PANDEMIC FATIGUE: WHAT IS IT AND HOW TO COPE?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, what we do both inside and outside of the workplace directly reflects the potential impact of our work and the safety of the most vulnerable people that we care for either in the community, acute care, or long-term care sites. In addition to being vigilant and taking the proper precautions to protect others, it is also important to take care of yourself and acknowledge when you feel fatigued and stressed. 

Stress related to COVID-19 can take a major toll, both on your physical and mental health —pressure of physical distancing, stress and exhaustion.

What is pandemic fatigue? Pandemic fatigue is defined as wrestling with intense emotions that eventually drain your energy. The fatigue can stem from several emotions you’ve experienced during the pandemic — this includes fear, anxiety, loneliness and hopelessness.

What are signs of pandemic fatigue? You may also feel helpless, sad, worried, frustrated and/or irritable. You may notice that you eat/sleep more or less than usual. You may have trouble focusing (brain fog), feel edgy or nervous, snap at or argue with others, have a lack of motivation and withdraw from all social events.

Healthy Ways to Reduce Pandemic Fatigue:

#1: Take care of your body:  Eat healthy, sleep and exercise.

#2: Limit your news intake: Take a break from the news for a day or two.

#3: Lower your stress: Try focusing on activities that bring a sense of calm and/or joy for 15 minutes a day:

  • Try a breathing exercise

  • Yoga

  • Nature walks

  • Reading

  • Watch a comedy movie or T.V. show

#4: Connect with others:  

  • Make phone calls

  • Arrange video meetings

  • Chat on social media

  • Write letters

  • Take a live class online

  • Attend online religious services

#5: Accept your feelings and positive self-talk: Acknowledge and name your feelings — try catching those negative thoughts and replacing them with more realistic statements.

#6: Create new traditions Usher more joy into your day by creating new traditions.  For example, set aside Sunday evenings for self-care. You can also organize a video call with friends as a mid-week check-in — be creative and come up with ideas that work best for you. 

How can we return to being social and going out in public? It is recommended you should avoid closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact.

  1. Low Risk: Ordering takeout/delivery from a restaurant, socially distanced picnic at the park, backyard BBQ with social circle.

  2. Medium Risk: Going to your local public pool to swim or eating on the outdoor patio at a restaurant.

  3. High Risk: Dining inside a crowded restaurant, attending an indoor house party with people outside of your social circle, going to a bar to watch a sports event on tv.

Factors that can decrease the level of Risk:

  1. Follow public health guidance (physical distancing, wash hands, wear a face covering).

  2. Gather outdoors whenever possible.

  3. Gather in smaller groups, preferably with a consistent social circle.

  4. Gather for shorter durations of time (especially if a larger group and indoors).

  5. Stay home if you are feeling ill.

Try to become more self-aware and recognize possible feelings of pandemic fatigue. Practice self-compassion, it’s okay not to be okay and reach out to the resources provided for you to help get through this phase

 More Information:

Relevant Past Articles:

  • Parents and Summer: http://covid19.providencehealthcare.org/stories/parents-how-enjoy-summer-during-covid-19

  • Summer Travel:  http://covid19.providencehealthcare.org/stories/summer-travel-no-other

  • Reconnecting Purpose During COVID-19                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     http://covid19.providencehealthcare.org/stories/reconnecting-purpose-during-covid-19

Please note: This story was submitted by the Health and Wellness Team 

This page last updated Aug 13, 2020 5:42pm PDT