The Zone, Vol 33: Where is the finish line?

by The ParaDocs

November 14, 2020

The Zone Weekly with paraDocs

Many people anticipate 2021 with great hope that things will return to normal, pre-pandemic life. What happens if the finish line isn’t in 2021?

In Volume 33 of this guest series, psychotherapist, Dr. Francis L. Battisti, and nutritionist, Dr. Helen Battisti, stress the importance of not placing our hope in an unknown finish line. Learn how to be hopeful, but practical, about anticipating the end of the pandemic restrictions. 

For over 10 years, they have worked closely with us on aging concerns and have presented many webinars and in-person workshops. Their newsletter, The Zone, is a weekly mental health and nutrition tip sheet during times of change.

With most things in life there are frequently identified finish lines.  Some are clearly defined while others are arbitrary. For example, a 5K road race has both a start and a finish where, if individuals are working to be generally healthy over the course of their life, there is not a start or a finish.

During this time of the COVID 19 Pandemic, while the start is somewhat known, the finish line has yet to be determined. While many attempts to identify a clear finish line, and while most individuals may want to believe there is a known one, placing one’s energy on this possibility can be emotionally and physically exhausting.  Returning to the example of running a 5K road race, for the first time, it is a better mindset to think of it as a 10K. This is important because, if you only look at the 5K finish line, after you cross it you will stop.  Instead, if your eyes are focused on a 10K finish line, then you are more likely to sail through the 5K finish line with remaining physical and emotional energy.

This concept is applicable to our mindset about the finish line of the Pandemic.  If we anticipate the finish line being somewhere in 2021, we may be out of energy in one year and the finish line not yet crossed.  Instead, we may want to pace ourselves and keep our eyes focused on 2022 or 2023.  The emotional toll from unrealized anticipation can be destructive to our emotional and physical health.  Pace yourself and keep your eyes on 2022 or 2023.

Key Takeaways

  • Finish lines are not always the end.
  • Focusing on the finish line, limits your progress.
  • Start planning for 2022 and beyond.

Best Practices

  • Focus beyond the finish line.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Keep focused on your physical and emotional health.

Things to Limit

  • Social media and the news.
  • Magical thinking.
  • Unrealistic expectations.

In summary, pacing our expectations is important to ensure our emotional and physical health is maintained through the Pandemic and beyond.  There probably will not be a clearly defined final finish line for this Pandemic because life’s journey will just continue.

Quote of the Week

“The finish line is the culmination of a journey, as such, we should never pay it so much attention that the culmination of the journey becomes the whole of the journey at the expense of the journey.”
Craig D. Lounsbrough

About the author 

The ParaDocs

The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P. and Chief Academic Officer and, Dr. Helen E. Battisti, PhD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.

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