Are you familiar with the term “surge fatigue” as it refers to human energy? When you use stress and energy to adapt quickly to rapid change that affects every aspect of your life, it can quickly become overwhelming; you use more resources than you have available. This is surge fatigue.
The pandemic is a perfect example of surge fatigue: when it started, you went all out, trying to adapt as quickly as you could and over time, it caught up on you: you were using all the resources you had available, and more. The lack of time, space and privacy, the lack of a social life, the comforting pace and structure of your days had changed and kept changing. It all built up. Demands exceeded your capacity to recharge yourself and you ended up stressed and depleted, so let me share with you a few things that could help you.
Give yourself space. This past year, you’ve been through a lot of change and upheaval. Acknowledge how much stress, challenges and uncertainty you’ve dealt with. You’ve done what you needed. Things might have not felt or been perfect, but you held up. Allow yourself some space for inspiring, fun or restful time, every day. As simple as taking 15 minutes off work, demands and parenting for a break. Even a short break helps. Give yourself space.
Refuel your energy tank. You need more fuel now, not when everything gets back to “normal”. How to refuel? You need enough rest and sleep to feel restored; you need outdoors to walk and feel the fresh air and sunlight; you need food and water to nourish you. It’s not either-or: all of these refuel energy – and you can’t eat your way out of your sleep deficit. You need to refuel enough energy to keep you well, happy and resilient instead of stressed, depleted, running on fumes and barely making it through another day. Refuel energy today, with something as simple as going for a short walk, choosing an orange instead of a cookie, taking a work-free lunch or a few minutes of quiet after work…
Surge fatigue won’t disappear overnight. If you’ve been going at full capacity for a while, one good night sleep won’t be enough – but it’s definitely a good start. You’ll need to make R&R (rest & refuel) a priority, which we’ll explore in my next blog post. First things first: get started today instead of waiting for someday when you have time. It matters. You matter.