Stop Pandemic Burnout in its Tracks
We are now more than eight months into the pandemic that has created a “new normal” and often challenging way of life for all of us. Along with the physical repercussions of the virus, job loss and isolation, the pandemic has caused emotional stress, frustration and higher rates of severe mental health concerns.
“Many of us are experiencing fatigue and exhaustion from these challenging times and if we don’t control how we are handling it now, it can turn into a more serious issue, which we call burnout,” said Lisa Dingle, MA, Program Supervisor, Keeping Families Together. “With Covid-19 continuing, and the possibility of things getting more difficult over the winter months, we must all be proactive in helping ourselves manage the new normal that continues to evolve.”
If you are feeling tired, unable to sleep, have poor concentration and are feeling intense sadness and depression, you are likely dealing with pandemic burnout. When you are unable to carry on with your daily living, it is likely that fatigue has begun to set in.
Here are 6 ways you can take some positive steps to avoid pandemic burnout and remain mentally and emotionally healthy during this time:
1. Be realistic in what you want to get accomplished during a day. If you had plans to get through a “to-do” list but don’t seem to be checking off the projects as expected, give yourself a little break. Just because you are at home more than before, does not mean you have to complete a million projects at once. Things will get done in due time.
2. You are probably experiencing an increase in household togetherness, which can feel overwhelming at times. Set some boundaries and create space and time for yourself and each other. This will allow you to better enjoy the moments you spend together while embracing some much needed ‘me time’.
3. Waking up and going to bed at the same time can help you feel better both physically and mentally. Having a routine can help you feel organized and find balance in your day. But don’t worry if you don’t follow it exactly, leave room for spontaneity and flexibility.
4. If you are having a bad day, take a moment to yourself to breathe and try to relax. You will have a better day tomorrow! Identify your favorite comfort items that appeal to your senses, such as hot drinks, soft blankets, scented candles, and foods. Have these items readily available for when you need a quick, comforting break from the daily grind.
5. Staying connected to your circle of family and friends even from afar can prevent feelings of isolation and keep your spirits up. Family and friends know you best and can help you when you are feeling down by making you laugh and/or sharing words of encouragement.
6. Speaking with professional help, such as a therapist, when you feel as though you are unable to function in your everyday tasks can be of great assistance.
“Unfortunately, the effects of Covid-19 are not going away in the immediate future, so we must find ways to cope with the challenges that go with it,” added Dingle. “It is okay to not be okay. Developing self-awareness—by noticing negative thought patterns and increased uncomfortable or overwhelming feelings—is the first step in avoiding burnout.”
If you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk to, clinicians in our Counseling & Wellness Centers can help. Trained clinicians are available to help you or a loved one during this difficult time. Call our main number at 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632) for more information about our counseling and telehealth services.