I started to write a post about a new intervention I’m offering, and it just didn’t seem like the right topic at the right time. As great as this new service is, it’s going to have to wait; because there are more pressing concerns these days.
Seems to me — based on conversations I’ve been having with people lately — that right now, the right topic might be called endurance. Each week it seems like the end of this whole COVID-19 thing is no closer than the previous week. It’s one thing to cope with difficulty for a short period; and another thing to keep on coping.
And keep on coping.
And keep on coping.
Most of us can kind of grit our teeth, and cope for the short haul. At some point, our jaw muscles and teeth start to protest. The long haul requires a different approach. It’s kind of like the difference between a sprint and a marathon.
Believe it or not, back in the day I ran track and cross-country. I never ran a marathon, but I’ve sprinted and run longer distances. Sprinting is the grit-your-teeth option. You explode out of the blocks. You strain toward the finish line with every ounce of energy. It’s about power. There’s a reason steroids helped Ben Johnson, back in the 80s.
We’re In A Marathon
Running a marathon is not about power; but endurance. It’s more relaxed. Not lying on the beach relaxed. Distance runners pour everything they’ve got into the race, just like sprinters. But they pour more slowly. Exploding and straining is great for sprinting; but try that for 26 miles, and you might end up like the very first marathon runner. If you don’t know the story, he died. (Side note: I looked it up, and while the dude did die after delivering his message; but it wasn’t after running 26 miles. It was after running 150!)
The pain and suffering in a sprint ends quickly. In a marathon — you guessed it — the pain and suffering goes on and on. To do a marathon, you need to be able to tolerate a bunch of unpleasant things.
A Couple of Resources
As a therapist I encourage (aka bug) people all the time to work on developing greater tolerance. This might be tolerating painful, icky, awful feelings; or, oddly enough, it can also be tolerating good feelings. Earlier this week, I finished a video for parents, talking about how to manage uncertainty in these COVID-y times. Surprise, surprise; developing tolerance is in that video.
Even better than my little filmed-in-my-basement video, here is a high-quality, free resource entitled “Tolerance for Uncertainty: A COVID-19 Workbook” which came through my inbox several weeks ago. It’s suberb. Many thanks to Dr. Sachiko Nagasawa of North Bay, for generously offering this.
I’ll get to my fancy new intervention eventually. Right now, I think it’s better to offer some resources to help with tolerating this marathon we’re all in. The right topic at the right time.