Throughout 2020, the world has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its regulations. People have faced the stress of the pandemic through restrictions, the threat of sickness and social isolation. The result? A wide-spread feeling of emotional exhaustion known as COVID-19 or pandemic fatigue, according to AMITA Health.
What is pandemic fatigue?
COVID-19 fatigue is a part of the body’s natural response to stress. When people are exposed to a stressor, they either:
- Attempt to resist the stressor (fight)
- Avoid the stressor (flight)
- Feel frozen when faced with the stress (freeze)
- Give in to the stress (faun), according to AMITA Health
Generally, stress is not long term; however, people have been facing the stressors of the pandemic for months without breaks. Without breaks, people are not prepared to handle stress over a long period of time and increasingly faun or freeze in the face of coronavirus, which results in pandemic fatigue, according to AMITA Health.
The symptoms of COVID-19 fatigue or stress can include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Isolating from loved ones
- Reduced performance at work or of daily tasks, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
It can also result in a person becoming more lenient with the recommended safety precautions, such as hand washing, social distancing and wearing a mask, according to AMITA Health. This not only puts the person at risk, but those around them as well.
How do you combat it?
The primary way you can combat COVID-19 fatigue and general stress is through practicing self-care, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. You can participate in self-care by:
- Taking time to read, listen to music or tune into podcasts
- Scheduling zoom sessions with your friends and family to stay connected
- Practicing gratitude and mindfulness, according to AMITA Health and the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) also offers free health coaching to help members manage their stress.
You can also view this toolkit by The Wellbeing Partners, a local nonprofit, for a variety of resources on workplace wellness during the pandemic.
If you are experience symptoms of COVID-19 fatigue or stress that interfere with your day-to-day quality of life, it may be time to contact a mental health provider, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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