2020 was filled with many ups, downs, and countless unexpected hurdles. This coming March marks one year of a society struggling through a global pandemic, which has left many wondering when life will re-start.
The feeling of mental anguish and tiredness associated with the pandemic has been labeled, “pandemic fatigue.” People are tired of covering up, staying in, and the overall disrupted state of the world. If you’re sick and tired of worrying about COVID-19, you’re probably suffering from pandemic fatigue, and you are not alone.
But what exactly is pandemic fatigue?
Pandemic fatigue is the very real exhaustion stemming from the effects of COVID-19. Between stay-at-home orders, job loss, scrambling to pay bills, fear of getting sick, and more, there is an unprecedented number of stressors in everyday life. Dealing with fear, anxiety, hopelessness and other negative emotions stemming from juggling multiple demands at once is draining and diminishes our drive to keep pushing forward. It is completely understandable to feel tired of the state of the world, but it is still as important as ever to keep up safe practices to help slow the spread of the virus.
Pandemic fatigue symptoms include feeling sad, worried, frustrated, irritable, overwhelmed, or helpless. You may feel edgy, withdrawn, or be unable to stop racing thoughts. You might find yourself snapping at others, lacking motivation, or having trouble focusing. If you recognize any of these signs, symptoms, or behaviors, try the following coping strategies to help reduce fatigue:
- Start with self-care
When you’re caught up with everything going on around you, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, maintaining a balanced diet, and practicing self-care that makes you feel good. Whether that means doing face masks, taking a bath, or going for a run, don’t forget about yourself.
- Limit social media and news intake
It’s good to keep up with the latest COVID-19 information, but too much news or social media interaction can overload you with negative emotions and drain your energy. Take breaks from media or limit consumption to an hour or so a day to stay updated without getting overwhelmed.
- Connect with others
The loneliness of isolation and disrupted routines can be devastating. While physical contact might not be an option, there are other ways to connect with others. Arrange virtual hangouts with friends, make phone calls, chat on social media, or take a live class online. Many people are eager to interact, and you might be surprised at home, how easy it can be to make a friend or learn something new by connecting virtually.
- Accept your feelings and try positive self-talk
The pandemic is stirring up a mix of emotions. Stuffing feelings down and ignoring them does not make them disappear. Instead, acknowledge your feelings, allow yourself to have them, then refocus your energy on things you can do to feel better. Identifying feelings can be overwhelming but try to be mindful of any negative thoughts and replace them with more positive or realistic statements.
- Start with self-care
The coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon so everyone must keep taking care of themselves to avoid pandemic fatigue. Along with taking care of your mental and emotional health, commitment to health measures and preventative practices is necessary to keep yourself and others safe.
As always, the best way to avoid spreading the coronavirus is to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and avoid large gatherings. Eventually, sanitizing and social distancing might bring us closer together again. And if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or other health-related issues, we encourage you to seek help from a health care professional.
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