People are tired. Tired of being afraid, of wearing masks, of hearing the word COVID. Many of us thought the pandemic would be over by now, but no, it’s still here, and it’s draining our physical and mental resources.
Pandemic fatigue is real. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as being “demotivated” and exhausted with the demands of life during the COVID crisis. This fatigue can lead to a deep sense of anxiety, depression, less productive work environments and other negative consequences. It may make some people less willing to comply with health regulations, which can prolong the pandemic for everyone. So, what can we do to cope?
First, accept that what you’re feeling is normal and many other people are experiencing the same thing. We haven’t lived through this type of crisis before, and everyone is doing their best to get through it. But, like with many other mentally challenging situations, it’s important to take steps to promote our physical and emotional well-being.
Here are some ways to do this:
- Maintain a regular routine whenever possible. For example, eat meals at the same times every day and stick to regular wake and sleep times.
- Focus more on long-term relationships. Stay in close contact with those you feel close to and who can provide a sense of stability. Talk about happy memories or plan to make new ones. Doing this will give you a greater sense of connection with the outside world and help you look towards the future.
- Be mindful about relying on alcohol and other short-term fixes. This can easily lead to addiction, which in turn will lead to even more isolation, stress and anxiety. Instead, practice meditation or yoga and do deep breathing exercises. Find an exercise you enjoy, such as walking or running, which will allow you to breathe fresh air while enjoying the calming sights and sounds of nature. Leave your phone at home, or turn it off.
- Limit news coverage. Get the facts you need, but don’t let COVID chatter become a constant background in your life. And only pay attention to reputable sources.
- Get professional help, if necessary. Let an expert guide you and give you the resources you need to get through these challenging times.
Written by Sue Baldani, a lifetime member of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad, in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.