I’ve been going to bed early in the 2+weeks of social distancing and now isolation that I’ve considered my civic duty and safety for my wife (who has Multiple Sclerosis so already with a pretty screwed up immune system) and of course me.
I’ve been tired enough to do that, but really, quite pathetically tired. I’m not doing 24 or 48-hour shifts trying to save lives in a hospital. Or delivering essential goods to people. Or maintaining our utility supplies. Or picking food from a field. Or keeping our telecoms systems going.
I’m just working from home, typing into a laptop and logging onto Zoom and talking with and messaging people.
Those who know me, know I have an apparently limitless supply of energy and a real vitality for the work I do. But these are trying times.
As I said, I’m just thinking, and worrying a lot about those I love and those I admire fighting this awful virus. OK, that’s a bit draining, but it’s nothing compared to those who are helping people who need a ventilator; pain relief; who are vomiting and who are experiencing the most traumatic organ failure caused by this wicked thing called COVID-19.
So let’s take a look at stamina.
How on earth are those people in the frontline of the fight against this disease doing what they do? How are they showing the sustained and prolonged physical and mental effort needed to stay with things, react, decide, administer, show care and empathy for such long periods in such traumatic situations knowing they are putting their own lives in jeopardy?
The heartbreaking images of medical staff whose faces are sore and scarred by the protective equipment they’re wearing for such prolonged periods. Whose hands that are bleeding and cracked through the constant washing. Whose minds are shot to pieces by the tragedies they are seeing before their very eyes.
They don’t get an early night and a comfy seat for 16 hours a day. They don’t get to relax with a glass of Bourbon or unwind with a bit of Disney+.
They are the ones showing stamina.
And what keeps them going like this? Overcoming physical limitations like tiredness and the muscle drain.
Their spirit and commitment to their cause. Caring for other human beings.
I’m sure it’s not much fun being in the Government at the moment. But you took on this role knowing it wasn’t all shaking hands and pouting speeches of political dogma. You’ve got to show the stamina beyond anything you imagined. Good luck, and be prepared for it for some many weeks to come.
It’s certainly not much fun being in the public sector. Whatever Government department, you’re also going to need all the stamina you can muster. You have us with you as much as the healthcare professionals to keep the country going and our now transformed way of life stable and safe, to administer the systems that will help us live through this.
It’s also not much fun working in the food industry. As the nation lives mostly behind closed doors, supply, delivery and accessibility become ever more crucial. You’re going to need stamina as you accede to this enhanced demand.
And it’s also no bundle of laughs in vital industries like utilities, deliveries, waste and telecoms which we rely on even more now we have isolation and sanctuary in our homes. Water, electricity, gas, telephones and broadband are essential anyway but critical when we’re in our isolated states. You’re going to need stamina as the grids need to be fully functional and that any repairs and maintenance keep our vital energies and access going.
So what can we all — those not in those industries I’ve mentioned above — do whilst still trying to work out our new isolated lives; with uncertain income and anxious concerns about all of this?
We need stamina in a different way. To not whinge about boredom. To not break social distancing rules. To be considerate about food purchasing and buying only what you need to avoid pressuring an otherwise over-stretched supply system. To home school our children. To look out for our neighbours, friends and loved ones in any way we can.
We need stamina too. To support our loved ones who are key workers when they come home and need a long shower, a night of long sleep and some decompression.
We need the stamina to take care of everything else so they can focus on their critical work in keeping things as safe, reliable and functional as possible.
We need the stamina to look after others more anxious than we are by offering a listening ear, some supporting acts and compassion, empathy and care for our fellow humans.
We need the stamina to keep our work going; be that employed or self-employed. Or if we’ve already been laid off, we need the stamina to find some other employment or seek the welfare we can access to keep ourselves in some form of financial enablement.
And we need the stamina to stay the course with social distancing and isolation. Cooped up or living in comfort is a mindset shift you may have to make and have the stamina to make it work for you in the knowledge you’re doing your bit.
Stamina is an easy word to say and a hard thing to enact. Especially if you’re exhausted day in, day out in your key worker role.
We may have thought life was sometimes hard before this. Now we’re having to find reserves of stamina from somewhere just to get through this crisis. It’s affecting us all. I’m sure there are some Xboxing or Netflixing their way through this but mostly, we’re all uncertain, sad, anxious and that has a debilitating impact on our stamina.
So our energy levels have never been more in focus than now. Maybe my early nights are the result of a lowering of stamina even for me. And if that’s the case, we’re all in a bit of trouble with that.
Yet, there are ways.
Clapping the NHS and social care workers tonight was an emotional and uplifting thing to do.
Offering and delivering help to people who are in the higher intensity parts of this battle, working out how to keep people alive and society functioning safely, is needed and uplifting in its own way.
The human spirit sometimes defies scientific explanations and this is on display in hospital and councils, logistics hubs and supermarkets every day now we’re knee-deep into this crisis.
Superhuman feats are being displayed every minute that we’re in this struggle to contain and overcome this pandemic threat. That is so admirable but also so fragile as we put more pressure on people to achieve this constantly.
We’re simply not built for such sustained periods of pressure and mentally and physically we will crack and crumble.
So let’s do what we can to preserve as much of our stamina as we can and share it. Uplift those people in most need. Share some love and kindness to them so they can recharge and go into that challenging theatre with more than they thought they could muster; because we’re giving it to them.
We need each other to share kind deeds, caring words and attention, focus and support. All the petty spats of yesterday need to be expunged in favour of solidarity and a sharing of energy to create the stamina for those most in need.
Do your bit; give some love and share your energy to uplift those most in need of that stamina, staying power and endurance to get us all through this crisis.
American Write Robert Ingersoll said it best.