By Lanie Pemberton

The COVID-19 pandemic has raged, ravaged, and ransacked for well over a year, forcing us to rearrange our lives and find new normals.

It’s true, vaccines are giving us a refreshing taste of our old freedoms, but with portions of the global population not yet vaccinated—plus the rise of new strains of the virus—the light at the end of the tunnel is still dim.

Sick Of Staying Safe

It’s taking its toll on all of us. Once eager to mask up, keep my distance, and do my part, now I’m sick and tired of playing it safe. Gatherings (once out of the question) are far more tempting on this side of 2020, as is ditching my mask and hand sanitiser. This isn’t just laziness, but a condition called pandemic fatigue

Pandemic fatigue is the demotivation to keep following health and safety protocols and brings feelings of hopelessness and complacency. It’s a natural, understandable reaction to the continued stress and isolation of the pandemic, but it often results in behaviour that puts both you and others at risk.

Signs You’re Suffering

Psychologists agree on a few common warning signs that pandemic fatigue is setting in. Early recognition is a great way to nip this condition in the bud. You may have pandemic fatigue if:

  • You continually feel tired, even when you’ve gotten enough sleep. Repeatedly hitting that snooze button, reaching for more coffee, or struggling to function during the workday—these are classic signs. 
  • You’re sick of making a social effort and disinterested in keeping up with friends and family because extra precautions make interactions difficult or complicated. Let’s call it “Zoom fatigue”!
  • You feel an overwhelming sense of futility. This may surface in your work, favourite hobby, or family obligations—activities that once gave you a sense of purpose and accomplishment now leave you feeling ineffective.

The good news? There are proven ways to fight pandemic fatigue—and preserve your physical and mental health. Even better news, these tactics don’t have to be chores but fun activities that give life meaning again.

Socialise, Even When You’re Down

I get it—when I’m bummed, I love nothing more than sinking into the couch with only my BFF Netflix for company. But this only makes me feel more alone. Humans are social creatures, hardwired with a need to belong. This is even more true in the midst of a global crisis. 

Just remember, staying social doesn’t mean you can’t stay safe! Organise a virtual trivia night with friends, chat with and challenge gamers across the globe, or commit to a weekly phone date with your grandma (you know she misses you!) And if you’re sick of screens, host a socially-distanced get together at your local park or beach. 

Control What You Can

COVID-19 restrictions are every Type A’s worst nightmare, placing so many aspects of daily life out of our control. So, it’s important to focus on what we can control

  • maintaining a positive attitude 
  • eating healthily 
  • following a fitness routine
  • even keeping the kitchen clean (so fun, right?) 

We can’t dictate when this crisis will end, but we can manage our thoughts and actions while we ride it out.

Prioritise Mental And Physical Health

The loss of our routines and social interactions has made mental healthcare more crucial than ever. This means protecting yourself from stress. Turning off the news periodically and limiting your social media intake are great first steps. 

Exercise and mindfulness are also great stress relievers. Even better, talking to a professional about your pandemic-related struggles can make a huge difference. Most mental health providers now offer telehealth appointments so you can stay well—body and mind.

Don’t Blur The Lines

Work/life balance was important in the “before times”, and it’s just as important now. Working from home has its perks, of course, but it can also mean the days blend together into one never-ending haze. A simple solution is separating your workspace from your “off” space

Take actual breaks instead of eating at your desk, and be sure to close the door when the workday ends. This keeps the line between your professional and personal life nice and clear. And, while we all enjoy “waist-up business casual”, changing out of PJs every morning helps establish a clear routine. 

It’s true; the pandemic isn’t over yet. But positivity, hopefulness, and strategically avoiding pandemic fatigue can make this harrowing time an adventure in its own right. Put the strategies above to good use, and, of course, keep following safety precautions. I know, I know—restrictions are beyond old. But we all want this “unprecedented time” to end once and for all. Doing our part brings us that much closer. Stay healthy, stay safe!