Mental Check In
woman stressed and tired on the couch as kids run behind her

Pandemic Fatigue: How to Cope

If you’re regularly feeling depressed, anxious, or exhausted, you’re not alone.

In fact, there’s a new term to encompass that burned-out feeling: “pandemic fatigue.”

What is Pandemic Fatigue?

What’s been dubbed as pandemic fatigue, is actually that run-down, depressed, and anxious feeling that you just can’t shake. It stems from wrestling intense emotions and stressors day after day — which can really drain your energy and cause a very real fatigue.

Of course, this kind of fatigue has been around longer than the coronavirus pandemic. However, we’re seeing it affecting a very large amount of the population all of a sudden, and it’s coming from the unprecedented circumstances we’re currently living in.

After all, many had hoped that life would get back to normal after a few weeks of lockdowns. Now, months into the pandemic, there is still no end in sight.

The pandemic has brought a number of extra stressors — job losses, child care challenges, disrupted routines, economic uncertainty, food insecurity, social isolation, and general uncertainty.

Pandemic fatigue can stem from any number of emotions you’re experiencing during the pandemic, like fear, anxiety, loneliness, or hopelessness.

“We’ve Reached a Bit of a Mental Health Breaking Point”

“The idea that there’s a specific syndrome we might call ‘pandemic fatigue’ is probably just a shorthand way of saying that we’ve reached a bit of a mental health breaking point,” says David Sbarra, a clinical psychologist and professor in the psychology department at the University of Arizona.

“We’re stressed, isolated, lonely, burned out, and more depressed and anxious than we’ve been in a long time,” Sbarra continued.

On top of feeling depressed, anxious, and irritable, it’s leaving us exhausted.

In order to reduce the toll on your mental and physical health, it’s essential to pay attention to your emotional and physical needs.

Healthy Ways to Cope With Pandemic Fatigue

These are some steps to renew your energy and feel more in control:

Take care of your body – Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and maintaining a nutritious diet. And it may be difficult to find the motivation, but regular exercise is important, too.

De-stress with calming activities – Focus on activities that are calming or bring you joy. It looks different for everyone, but it could include practicing meditation and breathing exercises, setting aside time to read, cooking yourself a fancy meal, or even just watching a comedy.

Limit your news intake – While it’s important to stay up to date on the latest information, too much news can overload you with negative emotions. While you’re taking a break from the news, go ahead and take a break from all social media if possible.

Connect – If you find that isolation is stressing you out, it’s crucial to connect with others. Make phone calls, arrange video meetings, write letters, take a live class online, or even chat on social media.

Acknowledge and accept your feelings – Trying to ignore your feelings won’t solve anything. Instead, allow yourself to have those feelings. Then, refocus your mind and energy on things you can do better.

Kat Sweet

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