Words of Wellness: March 9, 2021

March 9, 2021 - Culture of Caring - Claudia Finkelstein

Among the many tired clichés that have been used about getting through this pandemic, is “this is a marathon not a sprint.” This got me thinking – a good metaphor for where we are now is the “wall” that runners hit (usually near the 20-mile mark). Typically, this occurs when reserves of stored energy are depleted. There are all sorts of tricks and tips in running blogs for dealing with the wall when we do hit it.

The analogy isn’t fully apt. Usually when running a marathon, you have signed up for it and trained. Most of us have done neither, in this case. But stay with me. One tip for runners is to build up reserves of stored energy before the run. This is done by training. Although it is certainly late to train for this marathon, it’s a good policy for whatever marathon life holds next. This is how we build resilience. We didn’t know we were supposed to be training this time around, but we can still connect with episodes where we have shown resilience in the past. Those were training runs. Looking at hurdles that we have overcome and how we managed to overcome them, then capitalizing on those skills we used in the past, will help us this time. The perseverance, hard work, or knowing when to ask for help that helped last time, can help again.

Another tip is to avoid “coming out of the gate” too fast and to take walking breaks. In other words, this long haul requires pacing. We’ve gone through multiple phases of how to cope including: baking sourdough, purging our homes of clutter, TikTok video challenges and more. But remember, you don’t need to go full speed every day, all day.

In addition to pacing yourself, another tip is to replenish yourself. Luckily, unlike when running, it doesn’t involve consuming one of those gooey energy/electrolyte gels. Instead, it involves finding an activity that feels good to you and doing it. You can replenish your body (take a walk, go outside, drink water, sleep) and your soul (inspirational reading or music, explore mindful self-compassion) or drop in on one of our pop-up mindfulness sessions.

Finally, you can enhance success when you work on your internal focus and recalibrate expectations of yourself. Here’s where positive internal messages or mantras can be useful. You can even try something simple like telling yourself: “You can do this.”

It’s helpful to connect with others. Consider trying out an affinity group from the WorkLife Office for families, parents etc.

Remember vaccines and warm weather are around the corner.  We can get past the wall. Please reach out if you would like to speak more about your wall and remember these resources:

Resources for Support

Read more Words of Wellness from the Culture of Caring.