As fall is here, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic remains evident throughout the nation. Despite our best efforts to contain the virus and eradicate it before the end of the summer, after months of quarantining, the pandemic has begun to take a toll on our mental and emotional health.
Many of us suffer from pandemic fatigue, a term used to describe feelings of anxiety, fear, and hopelessness in relations to COVID-19 stressors. Here are some common signs that you too may be suffering from pandemic fatigue:
- You’re less diligent about wearing your mask or washing your hands
- You’re not as careful about social distancing as you were
- You find yourself sleeping less or sleeping more
- You’re feeling more impatient and irritable than before
- You are easily angered
- You find yourself stressed about situations that you used to manage well
- You don’t engage in your hobbies or enjoyable activities as you did
- You experience feelings of hopelessness when thinking of the future
- You overindulge on food, alcohol, and other substances
- You find it hard to focus/concentrate
How to cope
- Take care of your body
Good physical health is not an option, but a necessity. Make sure to get enough sleep ( at least 7 hours every night) and to maintain a proper sleep schedule. Eat a nutritious and balanced diet to coincide with daily exercise. Such measures will not only improve your mood, it also strengthens your immune system.
- Limit your news intake
It’s a good idea to stay up to date with current news, but don’t get too wrapped up in the politics and coronavirus updates. Overloading on news may lead to negative emotions and drain you of your energy. Take a break from the news for a day or two to see if you feel better.
- Lower your stress
The pandemic can act as a big stressor for most of us, so try to limit other stressors. Take some Paid-Time-Off (PTO) to relax for the day. Pick up on activities you enjoy but haven’t had the time to do, or pick up a new hobby. Engage in calming activities such as:
- Breathing exercises
- Nature Walks
- Watching a good movie
- Don’t isolate yourself
Despite the limited physical contact we have with the outside world, you can still connect with others through other means such as:
- Calling your family and friends
- Watching movies over Zoom
- Online religious services
If you are feeling anxious or lonely, get support, talk with others, let them know how you have been feeling.
- Acknowledge and accept your feelings
A crucial part of coping with your pandemic fatigue is to acknowledge your emotions. Once you identify how you’ve been feeling, refocus and energize yourself to find ways to cope with them. Sit with your feelings to develop a tolerance for them. With this newly developed tolerance, you’ll be less inclined to engage in harmful behaviors. If you are feeling overwhelmed or believe your feelings to be all-consuming, contact a mental health-care professional.