We’re tired of being cooped up, tired of being careful, tired of being scared. Our collective fatigue is making some of us careless – one reason COVID-19 is rising sharply again throughout the world.
However, facing this fatigue is important for our personal health and for beating the coronavirus that has shaken life so completely.
This is a real challenge. There are no easy solutions.
Let’s begin with understanding why so many of us feel frazzled. Knowing why we feel that everything is abnormal can help us feel normal.
Intense stress and prolonged stress have long-term effects on our mental and physical well-being. The unknown is now in every part of our lives and many of the things we have done in past to cope, the things we enjoy and that give life meaning, have now changed.
There is research that defines the stages of stress on communities from disasters and as a society, we are right on target. Early during or right after a disaster, communities tend to pull together. People support each other and create a sense of community bonding. Think back to the first weeks of the stay-at-home orders when everyone in neighborhoods waved to everyone else. Eventually, that heroic spirit wears thin as the difficulties and stress build up.
That’s when we hit the disillusionment phase, we lose our optimism and start to have negative or angry reactions.
That’s about where we stand now as a society, many people are exhausted by it all. 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. This phase could last a while, in part because the disaster – the COVID-19 pandemic – is still going on.
How to cope
· Exercise: The No. 1 best thing we can do for coping. It releases endorphins, gets some of the adrenaline out when the frustration builds up. Just getting out and moving. You will feel better!
· Talking: Saying it out loud is important. Find the right places and times but do it. Ignoring feelings doesn’t make them go away.
· Constructive thinking: 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: We put ourselves through a lot of unnecessary misery projecting into the future or ruminating about the past. For now, just take life one moment at a time.