Three Months into a Pandemic: This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon

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How are you adjusting to this “new normal”?

In the coming weeks, CTN’s Neuropsychology Team will be sharing a series of posts to support the mental wellness of the children, youth and families we serve. We hope that these posts and additional resources will provide comfort and encouragement as we adjust to our new ways of working, interacting and going about our daily lives.

For many of us, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was like an adrenaline rush.  Full of nervous energy, we shopped, baked and organized ourselves for what was coming. But here we are, months later: the adrenaline has worn off and the pandemic is still here.  

Feelings like exhaustion, irritation and impatience are setting in. Isn’t it over already?
The big plans to lose weight, exercise daily and learning a new hobby may also be losing their appeal. The honeymoon is over.

This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

We have talked about balancing our energy budget from day to day, but those days have stretched into weeks and now months. It’s time to pace ourselves because we will likely be in this “new normal” for a while longer.  

Ask yourself these questions to make sure that your expectations are sustainable for the long-term:

  • What is a realistic goal or expectation with your kids? Can you really plan new science experiments and crafts for your kids every day? Or do you need a collection of easy, no fuss options like reading a book, playing in the bath, watching a movie or playing hide and go seek?  
  • What is a realistic goal or expectation for meals? Are you going to cook every day just because you are home?  Or can your family reheat leftovers, cook a frozen pizza or BBQ on days when you have less energy?
  • What are your realistic goals or expectations? Is it important to have a meaningful hobby in your spare time or is it okay to binge watch mindless television sometimes.

We are in this for the long haul, so we need to protect our mental resources. Make sure your expectations include days off from cooking, downtime from activities (even if that means some screen time for the kids) and opportunities to take breaks when you are tired or overwhelmed.