Pandemic wall: a particular, often sudden, feeling of emotional and spiritual exhaustion in the time of Covid. The term was popularized by New York public radio host Tanzina Vega, but the term “hitting the wall” originated in endurance sports such as running or cycling, and is a condition of sudden fatigue and loss of energy.

I think I hit my pandemic wall late January. At the start of the year, I felt a sense of relief that we finally left 2020 behind, and surely things were going to get better in 2021. Except, they really haven’t yet. The colder weather, which has reduced the opportunity for socially distanced outdoor meetings with friends, has increased  my sense of isolation. The sameness of the days is getting to me more than ever. I miss being able to eat in restaurants, go to the movies, go to concerts. I have a bunch of small things inside my home that need fixing and exceed my limited DIY skills, but I’m not comfortable letting anyone inside my house. It all adds up. I’m tired of having to do a risk benefit analysis for every decision that involves contact with others, whether it’s a trip to the store or a routine doctor’s visit.

The above quote hit a nerve for me. It’s so easy to get caught up in that spiral of overwhelm, and it’s exhausting. So what do we do to keep ourselves from  hitting the wall, or regroup once we’ve hit it?

For me, it ultimately always comes down to gratitude. Even though I can’t do a lot of the things I want to do because I don’t feel safe doing them, I have a comfortable, warm home. I feel fortunate that my work has not been affected by the pandemic, and that I can work from home. I can have almost everything delivered. I can connect with friends virtually. Most importantly, I’m healthy.

So in the spirit of focusing on one brick, rather than the whole darn wall, I try to find one thing that makes me feel better, and do it. Some days, that may be baking a loaf of bread. Or ordering takeout from my favorite restaurant. Or making a big pot of vegetable soup. (Yes, there is a food theme here – thankfully, my daily walks are offsetting any damage from my comfort eating!) Other days, it may mean calling a friend, or binge watching a favorite show. A few of my hardier friends have been willing to go for walks with me despite the cold weather.

And of course, there’s always Allegra. Just watching her sleep in a sun puddle, blissfully unaware of everything that is going on in the world, makes everything better.

The bottom line: find something, anything, that’s good in your life, and focus on that. It may not remove the wall, but it will make you feel like you can cope again.

Have you hit your pandemic wall? How do you cope?

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8 Comments on Sunday Quotes: Hitting the Wall

  1. I hAd COVID the end of January… U still hit the wall daily with exhaustion. I work full time but do not have energy left to do anything else.

  2. I was hoping this year would have been a better change for us all. But then we got hit by the rare Texas snow storm that brought the majority of our state to a halt. My husband wasn’t able to work all week, which meant a loss of income. Now we are hearing people are going to be forced to pay outrageous electric bills. The news is saying some people are getting them for thousands of dollars. I fear what ours will be, especially as we live paycheck to paycheck and missing a check means other bills won’t get paid either. But looking at the bright side of things. We are some of the lucky ones who didn’t lose electric (thanks to being on the same electric grid as the hospital next to our neighborhood) and I kept my faucets dripping the entire time, so we didn’t have frozen/broken pipes. We did have to boil water for a few days as the water was compromised. The sun has finally come back out and the snow and ice is melting. After today, it should be all gone. Also, I did stock up on food when I heard about the bad weather coming because now grocery stores are sold out of nearly everything.

    • Thank you for your advice on how to cope by focusing on one brick. Hopefully all of this is over soon and things will get back to normal. I am glad you have Allegra and get your walks outside.

    • The stories coming out of Texas are just awful. I’m glad you were safe, but this all has to be so stressful. And now to have to worry about outrageous electric bills on top of everything else – I’m so sorry.

      • This year is just an extension of last year. Who knows what will happen next. At least it warmed up enough this past weekend and all the snow is gone now.

  3. Learn to hit 1 brick at a time. The same with all the jobs you need done, places you want to go again, friends you want to communicate with, etc., just sit back and try if you can to do 1 job or 1
    of anything everyday or at least once per week. If you allow everything to pile up in your mind it’ll
    eventually explode and your entire wall will crumble. Today will pass, and so will tomorrow and eventually our lives will be normal again, or at least our lives will be better than last year, or last month, or yesterday. Just keep telling yourself this and soon you’ll believe it.

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