Staying indoors, lacking space for social interaction, and blurring boundaries between work and play, these are just some of the day-to-day problems that we face during quarantine, and it’s affecting most people. This is often referred to as Pandemic Fatigue, and this occurs when people are unmotivated to follow recommended behaviors to protect themselves and others from the virus, specifically COVID-19 (World Health Organization, 2020).
Forms of Pandemic Fatigue
For further context, Doctor Paul Sasha Nedstadt, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University, explained that pandemic fatigue is the exhaustion that a person may be feeling after months of spending time and energy with our new pandemic lifestyle and all the struggles that came with it (Millard, 2021).
Pandemic fatigue also refers to coronavirus burnout; people are getting tired of doing coronavirus precautions (Parrish, 2020). Now that hybrid classes and return-to-office set-ups are being implemented, practicing precautions like wearing masks, washing hands, or consistently sanitizing your hands, ensuring that proper ventilation is in place, and maintaining a physical distance is still necessary (Junio, 2022). Although it takes the extra mile to practice such precautions, we must remind ourselves that these safety measures work and it will eventually become second nature.
Tips on Conquering Pandemic Fatigue
As mentioned, each and every one of us experience pandemic fatigue differently; some have problems with getting stuck in a rut that affects their mental health, while some have heightened worries about the future of society living with COVID-19. Here are some self-care tips to deal with pandemic fatigue (McCrimmon, 2020; Millard, 2021). You can do these steps to make your headspace better:
Reflect and accept
Taking the time to pause and check in with ourselves is great for our mental health. All the worries, sadness, and exhaustion brought by pandemic fatigue are normal, and we must take the time to process our emotions through journaling. This can help us accept the situation we are in and learn to live with the new pandemic lifestyle.
Breathe and meditate
Take the pause further by practicing breathing exercises and meditation, it can help with reducing stress and anxiety. Slow and deep breathing can calm our bodies, while meditation can help in aligning our mind, body, and soul, making complex things easy to perceive in our minds.
Monitor your social media: stop ‘doom scrolling’ and limit screen time
Sometimes being too connected with people and the news on social media can make us feel more disconnected from ourselves. Setting a limit on your screen time and choosing a few news outlets to keep you updated in a small amount of time per day can reduce your fear of missing out and still maintain your peace of mind.
Restore and replenish your energy
It is important to not only schedule our obligations but also our relaxation. Set a time for unwinding and calming your mind, like reading a book, taking a bath, and taking a walk. Binge-watching on Netflix can be good, but it must be done moderately since it can restrict you from taking control of your energy.
Physical health is connected to our mental health. Physical exercise does not have to be strenuous, but it must make you feel good to do it daily. Start easy and slow, like walking or doing yoga, and then build up from there by being in touch with your body.
Adjust expectations as needed
The start of quarantine might have excited you to do the things you were not able to do. Certainly, they are great pursuits but they can make you stressed by not meeting your high expectations. Just do the things you enjoy and uplift you like doing a hobby, working, and staying physically active.
Set boundaries with people in your household
When you get stressed by being with people in your house all the time, set boundaries by assigning spaces where each of you can spend some alone time.
Add structure to your days
It is vital to create a separation between work and play; establish a routine that will motivate you to work and create a relaxing night routine to help you wind down before going to bed. Getting sufficient and quality sleep can lower your stress and sustain your energy throughout the day, which helps you become more productive and resilient.
Experiencing pandemic fatigue is totally valid; expecting a virus to end after quarantine for a year but ending up being prolonged is not something that we can get over instantly. Practicing these tips will take a while before it comes to fruition, so take it day by day and one tip at a time.
We at Fidecita wish you the best on your mental health endeavors. Click here to know more about Fidecita HR Advisory’s Mental Health Care services.
Junio, R. A. (2022, March 11). Opinion: Is the pandemic ending soon?. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/philippines/news/detail/11-03-2022-opinion-is-the-pandemic-ending-soon
McCrimmon, K. K. (2020, October 30). Are you feeling exhausted, anxious or sad? 5 tips for handling ‘pandemic fatigue.’ UCHealth. https://www.uchealth.org/today/5-tips-for-handling-pandemic-fatigue/
Millard, E. (2021, February 18). How to Not Let Pandemic Fatigue Turn Into Pandemic Burnout. Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/coronavirus/how-to-not-let-pandemic-fatigue-turn-into-pandemic-burnout/
Parrish, C. (2020, August 11). How to Deal with Coronavirus Burnout and Pandemic Fatigue. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/how-to-deal-with-coronavirus-burnout-and-pandemic-fatigue
World Health Organization. (2020, October 7). WHO/Europe discusses how to deal with pandemic fatigue. https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/who-europe-discusses-how-to-deal-with-pandemic-fatigue