The long term fatigue of the pandemic | By: PAWC Staff
It's hard to believe that we are nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial panic and hoarding of toilet paper have worn off, yet for many the psychological impacts of the pandemic are still very much present and may last longer than the pandemic itself.
Although it seems as though things are slowly going back to normal, we are still very much in the midst of the pandemic. In many places, bars have reopened, schools are back in session and people are reuniting with friends and families for social gatherings. All the while, public health experts are advising against these behaviors. It is clear that people want to return to the life that we knew before the pandemic, even though the pandemic is far from over. This desire for life to go back to normal is referred to as pandemic fatigue.
It is common to experience pandemic fatigue and it is likely that the pandemic fatigue is triggering psychological distress. Specifically, people may be experiencing an increase in anxiety and depression.
Another facet of pandemic fatigue that many people may be experiencing is called crisis fatigue.
Crisis fatigue occurs after months of prolonged stress, anxiety, depression, and fear in response to the COVID pandemic. Crisis fatigue can manifest in a variety of ways including anxiety, anger, irritability, exhaustion, grief, or resignation.
It is important to manage this fatigue and take care of your mental health, all while maintaining responsible habits like washing our hands and limiting our social interactions.
How to cope with pandemic fatigue and crisis fatigue
Take care of your physical health - Eating well, getting a proper amount of sleep, and exercising, even if it is just going for a walk or stretching, can help boost your mood.
Be intentional with media exposure - Research (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32202824/) shows that prolonged exposure to health crisis media can negatively impact mental health (Garfin et. al. 2020). If you find yourself constantly checking the news, it may be time to take a break from your phone or computer.
Engage in activities that make you happy - Be creative, get outside, do something intentional that you know you will enjoy.
Ask for help - If you find that you are having difficulty sleeping, you are unable to do work and maintain your daily routines, and these coping techniques are not helping, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional.
To read more about pandemic fatigue, check out this article at Psychology Today,
To read more about crisis fatigue, check out this article at Healthline,
For more information on how to cope with COVID-19 related stress, check out these resources:
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