Do You Have Pandemic Fatigue?
By Kathy Ferguson, RN, Parish Nurse
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Well, it’s been seven months—seven months!—since the stay at home order was put in place in Minnesota. This is getting old, right? You might be thinking—“I don’t think that it would hurt to go to our family reunion. I will be careful.” The next thing you know you are there and there is no social distancing and not everyone is wearing a mask and you decide that maybe you don’t have to social distance or wear your mask either. After all, it’s been seven months! Then one week later comes the dreaded call—a couple people from the reunion have been diagnosed with COVID-19 infection.
Many of us have begun to experience pandemic fatigue. It’s a real feeling of exhaustion stemming from the effects of COVID-19 on your life — social isolation, fear of getting ill, losing jobs, child care difficulties, distance learning. The main symptom of pandemic fatigue is a sense of inner weariness. You may notice that you are eating or sleeping less or more than usual, irritable, withdrawing from others, having trouble focusing. The other thing that you may notice is that you are tired of all the precautions you have been taking the last few months and want to say “enough of all this social distancing and mask-wearing, I am going to rebel and not wear a mask today.” The problem with this is that many people are now saying this same thing and are not as cautious as before. Some experts believe that pandemic fatigue is contributing to the rise in cases of COVID-19 across the country.
What can you do about pandemic fatigue?
Take good care of yourself: body, mind, and spirit
Take a break from the news and social media
Lower your stress—read a book, meditate, do yoga, take a walk in nature (my personal favorite)
Stay connected with family and friends—by phone, e-mail, text, or in-person with proper distancing
Read daily devotions and pray
Please remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. As I write this, there has been a surge in cases locally, state-wide, and in neighboring states. Now is not the time to let our guard down. Continue to practice the safety precautions that have been put in place by the Minnesota Department of Health wherever you go:
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently
Stay home when sick
Cover your cough/sneeze
Wear your mask whenever you are in public
Social/Physical distance—at the grocery store, at church, at health care appointments…everywhere!
And finally…try to keep a positive attitude and take care of yourself. There is hope for a vaccine to be available for all in the next few months. Although we may never get back to “normal” (I don’t really even remember what “normal” is), there will come a time when COVID-19 no longer dictates everything we do.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12