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Dealing with COVID Fatigue
By Barrington H. Brennen, November 11, 2020
 

We are all tired of the Corona virus 2019 (COVID 19). It smacked us right in our faces. We did not plan for this. Most, if not all of us, have never experienced or envisioned during our lifetime, that there could be any kind of world-wide pandemic or disaster that can actually cripple economies and cause the death of so many people.

For many years, my wife and I have been taking an early morning swim on a lovely beach on the north shore of New Providence, The Bahamas. Each morning we would notice at least three giant cruise ships jockeying to be the first in line to dock and the wharf. Many times, I have thought or spoken out loud these words: “If one day these cruise ships stop coming, our nation would be in trouble.” I never, ever thought it could really happen. Over the years, I have watched on international television stations, citizens in some countries who naturally wear facial masks in public when they are sick as a natural part of their culture. I would chuckle to myself stating in my mind “What a strange practice.” Now, the whole world is “strange.” We are all wearing masks.

I have passed by our public health clinics and noticed the unusual crowds of people early in the morning who are having trepidations about whether or not they have symptoms of the coronavirus. Sometimes we forget about the seemingly unbearable task the health professionals are facing every single day, twenty-four hours a day. During the early months of this pandemic, some front-line medical professionals did not even go to their homes for weeks at a time because they feared they would spread the virus to their family members.

Aren’t we all tired of this? Yes, we are. Many of us are physically and emotionally exhausted. Some are fearful of the future. The nation is experiencing COVID fatigue. There are ways to mange the fatigue even when some cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are a few tips to help deal with COVID Fatigue.

Here are a few tips from University of California Health and a few of my own.

  1. Live the moment. Avoid worrying about the next day, week or month. Seek to get the best out of what you have today, no matter how small it is, no matter how dim the future looks for you. “Don’t look too far down the road. Realize you will have good days and bad days, or good moments and bad moments. Realize these things can come in waves. It is OK to say, “Right now, it’s bad.” Think about what you can do to feel better.”
  2. Exercise. Exercise is one of the best ways to manage COVID fatigue. Here is a quote from UC Davis Health: “Experts say exercise is the best thing we can do for coping with COVID-19. Even a simple walk can help. Exercise releases endorphins, which relieve stress and boost our sense of pleasure. Exercise also channels out adrenaline when frustration builds up. If the air quality is bad outside, try a yoga or workout video inside your home.
  3. Talk. Talk, Talk. Talk about your frustrations “Finding someone – family, friend or professional – to talk to about your frustrations and anxieties is extremely helpful. Ignoring feelings or emotions does not make them go away – eventually they will all come exploding out and you won’t have as much control.”
  4. Engage in constructive thinking. “Be compassionate with yourself and others. Feelings come from our thoughts about the situation, and although we can’t change the situation, we can adjust our thinking. Remind yourself, “I’m doing the best I can.”
  5. Practice mindfulness and gratitude. Try being in the moment, breathing and looking around at what you have. The more you do this, the easier it gets. 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. Savannah Koplon of the University of Alabama states: “Another concerning aspect of COVID-19 fatigue and protocol mindfulness is a person’s desire to see others and either attending or hosting gatherings of all sizes. If mask wearing and social distancing are not followed even in smaller group settings, the ripple effect of case spread can be impactful.
  6. Laugh, laugh, laugh. “There’s a healthy physical reaction to laughing. Laughter can actually induce physical changes in the body and can even set you up for overall long-term health. If nothing else, put on your favorite comedy or read through the comics in the newspaper.” Laughter also helps the body to release white blood cells that fight against diseases.

Fellow citizens and residents, each one of us can fight this corona virus and reduce its vicious spread and havoc. Worry and indiscipline will exacerbate the problem. It will explode the fatigue and lead to wider community fear and panic. Stop. We can do this. Be calm. We can do this.

The country needs your help. You need your help. Let us all be disciplined by following the protocols of wearing masks in public, washing of hand frequently, and physical distancing, etc. Let us fight the fatigue.
 

 

Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist.  Send you comments or question sot question@soencouragement.org   or call 327 1980

 

 

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