I think it occurred to me Sunday afternoon last week, and I was anticipating Monday. But Monday was Labor Day. Of course it was, you may say, but that meant that a pandemic that started before Spring had now extended beyond Spring and Summer and now into Autumn. Remember all of the sprinting you did in the early days of the pandemic as it turned into a quarantine … the sprint to get toilet paper before it ran out and veggies and fruit and your favorite dessert. The binge watching you may have done on cable or your computer? As Summer turned into Fall, it hit me that we are not in a sprint these six months in. We are in a marathon. And everyone knows that means 26.2 miles, not a 100 yard sprint. So, how far are you in your marathon? What is your mile marker? And are you pacing yourself?
Here’s my advice on going the distance in this pandemic:
- Talk to any marathoner, and they will tell you how important it is to view your body as an engine that you have to give the right fuel – hydrate, eat healthy foods, etc.
- Patience is important as it is a long race and you need to pace yourself like a long distance runner who knows their stride and how to breathe so that they will last the miles.
- Some runners pace themselves by finding someone against whom they will match step for step or friends along the route to cheer them; form a pod of people whom you trust to not expose themselves and therefore you to others.
- Find an engaging place to take your mind, and in a pandemic this can be on-line learning, reading great books, zoom meetings with family and friends and yes, even bingeing some series on your favorite streaming service.
- Keep up positive self-talk just as the runner who doesn’t give in to a fatalistic perspective on the race is too far, the hill is too steep and the sun is too hot to keep on keeping on.
- And know there will be a finish – a vaccine – but don’t sprint until you see the FINISH line, and don’t believe anyone but the mile markers set in place by the professionals who organize this race.
So, we have gone through a Spring and a Summer with this pandemic, and it may not be until another Spring has come that we can begin to look at this pandemic in our proverbial rear view mirrors. And look forward to sharing your stories with others, perhaps like my husband’s Great Uncle who not only survived serving in the Great War a century ago but also the Spanish flu. I will see you all at the Finish line!
Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.