How many of us have grown weary of being stuck at home, isolated, tired of feeling stressed, and wish we could just do away with our masks? Across the country, COVID-19 fatigue is turning into an endless emotional challenge for too many. And the danger, experts say, is in the number of individuals willing to do just that: throw caution to the wind and ignore public health measures aimed at slowing or preventing COVID-19 spread. Indeed, failure to wear masks and comply with social-distancing guidelines has caused a resurgence in COVID-19 cases around the country.
Last Spring, most of us were anticipating this would all be over within a matter of months. But COVID-19 has not given up. And the longer this pandemic goes on, the more we struggle to adhere to the safety guidelines and protocols.
Reducing COVID Fatigue
The stress and uncertainty of COVID fatigue present both physical and mental health challenges. How we respond is made more difficult when avenues we would normally take are closed, such as getting out, socializing with others, going to the gym, concerts, sporting and other events. For many, isolation can lead to frustration, anger, and fear. Too many are willing to take chances and have adopted a “Don’t care if I get it” attitude, where taking the risk becomes worth it. While COVID-19 vaccines have now been approved, distribution for all is many months away. Yet, we are seeing an alarming rise in cases daily, all the more reasons why this should be a wake-up call for all of us.
Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, expressed concern over “COVID fatigue,” combined with the flu season and more people spending time indoors during fall and winter months, will continue a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Dr. Gregory Poland Discussing ‘COVID Fatigue.’
Top Tips to Curb COVID Fatigue
Our clinical collaborators at Mayo Clinic share some recommendations for things we can do to mentally prepare for the months ahead which may help curb COVID fatigue:
- Stay physically distant, not socially distant – Use technology to connect with loved ones. A regular check-in with family or friends gives you something to look forward to and provides the mental and emotional support you need.
- Evaluate how much and what type of news you consume – While it’s important to stay informed of what’s going on in the world it’s also important to be mindful about the type of news and how it affects your mood. If it makes you anxious or invokes feelings of fear or sadness it might be a good idea to turn it off and take a break.
- Learn a new relaxation exercise – There are many different types of relaxation exercises which may help you to relax and combat symptoms of anxiety. Talk with your healthcare provider for recommendations.
- Find ways to give back to your community – Look for ways to help such as blood or plasma donations, check on elderly neighbors, donate supplies and/or money.
- Reach out for help. If feelings of stress and anxiety become overwhelming, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend, a family member, or your health care provider to help you find solutions as we navigate our way through winter with COVID-19 in our communities.
For more information and the latest updates on COVID-19, please visit altru.org/coronavirus.
Please note that due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, guidelines and recommendations included in this blog may change over time and could vary from the original date of publication. For the latest news and updates related to COVID-19, please visit altru.org.
Some of the content of this blog is courtesy of Mayo Clinic, the No. 1 hospital in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Altru Health System is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This relationship provides us with access to information, knowledge, and expertise from Mayo Clinic.