As this very tough year comes to an end and the holiday season is upon us, the already existing desire to spend time with family and friends in person is amplified. Many of us have spent most of this past year missing our friends and family, not able to get together to celebrate or even mourn a loss as a family. There is a risk we take, however, should we act on those desires of seeing family and friends in person.
This pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing mental health diagnoses for many people, and may be the root source for others facing new mental health challenges. This ongoing process of social distancing and quarantining may start feeling less important. Mentally, we may find ourselves feeling “checked out.”
This sensation of feeling burned out is a result of Pandemic Fatigue. Pandemic Fatigue is a direct result of people feeling tired and frustrated with the measures in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19. People become less likely to follow public health practices and a natural sense of burnout may be experienced. Improving mental health and reducing your risks of self-harm starts with understanding the signs.
How do I know if I am experiencing Pandemic Fatigue?
- Lack of Motivation
- Racing thoughts
- Cravings for sweets
- Increased substance use
- Decreased or poor communication skills
- Increased stress
- Overstimulated: increased exhaustion
Tips to Reduce this Fatigue
- Create a routine
- Set a bedtime (improve sleep habits)
- Set time to be “Virtually Distant”
- Talk to a professional (express yourself freely)
- Exercise/ Movement
- Start a Journal
- Engage in a hobby
- Eat nutritious foods - start by replacing one unhealthy choice with a healthier item at a time
As you recognize these signs, implementing one or more of these suggestions may help reduce negative symptoms caused by Pandemic Fatigue. This may allow you to feel re-energized and focused. Thus allowing you to make more mindful and conscious decisions regarding your overall health and well-being.
Using precaution through socially distant behaviors and allowing yourself opportunities to connect while utilizing public safety measures is a responsible way to maintain a healthy mind and body. This special time in our lives can teach us how resilient we are. It can teach patience, discipline, self-care, introspection for growth, and how kindness, even the smallest act, can make all the difference.
Start with being kind to yourself, if you need a hug, ask for one. If you need to talk, make the call. Go outside, listen to the birds, look up at the clouds. Allow yourself an opportunity to be present in the moment. That is a beautiful gift to give yourself this holiday.
May this holiday season be filled with health and clarity. During this time, we have learned that every interaction can be meaningful, let's remember to Connect with Care.