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Pandemic Productivity Math: This doesn’t add up.

“Why am I so exhausted today?”

Being a human in the midst of a pandemic is complicated business.  Throughout quarantine, experiencing sleep disturbance and struggling with periods of intense fatigue have become the rule rather than the exception for many.  The day-to-day energy and motivation math does not compute, leaving some frustrated and confused. 

“Why can I seemingly fire on all cylinders one day and be anxious, drained, paralyzed, panicked, and overwhelmed the next?”

The pandemic has upended our lives in so many ways.  People are processing many complex and sometimes competing things on multiple levels: emotional, cognitive, and physical.  Grief, anxiety, stress, uncertainty.  Changes to routine, restrictions, constraints.  Many individuals are holding intense emotion about the future related to health and employment at the same time they are being forced to manage challenges of their current realities.  The pandemic has placed people center stage for a production they had not auditioned for nor rehearsed. 

When someone moves through a day without moving through their to-do list in the manner they had hoped, it can result in a strong emotional reaction to broken productivity expectations.  It is important to account for the fact that their brain and their body is on overdrive in the background:  planning, preparing, and processing.  They have just experienced obliterated expectations and role whiplash that required a fast about-face and sharp turn in many aspects of their life.  The number of hours someone sleeps at night doesn’t adequately account for the complex calculus of this energy math.  Adding to the complexity of the calculus is the challenge of trying to sync energy schedules with a partner whose body and brain may be in a very different place.  If there are children in the home, the math is even more complicated.

Not every day will feel like today.  The only way out is through.   Keep placing one foot in front of the next. 

You are living unprecedented history in the middle of a global crisis.  Allow yourself to be where you are, as you are, when you are there. It is time now more than ever to give yourself all kinds of grace. 

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May 8, 2020

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