It is safe to say that right now everyone around the world is tired of the pandemic. So much so that there is now an official name for it: fatigue in the pandemic. Unfortunately, the end of this difficult episode is unknown, which means that we will have to live with the limitations of pandemic life and all its negative consequences much longer than we would like.
But why is it so difficult to wear a mask, stay home and spend more time with our children and significant others? Here are some reasons why "fatigue in the pandemic" is real and how you can deal with it.
Grief and maladaptation:
Everyone is talking about how we are all going through the grieving process right now, but what does that mean exactly? It is good to remember that grief is the result of a loss. Although the types of losses vary, each of us has lost something during this pandemic: jobs, plans, business, a sense of normalcy, intimacy and in some cases the very real loss of someone we love. So, how do we deal with grief? It turns out in many, many different ways. Experts agree that there is no "right" way to mourn. However, there are some ways to deal with grief that can make us suffer more than we may need.
Learning to live with the craving:
Right now it seems that the bad news will never end, and many of us feel a fear of the unknown. It's tempting to want to try to "be positive" or look for a silver lining, or to say to ourselves that "if we can just get through this" we will be OK. When we get through this time, there will be silver lining, but avoiding reality or pretending to feel different than you really do if the situation can actually make you more depressed. Remember that it's OK to feel sad, and talking to others about this openly can be helpful to everyone.
Tips for Surviving "Pandemic Fatigue":
- Practicing Gratitude: Practicing gratitude is not about "feeling grateful", it is more about choosing to focus your attention on what is good in your life right now. If you feel low, make a list of five things you are grateful for and do not be surprised if your mood rises, just a little.
- Staying on the Day: The term "one day at a time", popular with recovery groups, is a powerful way of life when you just try to put one foot in front of the other. Try not to let yourself be sucked into worrying about the future, and instead do what lies ahead of you.
- Help Someone: It's harder to think about how depressing things are when you do something for someone else. Volunteer at a food bank, write a card or make a phone call to someone who is alone or struggling, or buy a coffee for someone behind you while driving.
- Do something awkward: Let's face it, we all hate Zoom. But that's all we have right now. Set up a Zoom conversation with your cousins or old colleagues and do whatever it takes to connect.
- Release yourself: It's not time to worry about living your best life. Try to take care of your own basic physical and emotional needs, but do not lie down too much if you watch a little more TV than usual or eat pizza more than once a week.
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