When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it was widely believed that it would be over in a few months and life would get back to normal. That’s not been the case, of course. The pandemic has dragged on, with countless ups and downs along the way. As a result, many people are experiencing high levels of stress and frustration.
That’s understandable. Nobody likes feeling as though life’s in a holding pattern with no clear timeline for when our “new normal” will stabilize or a picture of exactly what it’ll look like. But the best way to deal with frustration is to take action.
Great Ways to Fight COVID-19 Fatigue
Being proactive feels much better than sitting back and waiting for things to change. Below are 10 things you can do to reassert some control over your circumstances.
- Work on being “in the moment” as much as possible. Wondering what the future holds is a major source of pandemic stress. But, of course, it’s hard not to think about what may be ahead. Mindfulness is the concept of immersing yourself in the sensations of the present moment, meaning what you’re seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting, and experiencing in general. The value of mindfulness — in addition to developing a greater appreciation for the world around you — is that any time spent focusing on, for example, the simple act of washing your hands is time you don’t spend worrying about the future.
- Stop comparing today to the past. It may be true that your life was better in some ways before the pandemic began, but continually analyzing the different ways it was better or the degree to which it was better is self-defeating. When you find yourself making this type of comparison, turn your attention to something else. You may have to do that many times a day, but with practice, you can train yourself not to dwell on the past.
- Move forward where you can. You might not yet be able to pursue activities you used to enjoy, like vacation travel, but you can keep your life moving forward by trying some new activities or starting a new hobby.
- Express and work through your emotions. Regularly sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or a counselor is much better than keeping them bottled up inside. No, you don’t want to dwell on your frustrations, but getting them out into the open periodically can help lower your stress level.
- Find ways to stay connected. It may be that you and your circle of friends and family aren’t ready to resume the parties and social gatherings that used to help you feel a sense of community. But there are other ways to stay in touch, like video calls. They aren’t the same as being in the room with someone but they’re convenient and can be very comforting.
- Take a break from social media. There certainly are positive aspects to social media, but most users are also familiar with “doomscrolling” or the absorbing of excessive negative news from your feeds. Set some parameters on when and for how long you’ll allow yourself to focus on social media. And if you’re within your “window” but you start feeling overwhelmed or angry, put your device away immediately and turn your attention to something that lifts your spirits.
- Get more exercise. This can be a vigorous workout or simply a stroll around the block. But movement is good for both your body and mind. Consider connecting this suggestion with the one on mindfulness above. Try walking in a fully mindful state — focusing on the sights, sounds, etc. all around you and not the thoughts in your head.
- Start or continue a prayer or meditation practice. These activities can not only soothe your mind, but they can also create positive physiological changes, giving you a sense of calm and focus that your life may be lacking.
- Have a laugh. Laughing causes your body to release endorphins that help reduce stress hormones like cortisol. It’s more challenging to appreciate humor when you’re stressed or frustrated, but you might find yourself able to laugh if you spend some time watching funny TV shows, movies, or your favorite comedian.
- Talk with your doctor. There’s much you can do on your own to fight pandemic stress and frustration. But don’t think you have to do it all on your own. If you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders, your doctor can help. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
These Times Are Tough. Help Is Available from Baptist Health!
From psychological counseling to guidance on starting a stress-reducing exercise program, Baptist Health providers are here for you! If you don’t yet have a doctor, you can find one using our provider directory.
Next Steps and Useful Resources