The whole world has been dealing with COVID-19 for over a year. And over time, South Africans have moved from a strict lockdown to varying levels of lockdown as each wave of the pandemic has hit us.
With the “new normal” starting to feel like an old fashion trend that should have died out years ago, many of us are feeling the effects of COVID fatigue.
But what is COVID fatigue and how can we combat it?
Our initial reaction to the threat of the coronavirus follows a pattern most animals have when confronted with a new, immediate stress. By that, we can do one of four things:
- Fight – stand strong and resist
- Flight – run away and escape
- Faun – give in and give up
- Freeze – lose all sense of direction and become paralysed
As logical creatures, human beings have a vast capacity to deal with a variety of threats as well as the ability to reason their way through the aftermath. However, that initial response is often aided by a huge dose of cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone our body releases, most especially in times of stress. It heightens our awareness and helps us react to stressful events very quickly and effectively.
However, as time goes by and we become used to the “new normal”, our body adapts, causing this initial reaction to disappear. This, along with the effects of lockdown, can drive people into what is known as burnout, or in this case, COVID fatigue.
What are the symptoms of COVID fatigue?
- Mental and physical tiredness
- General exhaustion
- Inability to complete regular, simple tasks
- Increase in irritability and frustration
- Need to isolate yourself from others
- Increase in anxiety, helplessness or sadness
- Inability to sustain a normal work performance
- Sense of being totally overwhelmed
How can you combat COVID fatigue?
- Keeping talking
Make sure you stay in contact with friends and family and avoid retreating too far into your shell.
- Be mindful and keep thinking clearly
The saying, “it’s darkest before the dawn”, is more true now than ever. With the idea of the vaccine on the horizon, keeping up with the safety practices we’ve been doing for close to 12 months can feel very overwhelming. Try to stay in the moment and be mindful of your situation at all times.
- Turn off the news
There’s a thing as too much news. Try to unplug from social media and other forms of news. Give your mind a break and escape a little.
- Keep moving
Staying active is one of the best things you can do to combat COVID fatigue. Exercise and sunshine release all sorts of endorphins that help lift your mood; try to get outside, especially in summer, and get some exercise.
- Keep up the good habits
As bored as we all are of masks, handwashing and keeping up our social distancing, we simply have to carry on. Try to make these things part of your daily routine and form a habit around them.
One thing to remember: if you’re a GetSavvi Health member and are struggling with your mental health during these difficult times, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0861 18 92 02 to speak to a nurse for professional counselling. We’re here to help.