Since early in 2020, we have been in the midst of one of the largest and most long-lasting global pandemics in recent history. The COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, pandemic has led to great mental health challenges as we navigate lockdowns, public health crises, stress of job loss, and worry about the physical impacts of the COVID-19 virus. As we enter almost a year of COVID-19 cases happening worldwide, a third surge of viruses in the U.S., and we see a growing number of hospitalizations, a real phenomenon is starting to set in called COVID Fatigue.
What is COVID Fatigue?
As we have been inundated in the news, by health experts, and in normal conversation about COVID-19, and as we live through the very real impacts of this infectious disease on our well-being, we have taken many precautions to protect our family members, our loved ones, and those in our community. Mask wearing, lockdowns, and social distancing have become the new norm in 2020 to limit the spread of COVID-19. However, as new cases continue to rise despite these undertakings, our mental health can suffer. COVID fatigue represents two things – (1) an acclimatization to the presence of the coronavirus, and feeling that the compromises made in participating in activities as usual is not as risky as it once was perceived to be, and (2) general impacts to mental health such as depression, anxiety, and stress. COVID fatigue is largely caused by our bodies being continuously subjected to a stress response (the fight-or-flight response which is when our bodies prepare to fight a threat or evade a threat) which is an excellent way to survive when faced with a threat, but when that threat has persisted for nearly a year, the body’s ability to continuously respond in that manner grows thin. Stressors are generally not meant to be long-term or permanent, and with COVID-19, we are not getting the break we need.
How to Combat COVID Fatigue?
With the promising outlook of coronavirus vaccines on the horizon, and newer and more effective modalities and treatments, there is hope that the pandemic will have an end. However, this makes it even more important to resist capitulating to the virus. Some coping strategies include exercising to release stress and also keep mental health in check, practice mindfulness techniques and strategies, express and process your emotions with a therapist, reduce how much news you are watching that is covering the virus, maintain adherence to public health measures, and practice physical distancing from, others, but remain socially close through virtual meetings, online groups, phone calls with family and loved ones.
The Granato Group offers virtual therapy sessions that can help you to work through the stress and worry that may be exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while avoiding in-person meetings with therapists. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists.