It’s More Than Exhaustion: You’ve Reached “Surge Capacity”

Surge capacity: A collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations.

After eight months of pandemic-related self-isolation, illness, and disruption of daily life, it’s no surprise that many of us are feeling especially rundown.  

“Natural disasters occur over a short period, even if recovery is long. Pandemics are different: the disaster itself stretches out indefinitely.” — Tara Haelle, science writer

The lack of focus, energy, and patience you’re experiencing means you’ve reached ‘surge capacity.’

It’s what science writer Tara Haelle calls the mental and physical adaptive systems that help us during short-lived emergency situations. 

“Surge capacity is a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters,” Haelle says. “But natural disasters occur over a short period, even if recovery is long. Pandemics are different: the disaster itself stretches out indefinitely.”

Halle has recently written about her own struggles with reaching surge capacity for Medium.

Click the player above to hear Haelle and CultureShift hosts Amanda LeClaire and Rob Reinhart discuss what you can do to help overcome the stress of 2020.   

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Author

  • Amanda LeClaire

    Amanda LeClaire is Host of CultureShift and is a founding producer of both of WDET's locally-produced daily shows. She's been involved in radio and the arts in Detroit for over a decade.