6 Ways to Deal with Pandemic Burnout
Pandemic fatigue is a real thing. Here are 6 ways to help beat it.
While most of us have started adapting to a new way of life during the age of covid-19, it’s only natural that these changes will lead to exhaustion, anxiety and restlessness from time to time. The increasing rates of coronavirus this fall and consequent new restrictions in many states across the country will compound these feelings for many. However if you’re dealing with pandemic fatigue, there are things you can do to help get out of your rut. Here are all of our top tips.
Develop and maintain some simple routines.
One of the most discombobulating aspects of the pandemic has been the upending of our normal routines. And the persistent changes in restrictions and closures across many states has meant that it’s hard to even maintain a reliable schedule during the pandemic. That makes it even more important to put some routines in place that don’t rely on factors that may change as the pandemic runs its course. These routines don’t have to be extravagant or long-- instead, think of a few simple things that don’t take up much time and which you truly enjoy doing, and schedule them out at least weekly, but preferably daily. This can be as simple as setting aside an hour each Sunday afternoon to garden, having a special family pizza night every Friday, or watching an episode of your family’s favorite TV show each night. These things might seem small in theory, but they go a long way in adding some normalcy to the machinations of an ever-changing daily life, and give everyone in the family something to look forward to.
Exercising and eating right are always important, but perhaps never more than right now. That’s because keeping our bodies healthy is one of the most powerful ways we can manage everyday anxiety, fatigue and feelings of sadness, which we’re much more prone to during these stressful times. Just 20 minutes of exercise a day, whether it’s yoga, intense cardio or even a simple walk, will heighten levels of powerful serotonin in the body, which helps your body regulate mood as well as sleep. Exercising outside is also a great way to get fresh air and important vitamin D, which plays a significant role in regulating mood and keeping depression at bay.
Make sure you’re not developing unhealthy coping mechanisms.
During stressful times, it’s only human to start relying on things which instantly relieve anxiety or impart feelings of happiness. However overindulging in food, alcohol or other habits which are destructive in the long term is the easiest way to ensure you’ll feel worse in the end. Now more than ever it’s important to monitor yourself to ensure you’re not falling into unhealthy habits. Eating junk food or dessert or drinking a glass of wine a night are all totally healthy ways to indulge and practice some self-care if you do them every once in a while. However keep tabs on how much and when you’re partaking. If you start to feel like you’re turning to unhealthy foods, drinks or other vices not as a way to imbue some joy into your life but as a way to combat your stress, it’s a good time to stop for a while. And if you feel like you can’t, it’s important to know you shouldn’t be embarrassed to reach out to a friend, therapist or other resource for help.
Stay connected to friends and family.
With anxiety high and get-togethers all but banned for many people, it can be easy to isolate yourself from loved ones right now. However it’s never been more important to stay in contact with friends and family. Talking with people who care about you will help greatly help lessen feelings of isolation, and can release dopamine, increasing feelings of happiness. Setting aside a specific time each week for a phone call or FaceTime is a great way to ensure that you don’t skip it because of a bad mood or fatigue.
It might seem difficult or unhelpful to try to be grateful amidst so much loss, but practicing gratitude is about more than acknowledging privilege or forcing happiness. Finding things you’re grateful for in your current life is a time-honored way to boost mood and help train your mind to see situations more positively, which can help you manage feelings of stress and sadness. And practicing gratitude doesn’t need to be a big or dramatic gesture. Try setting aside a few minutes before bed to either write down or actively think about 2-3 things you’re grateful for. These can be as simple and small as a meal or TV show you’re looking forward to, or as big as a beloved person in your life. It doesn’t matter what it is, as much as the act of recognizing the joy that current things in your life bring.
Ensure you’re still following precautions.
One of the biggest repercussions of pandemic burnout is adhering less to precautions. After months of major inconveniences and interruptions in daily life, not to mention tons of new rules and regulations, it’s only human nature to grow weary of such regimentation. However not following guidelines is the easiest way to ensure that the interruptions to our old way of life will continue even longer. And as with any stressful situation, one of the most powerful ways you can manage your anxiety is by focusing on the things you can fix, not the things you can’t. Wearing masks, social distancing and following local restrictions is the #1 way you can contribute to getting your life back to normal.