Call it COVID-19 burnout, pandemic fatigue, or corona exhaustion. Any way you slice it, we are tired of the disruptions and intrusions to life as we once knew it. As a new year stretches before us, the news brims with talk of new variants, and our burnout, fatigue, and exhaustion intensify. We mourn the promise of a New Year’s reset as we anticipate more of the same interruptions that plagued 2020 and 2021. Yet, while we cling to the hope that treatments will soon usher in something more akin to normal, we are bone tired. And this new normal, what exactly will it look like?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines pandemic fatigue as being “demotivated” and exhausted with the demands of life during the COVID crisis. They also advise that pandemic fatigue is completely natural. The virus outbreak launched us into survival mode, which ignited fear that led to growing frustration, resulting in exhaustion accompanied by complacency. However, knowing this range of emotions is normal does not ease the fatigue.
“You may feel excessively tired, drained, more easily frustrated or fatigued. You can also feel more detached like you care less about work,” says psychologist and lecturer Dr. Rajvinder Samra. “That is the body trying to adapt and protect us. But ultimately, it’s not good for our jobs or ourselves if we care less about our co-workers and clients.”
While we strapped on our power-through-it boots in the early days of the pandemic, convinced we could weather this temporary storm, the fact that we’re nearing the two-year mark has battered our resolve. The struggle is real and ignoring it will not make it disappear. But while we can’t snap our fingers and make everything better, we can utilize these coping strategies.
1. Talk about frustrations
Bottling up emotions is a common response, but one that does nothing to help a person effectively manage the situation. So, find someone to talk to about your frustrations and anxieties—a family member, friend, or a professional. Ignoring is the opposite of coping, and it’s actually harmful.
2. Take it one day at a time
It’s tempting to peer down the road, looking for hope and brighter days. But what we often find is more reason to worry, which then clouds up today even more. There will be good days and not-so-good days—that’s true of life even when we’re not living in pandemic times. We must curb the urge to look too far into the future and focus on doing the best we can with today, reminding ourselves to breathe.
3. Banish negative self-talk
That mental monologue streaming in the back of your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. We tend to forget our thoughts’ impact on our well-being and our actions. Negative self-talk can beat us down, skewing our views, feelings, and responses. While we are often powerless to change the situations around us, we can adjust our mindset to a more positive channel. We can intentionally focus on a positive, encouraging message rather than berating ourselves or dwelling on the negative.
The A.R. Mazzotta team is here for you during these challenging times. Our Career Placement Services can find the best job opportunities for your skillset. Our staffing specialists can assist with your direct hire staffing needs. We’ve got both sides of the hiring equation covered. Give us a call today!