It’s been about a year since the pandemic started. For many states, the year anniversary of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order has already passed. So, it should come as no surprise that a great number of people across the globe are experiencing pandemic fatigue.
This past year didn’t fly by the way years usually do. Instead, many of us are plagued with a new phenomenon: pandemic fatigue.
So, What is Pandemic Fatigue?
Yes, pandemic fatigue is very much a real thing. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified it back in October, describing it as:
“…people are feeling demotivated about following recommended behaviours to protect themselves and others from the virus.”
This demotivation doesn’t come as much of a surprise. In one year alone, America lost over 500,000 lives to COVID-19. Not to mention the 22 million jobs lost at the start of the pandemic, with only half recovered as of today.
Along with all of this, everyone stayed in their homes for months. Many were around their loved ones nonstop. Some people were forced to be by themselves.
All of this, coupled with the insanity of American politics, brought a ton of stress and frustration. The result: pandemic fatigue.
Signs of pandemic fatigue include:
- Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits. Such as eating too little and sleeping less, or overeating and sleeping more
- Disinterest in everyday activities
- Obvious lack of motivation
- Difficulty focusing
- Uncontrollable anxiousness
- Racing and/or compulsive thoughts
- Easily annoyed/quick to react strongly to others without hesitation—including friends and loved ones
We shouldn’t let pandemic fatigue go without notice. It’s wreaked havoc on many Americans’ mental health. And, our mental health is one of the most important things we have.
Yes, we all can agree we are pretty fed up with the world. The pandemic is yet to be over. Restrictions may be loosened, but precautions are still necessary. No matter what, we can’t let pandemic fatigue get the best of us!
Finding positive coping mechanisms to challenge this phenomenon is what we need to do to successfully make it through to 2022. Let’s discover how we can challenge this pandemic fatigue together.
Here are 5 Ways to Cope with Pandemic Fatigue
Stop Beating Yourself Up for Not Being an Overachiever
Staying at home got everyone creative. So much so, it turned many into professional sourdough bakers.
More time on your hands doesn’t mean you need to complete 50 tasks a day. You are only human! There is no need to burden yourself with extra stress just because some food blogger managed to bake 5 cakes today.
Set small goals for yourself. This can be a short list of daily or weekly tasks. These will allow you to feel motivated each day. If you don’t complete the goal on time, don’t stress it. Tomorrow is a new day!
Limit your Social Media Activity
Social media can take a lot of useful time out of our days. It can also eat up our positivity.
You, like most of us, may be a doomscroller. Don’t be embarrassed if you’ve found yourself scrolling endlessly on social media, engulfed by all the crazy news in today’s world.
Doomscrolling is a direct result of the pandemic. In fact, it was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionary. Preventing droomscrolling and limiting your social media consumption can do a whole lot for your mental health.
Fortunately, our iPhones break down our time spent on applications. See how much time per day you spend on social media. Try to take some of those hours and put them into a new self-care practice.
This could be anything – as long as you are focusing on yourself and less on a screen.
Be Vocal About your Relationship Boundaries
Setting clear boundaries is fundamental in any relationship. It lets people know where you stand. Above all, clear boundaries provide the emotional support you need.
Openly discussing your boundaries with friends, family, and romantic partners is essential to keep you from going crazy. Boundaries matter no matter if you live with the person or not.
Discussing boundaries is hard. With the right approach, you can express to those you love just what you need for the relationship to evolve. Once you have defined boundaries, it will feel like a total weight off your chest.
Keep Up with Friends and Family
We are all pretty sick of FaceTime dates, that’s for sure. Thankfully, there are ways to engage with friends that can keep everyone safe and comfortable.
Setting up routine hangouts is a great opportunity to stay socially sane. One solid idea is to meet up for a weekly coffee date, especially outdoors if weather permits. This way, you can spend time with those you love in a socially distanced environment.
Give Yourself Some TLC
Don’t forget that you matter the most. Implementing a solid self-care routine can help you to relieve stress and think a lot more clearly.
What this routine looks like is up to you! It could be daily morning yoga, taking a bath, or just reading outside in the sunshine.
Whatever you choose, remember to allow yourself to breathe and relax. Restoring your mind, body, and energy is essential to remain motivated and productive.
Reach out for Help to Cope With Pandemic Fatigue
If you are feeling really overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. This could be speaking with close friends or relatives. Or, reaching out to a licensed therapist.
A few insurance companies are still waiving co-pay fees for mental health visits during the pandemic. If you have insurance, you can set up Telehealth appointments with a therapist easily.
It is never embarrassing to seek professional help. The pandemic’s effect on our mental health is staggering. You deserve all the support you need!
Pandemic fatigue is a real thing. With the right coping strategies, we can help each other to relieve the worst of its symptoms. We’ve made it through 2020. Let’s try to make 2021 a more positive year, together!