Dealing with Pandemic Fatigue

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all way more than most of us ever imagined. Over a year since the initial lockdown, and with a vaccine finally available, we are getting a glimpse of a somewhat normal life again. However, many things are still a reality, like mask-wearing and smaller gatherings of people. It has been a tough adjustment, even for introverts! We’re all tired. The real question is, how can you deal with the fatigue that has been growing since March 2020?

What exactly is “pandemic fatigue?”

After a few months of the pandemic, people started to get tired of being cooped up. Even with restrictions lifting, we are tired of wearing masks, physical distancing, being away from family and friends, and “new normal” routines. Most of us, even if we’ve done our best to stay home, limit contact, and keep ourselves and loved ones safe, are exhausted. We just want things to go back to the way they were before COVID was even on our radars.

Here are some tips for taking care of your mental health and coping with this stress and exhaustion.

  • Breath and meditate.
  • Limit your social media intake.
    • Doomscrolling is the practice of scrolling through social media and the news while looking at bad current events and developments. This practice can reinforce negative thoughts and sometimes impact your overall mental health. You can fight this effect by limiting your social intake and giving yourself boundaries for your own good. It’s hard not to mindlessly scroll and will likely take practice, but it’s possible! Not sure where to start? Try setting aside 20 minutes to read before bed, deleting apps that stress you out, or installing an app like AppBlock for Android, Moment for iPhones, and StayFocusd for your computer that limit your social media and other app usage. It’s easy to feel like the bad news is never ending, but you can give yourself a healthy intake when you set boundaries for yourself.
  • Restore your energy.
    • Dealing with the stress of the pandemic, especially this far in, is exhausting. You have to remember to take your mask with you, you may not have seen at-risk family members and friends in a long time, and you probably haven’t done some things you’ve wanted to in a year, like go to the movies or fly on an airplane. That is why it is essential to set aside time to help you recuperate.  Why not take a bath or spend time in the sun? Here are some other quick ways to help yourself feel more awake and ready to face your day. With more restrictions lifting, maybe it’s time for a vacation somewhere sunny if you’re fully vaccinated!
  • Get exercise.
    • Everyone needs movement, and even if you only have a few free minutes in your day, you should try to move around. Stretch at your desk, take a walk around the block, or even moving about your apartment can be helpful. Exercise can have immediate and long-term benefits for your physical and mental health. Most importantly in this case, it can improve your mood and combat pandemic fatigue. It can be easy to let this good practice fall away when you’re busy or have other priorities, but it’s incredibly important. Many gyms are starting to open again- renew that membership and take a buddy! You’ll motivate each other.
  • Make connections.
    • We, as humans, are social by nature. While you should still limit in-person interactions, especially if you or someone else isn’t fully vaccinated, there are other options. If you and the person/people you want to spend time with are fully-vaccinated, you shouldn’t have to worry. Be sure to learn what the CDC is saying before you make plans!
      • Meet at a park or somewhere outdoors
      • Continue to check on friends
      • Chat on social media
      • Write letters
      • Take part in webinars or online classes on things that interest you
      • Attend online community or religious services
      • Book that flight to see people you’ve missed once you’re vaccinated
  • Practice gratitude and positive self-talk.
    • Positive self-talk is something that can be highly difficult. We all have our self-doubts and struggles. So how do you put this into practice?
      • Identify negative self-talk is the first step to flipping your mindset in the right direction
      • Start with little things to identify that you enjoy about yourself. Your eyes? Your smile? Even one tiny detail like a finger.
      • Use affirmations: leave yourself notes and reminders such as “I am enough” and “I am loved”
      • Check in with yourself and remind yourself that you deserve patience from yourself and others
  • Create new traditions.
    • With things like holidays being spent differently than normal, it’s important to still celebrate. You can create new traditions for yourself or your family. Here are some ideas:
      • Set aside one night a month for at-home spa days
      • Dedicate a movie night
      • Tell stories
      • Build a bonfire on a specific day each year
  • Show compassion.
  • Create a self-care plan.
    • We all need a little TLC. Creating a plan can help you stick to taking care of your needs. Write yourself reminders or put them in your planner. If you write it down, you’re less likely to forget and more likely to actually do it. Take the time to sit down and define your needs: do you need so many hours of zoning out playing video games or watching TV/movies? What about time for pampering your skin? Or time outside? Even if you make a note to take a bath later or just take a nap, it’s essential to make time for yourself.
  • Rest and acknowledge what you need.
    • Give yourself time to recover and consider what you might need. Do some reflecting. We all need different things, and if you need TV time while your partner needs to read, you can both do your separate activities. You need to advocate for yourself. Even if you’re finding yourself tired of Zoom calls with friends or you just aren’t feeling up to the plans you’ve made, there is always the option of saying no. Many of us have gotten used to not socializing much, so if your social battery isn’t what it used to be, that is perfectly OK too!

While we are close to the finish line, pandemic fatigue has affected us all, and it’s good to avoid pandemic burnout. Use the steps listed above to build better habits and recharge. Bright days are ahead!

As always, if you have any questions about your plan, services, or benefits, please reach out to the Friday Care Crew at our contact page


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