also give ourselves more time to recover. Find ways to deal with stress and anxiety. Maybe it’s taking a quiet walk or meditating. For some it may be exercise. Find what works best for you. For me it’s reading a good book.
Recognize the different aspects of grief. Grief includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, they don’t always occur in that order. As I’m sure you’ve experienced, everyone is in a difference stage right now. Realize that it’s ok to be in different stages and that you might bounce back and forth between stages as life is constantly changing right now.
Experiment with “both-and” thinking. This means seeing both sides of something at the same time. The example the article described was thinking, “This is terrible, and many people are dying, and this is also a time for our families to come closer together.” Or, “I’m highly competent, and right now I’m flowing with the tide day-to-day.”
Look for activities, new and old, that continue to fulfill you. For many, the things they used to do for fun are not available right now (i.e. going to the movies, getting a massage, etc.), so it’s important to find new things. It’s time to get creative with self-care and find new ways to renew your energy.
Focus on maintaining and strengthening important relationships. The social support offered by friends and family is very important right now. People need to be connected to other people. Even if virtually, it’s important to maintain the connections you have with friends and family.
Begin slowly building your resilience bank account. This includes sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation, self-compassion, gratitude, connecting, and saying no. Focusing on each of these items is what will help you regain your surge capacity.
Start by picking two to three of these that you can work into your routine. I hope these ideas help you as we continue to navigate through this challenging time.
How have you dealt with the ongoing stress of the pandemic? Email me at [email protected].