You're crabby. You want to have a birthday party for your kid/spouse/sister at your house but .....COVID! You got all the way to the door of supermarket and realized you forgot your mask in the car. Yep, all the way back to get it. Your glasses fog up every time you have your mask on. Seriously, how do doctors and nurses breathe in these things?! Mommy, why can't we go see Grandma? And you don't have the answers. You have Covid fatigue. You're done with all this crap. Good news is YOU ARE NOT ALONE (OUR hands are in the air too).
It should actually be called Covid Stress instead, because basically that's what it is. You've been so careful, washing your hands, wearing your mask, not touching your face, wiping your groceries and any packages down. But it's all wearing quite thin. Experts say there are stages to Covid fatigue:
Stage 1: We pull together as a community. As we all did when everything started to happen and happen quickly. People made masks, employers made it so their employees could work from home and be with their kids who were now distance learning.
Stage 2: (this is where we are now) The heroic come together attitude is waning. This is called the disillusionment phase. Kaye Hermanson, UC Davis Health psychologist in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation says "“We lose our optimism and start to have negative or angry reactions. We ask, ‘What are they doing to fix this? How long will this last?’ Many people are exhausted by it all,” she said. “Some are saying they don’t care if they get COVID-19. They’d rather risk getting sick than stay home or be careful. Others have simply stopped listening to health leaders and science. Research shows that disillusionment can last up to a year from the start of the disaster,” she said. “And this pandemic is like nothing we’ve experienced before, and it’s not over yet.”
So how do we deal? We can, but it is going to require some work on your part. Coping skills. Use them. Here's a few that Hermanson suggests:
- Exercise:“It’s the No. 1 best thing we can do for coping,” she said. “Any exercise – even a simple walk – helps. It releases endorphins, gets some of the adrenaline out when the frustration builds up. Just getting out and moving can be really helpful for people.”
- Talking:“This really helps, too. Just saying it out loud is important,” Hermanson said. “Find the right places and times, but do it. Ignoring feelings doesn’t make them go away. It’s like trying to hold a beachball underwater – eventually you lose control and it pops out. You can’t control where it goes or who it hits.”
- Constructive thinking:“We may think it is the situation that causes our feelings, but actually, our feelings come from our thoughts about the situation,” she said. “We can’t change the situation, but we can adjust our thinking. Be compassionate with yourself and others. Remind yourself, ‘I’m doing the best I can.’”
- Mindfulness and gratitude:“The more you do this, the easier it gets,” she said. “Try being in the moment. You’re right here, in this chair, breathing and looking around. We put ourselves through a lot of unnecessary misery projecting into the future or ruminating about the past. For now, just take life day by day.”
Most importantly, be aware that WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. Truly. Lean on your significant other for strength. Lean on friends and be the person they turn to as well. Let's all take care of each other. Keep in mind, the only way to get back to "normal" and get back all the things that we used to do, is to follow the rules in place right now.
Stats and info from: https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/covid-fatigue-is-hitting-hard-fighting-it-is-hard-too-says-uc-davis-health-psychologist/2020/07