If you’re starting to feel worn out or at the end of your rope from coping with multiple national and international crises at the same time since around March, Dr. Aisha Ahmad is here to assure you that this is probably a normal feeling and will pass. Ahmad, professor of international security at the University of Toronto, has been through more than one sustained crisis in her decorated career and has some sorely-needed advice for the rest of us.

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“The 6-month mark in any sustained crisis is always difficult,” she writes in her viral Twitter thread. “We have all adjusted to this ‘new normal’, but might now feel like we’re running out of steam.”

She further warns that we are only one-third of the way through the pandemic. But don’t worry, she has some advice on how to get through this six-month slump. Firstly, realize that what you’re feeling is normal and give yourself a break.

“I *always* hit a wall 6 months into a tough assignment in a disaster zone,” she says. “The desire to ‘get away’ or ‘make it stop’ is intense. I’ve done this many times, and at 6 months, it’s like clockwork.”

Unfortunately, there is no getting away from a global pandemic. However, things are not as bleak as they may seem.

“Rather, this is our next major adaptation phase. We’ve already re-learned how to do groceries, host meetings, and even teach classes. And we have found new ways to be happy and have fun. But as the days get shorter and colder, we need to be ready to innovate again.”

According to Professor Ahmad, this slump we’re in will last about 4-6 weeks. We might just be able to ride it out in time for the election. Take this time to gather your strength, because she says you won’t be able to “ram your head through” the slump.

“Right now, if you can meet your obligations and be kind to your loved ones, you get an A+,” she says. And that’s coming from a professor.

She also assures us that the good feelings will come back, saying that we will “hit a new stride” once the slump is over. For now, it’s time to take care of ourselves.

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“Clear away less challenging projects. Read a novel. Download that meditation app.”

She also recommends taking a “mental or figurative ‘shore leave'” in any way you can until the slump is over. No matter what you have to do, the slump will end.

“In my experience, this 6 month wall both arrives and dissipates like clockwork. So I don’t fight it anymore. I don’t beat myself up over it. I just know that it will happen & trust that the dip will pass.”

She ends by reminding us all that we’ve actually been doing great this whole time considering the circumstances, calling it “hard proof that we have what it takes to keep going.”

“So, dear friends, do not despair of the 6 month wall. It’s not permanent, nor will it define you in this period of adversity. Trust that the magic that helped you through the first phase is still there. Take a breath & a pause. You’ll be on the other side in no time.”

Ahmad’s thread is spreading fast after being posted on Sunday, and people are expressing their deep gratitude for this reassurance from an expert on sustained crises.

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*First Published: September 22, 2020, 10:17 am