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Last Updated on January 1, 2021 by Paula Dunbar

As the Coronavirus COVID-19 continues on, we never thought we’d still be here many months later. Wearing masks, social distancing, not seeing family as often as we used to, working at home, or not working at all. It’s exhausting, right? I found some great articles about pandemic fatigue. I wanted to compile them and share how to deal with pandemic fatigue. And I’ll share a few of my tips too. Maybe you can share yours as well at the end of the article.

We started out ready to do our part. Well, most of us. Get masks. Check. Stay at home. Check. (Find toilet paper. Check). That’s all fine and dandy for a while.

How to Deal with Pandemic FatigueBut months later, many people are now weary of this new lifestyle. And according to Carisa Parrish, PhD. of John Hopkins Medicine (2020), a lot of people have trouble coping with something they can’t see or doesn’t seem real. If you don’t know anyone who has contracted COVID-19, then it’s difficult to wrap your head around an unseen enemy. So that is part of the problem in having everyone doing their part.

But we must if we’re going to get through to the other side. In the meantime, how do we cope with these measures? How do we maintain our sanity? That is what we’re going to talk about.

Rising Depression, Anxiety and Stress – But It’s Normal

Being in a constant state of defending ourselves and families from this unseen virus for a long period takes a toll. It’s not good, but it’s normal to have some anxiety and stress in reaction to what is happening, according to McDermott and Cowan (2020). Depression rates are three times what they were before the pandemic.

It seems reasonable as many struggle to stay in business, or are essential workers on the front lines. Many have lost jobs. But I don’t want to focus on those things. I want to focus on what we can do about our mental health and get through.

What You Can Do

Take care of yourself, whatever that means to you (McDermott and Cowan, 2020). Whether it’s taking a long walk in nature, exercising at home, listening to music, taking a bubble bath, do whatever helps calm your mind. Here are some ways to take care of yourself.

    • How to Deal with Pandemic FatigueEat healthy. Eating healthy will help your body cope with the additional stress right now. Also, eat within reason. Eating an entire bag of potato chips isn’t going to help you feel better. Choose healthy foods, even if you order out. I have an article on The Best Diet for Your Brain if you’d like to read more.
    • Exercise. Exercise is so critical for our brains, bones and helping to keep the blood flowing. It also helps prevent bigger problems from developing, like obesity, stroke, and heart attacks. While we’re all at home more, we need to make sure we’re getting some exercise in, even if it’s just a walk around the block. I have some suggestions for low impact exercise equipment here.
    • Watch the News Less. We don’t really need the constant reminders of what is going on with the pandemic. If we’re doing what we are supposed to do: wearing masks outside the home, social distancing when we are outside, then we don’t need updates multiple times a day on how many cases there are right this minute. Once per day is probably enough. But be flexible as things change. And that brings us to…
    • Practice Mindfulness. Taking a few minutes to pay attention to what is around you, the trees outside, nature, the sky, beautiful music, will go a long way to helping you de-stress. You might enjoy my article on mindfulness: The Mindful Habit
    • Keep Up With Maintenance. Pandemic fatigue can make you feel sluggish and unmotivated. Get started on a few chores to start make your space more livable. Or even organize some closets or rooms. It will increase the energy in your space and help your mindset and energy levels too. I know this was the case for me. I got caught up on some chores today and it really helped re-energize me.
    • Make Masks Fun. There are some pretty cute and fun masks available now. Here are some I found. It might make it less stressful to have to wear one, for you or for kids.

There are a lot of fun styles too. And they have affordable sanitizing wipes and filters for masks as well at SewCal Masks. And if you want to donate masks, they can handle that too.

  • Be a Force for Good. There are lots of ways people are helping each other these days. Find a positive way to impact your area. Some people hand out food, some donate to charities, some donate time to read to children online. Here is a great website with all kinds of opportunities in your area: Powerof.org.
  • Learn new skills. This is a great time to learn something new. Maybe a musical instrument. There are plenty of resources online. Take a business course. Maybe learn how to make your own blog. But using this time to grow and learn will help you feel that something positive is happening in your life.

The Positives About Anxiety

How to deal with Pandemic FatigueModerate anxiety is actually normal and is our own personal warning system and reminder to wear a mask, wash our hands, and socially distance when out, according to psychiatrist Dr. Elissa Epel in the McDermott and Cowan article. She also said that stress that we later recover from (see self-care above) actually creates more energy, doesn’t take it away.

The truth is, we’ve been warned for years of a possible pandemic in our future. It is very possible that other viruses could mutate and cause a similar state in the future. We need to get used to washing our hands and protecting each other. It might be here for awhile.

Where We Are Now

So here we are now. I hope you gained some clarity or a new way to look at life during a pandemic. There are some positives we can get if we look for them. You can control your response to stress and make sure you take the time to care for yourself.

Thank you for reading today. If you have any comments or experience to share with us, please leave them in the Comments section below. Thank you!

References:

McDermott, M and Cowan, J. (2020). Combatting pandemic fatigue. Retrieved October 25, 2020 from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/23/us/pandemic-fatigue-california.html

Parrish, C. (2020). How to deal with coronavirus burnout and pandemic fatigue. Retrieved October 25, 2020 from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/how-to-deal-with-coronavirus-burnout-and-pandemic-fatigue

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