Who here is tired of COVID-19?
Yeah, me, too.
I think it’s safe to say that all of us are. And though restrictions are starting to ease in some locations, it looks like the virus is going to be here for a quite some time.
If you’re like me, you probably already feel like COVID-19 has been around forever. March and April seemed like they were decades long, and May promises to be about the same.
The impact of the virus on each of us can not be overstated. Want to get together with friends? Forget about it. Go to a restaurant? Not happening. Need groceries? Better put on your mask and bring some hand sanitizer. There’s uncertainty over jobs, finances, and the future, in general. Even the 20/21 ski season is up for grabs. No one knows for sure what the coming season will bring, provided there even is a ski season next year.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty stressed about the whole thing. Yet our health and well being — and the health and well being of others — requires us to pay attention All. The. Time. I’m not going to debate the merits of whether or not we should wear masks or continue social distancing (spoiler alert: I’m in favor of both). But vigilance is critical. And that, to be honest, has me pretty worn out.
So what can we do if we’re suffering from COVID fatigue? Is there anything we can do to deal with it?
Surprisingly, there is. Here are some ideas:
As important as it is to stay informed, there is such a thing as too much. So step away from the internet, take a pass on the 24/7 coverage. Our psyche requires a break, and the incessant drumbeat of COVID coverage can take a toll on our emotional well being. Give yourself a mental holiday for a day or so. You deserve it.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: meditation can do a lot to reduce stress and help you feel calmer about the world at large. I started meditating nearly 4-1/2 years ago, and I find that I enjoy the quiet space it creates for me each day. I also think it provides me with the tools I need to see things a bit differently, too. And in today’s world, that’s important.
Accept that there are things you can’t control.
There are lots of things we can’t do anything about, and worrying about them won’t cause them to change. What we can control, however, is the way we react. Take your hair, for example,. Obviously, it’s going to continue to grow — there’s nothing you can do about it. And yes, hair salons are closed — again, out of our control. You can accept this and deal with it as it is, or you can take things into our own hands and cut it yourself. The key is to remain flexible and not get rattled when things don’t go the way you’d like.
Flour is in short supply here in Vermont, and there’s a very good reason: people are baking. After all, there’s nothing more comforting than chocolate chip cookies just warm from the oven, or a hot apple pie you made yourself. Sometimes there are things that just make you feel good deep down in your soul. So whether it’s baking up a storm, binge watching HGTV, or taking a nap on the sofa, do something for yourself that makes you feel good. It’s okay to eat the cookies (once in a while).
Maintain social connections.
Friends make everything better. And during this time when we’re particularly isolated, it’s more important than ever to seek social interaction. Some of us from TheSkiDiva forum have been having a virtual happy hour on Zoom once a week, and I’ve been getting together with other friends that way, too. Is it as good as seeing one another in person? No. But it makes you feel like you’re a little less alone.
One of the best ways to combat burn-out is to give back to the community. Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment that can help you feel better about the world at large . So whether it’s sewing masks for friends or people on the front line, or just checking in with neighbors to make sure they’re okay. take time to do something for someone else. It’s good for them, and it’s good for you, too.
Studies show that exercise can have a huge effect on our emotional well being and our ability to handle stress. What’s more, it’s a great distractor. Look at it this way: There are lots of things you can’t do right now. Here’s something you can do that can affect you in a positive way and keep you from dwelling on the bad stuff that’s going on. Sure, you can’t get to the gym, but there are plenty of other options out there. I’ve been doing online fitness classes — there are plenty of them around — and they’re great.
Reminding yourself of the things you have to be thankful for is a good way to take your mind off the negative that’s swirling around us. If you and your loved ones are healthy, there’s that. If you have a job, another plus. Knowing that there are people on the front lines taking care of those in need — yes, indeed. Gratitude helps us connect to something larger than ourselves — whether it’s other people, nature, or a higher power. And that can go a long way in lifting our spirits.