Mental Health and Covid-19: Hitting ‘Surge Capacity’ and Vacation Risks

After feeling energized in the early stages of the pandemic, science journalist Tara Haelle hit a wall. As she describes in a powerful new story for Elemental, suddenly she was unable to work, clean, exercise, or even play with her kids. She had been operating on “surge capacity” — a set of adaptations that humans can draw on in acutely stressful situations — but even surge capacity has limits. “When it’s depleted, it has to be renewed,” psychologist Ann Masten, PhD, told her. “But what happens when you struggle to renew it because…