If you’ve been feeling really tired lately, you’re not alone. From the start of the pandemic, I’ve felt almost constant exhaustion. It takes so much energy just to get through the day, never mind getting any meaningful work done. I wasn’t able to find the source for today’s quote, but it accurately describes how I feel some days.
Pandemic fatigue is a thing, and it manifests in two different ways. For some, it has resulted in relaxing their guard and easing up on taking precautions. For others, it has taken a serious toll on both emotional and physical health. And fighting it takes energy that many of us don’t have right now.
If you fall into the category of those who have relaxed their vigilance against the virus, you will need to shift your mindset. Early in the pandemic, most of us were driven by fear. However, over time, the brain adapts to threats, and our 24/7 news cycle with its constant warnings contributes to desensitizing people to the fact that the threat isn’t any less serious now than it was three months ago. If fear is no longer enough of a motivator for you to make sure you don’t let down your guard, you’ll need to find a different inspiration. Maybe the reward for continuing to be careful is as simple as your own health, maybe it’s the health of a family member or friend. We are all in this together, and what we do impacts everyone we come into contact with.
If you’re suffering from emotional and physical stress fatigue, it helps to be aware that what you’re going through, even three months into this, is grief. Even if we’ve been lucky enough to not lose someone we love to this awful disease, we’ve all lost so much. Our way of life has changed in ways we never could have imagined. Hopefully by now, you have some coping mechanisms in place to help you deal with pandemic stress. Eating well, getting some exercise, getting out in nature every day, getting enough sleep, and, and I can’t stress this enough, limiting your exposure to the news, all help manage emotional pandemic fatigue and stress.
One thing that has made a big difference for me is a 36 hour news break once a week. I’ve done this for the past three weeks: from Saturday afternoon through Monday morning, I do not check the news. And the difference has been remarkable. I’m less fatigued, I sleep better for two nights in a row, and I just feel lighter overall.
And of course, Allegra has been a wonderful example on how not to get stressed. If only we could relax as easily as our cats! Just watching her sleep in her favorite sun puddle always brings a peaceful feeling. And sometimes, curling up next to her for a nap of my own is exactly what this tired body and mind need.
Are you feeling pandemic fatigue? How does it manifest for you and how do you cope?