Dealing with COVID-19 Fatigue

Dealing with COVID-19 Fatigue

It’s been quite the year. That may be the understatement of all understatements. We’ve been locked down, shaken up and living in uncertainty for many months. Everyone is looking for, and hoping for, some stability.

Most of us are experiencing some kind of fatigue: COVID-19 fatigue, compassion fatigue, school fatigue—you name it. On some level we are all experiencing it.

When we are so fatigued, we end up feeling apathetic and in a real space of not caring. It’s almost as though we care so much that we burn ourselves out.

The problem with that fatigue is that, in our not caring, we become careless. And we can’t afford to be careless, especially as Covid numbers are rising. We need to find a way to be even more engaged and careful, for ourselves, our families and friends and as examples to the young people in our lives (who may be feeling it very differently than you).

So, how do we do that? How do we recharge when we feel depleted? Below are a couple of steps to follow that can help.

  1. Take five: we have so much going on and life is constantly shifting. Take a few minutes to center yourself. Five minutes can help you feel more grounded, more connected and help you think more clearly. That five minutes may be what you need to refocus.
  2. Shut it down: being inundated by the news can add to our feelings of burnout. Turn off the news. Stay off social media. Give yourself specific times to check and stay within the boundaries you create.
  3. Talk about it: share your frustrations with those you trust. Be open to conversations with your loved ones, especially your children, where you may have to just listen and validate the frustration. Open communication builds connection and can help alleviate some of the overwhelming feelings we are all experiencing.
  4. Practice radical acceptance: we are in this challenging space. Change is coming and it may not feel fast enough or effective enough. And it’s still coming. Radical acceptance means allowing yourself to be in the moment you’re in fully, while acknowledging the challenges and frustration. It’s not about being complacent. It is about being in it, as you are. If you can embrace this, you will suffer less. It doesn’t mean you’ll like it. It will just help make the situation more manageable.

2020 has been quite the year. As we head toward a new one, we hope that things will improve and we’ll be able to create a “normal” that feels good to all. As we work to get there, be mindful of your own fatigue and burnout and try to manage it, so we can all feel okay in the place we’re in.

Authored by:  Dr. Jennifer Hartstein