Battling COVID Fatigue: Psychologists Suggest Ways to be Mentally Aware

Posted at 9:07 AM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 09:07:04-04

LANSING, Mich. — If you've been feeling down about where we're headed with the pandemic, you're not alone. Millions of people are experiencing COVID fatigue. Dan Grossman explains how the war against an invisible enemy is also a war against exhaustion.

Is anyone tired?

Tired of the lack of normalcy, the closed public spaces, frankly turning on news programs and hearing we’re trending in the wrong direction with this pandemic?

COVID fatigue is a real thing- and it’s literally affecting billions of people around the world

“It’s a very uncomfortable experience for us as human beings to not have a plan, and not know how is this going to turn out- when is it going to end?”

Kaye Hermanson is a clinical psychologist at UC Davis Health and compares it to climbing a mountain. You’re going up and just when you think you’ve hit the peak you realize it’s a false summit and see this daunting hill in front of you.

That sinking feeling knowing you’ve done so much yet still have so much longer to go? That’s what Hermanson says this second spike in numbers can feel like

We’re actually hoping for the absence of something. Not getting sick isn’t quite as reinforcing as something that happens where we’re like oh, ok I did this behavior and it resulted in this good outcome."

“It’s internal where you feel like you’ve got these sandbags on your shoulders and you can’t take another step.”

Bob Ciampi is a licensed clinical social worker and says the feeling is something a lot of us are familiar with--burnout- the same kind you might feel at work, or at home when you’re a bit overwhelmed.

What makes it worse is many of the things we usually do to alleviate that stress - we don’t have access to. So it begs the question what can we do?

“The things that we need to do are be aware of our thinking. To say I’ll control what I can control. I’ll take it a minute at a time”

“Some people call that bite sized pieces.”

Ciampi and Hermanson say the idea is to make things more manageable, so instead of looking at the daunting whole you’re looking at more attainable parts. Small victories that can help give that reinforcement this situation can lack

“It can be a little bit of learned helplessness which is the idea that in certain circumstances where we feel like nothing we do is good enough- nothing that we do keeps back things from happening and so we kind of give up.”

Another thing they suggest is adjusting your mindset. Hermanson says the simple knowledge that millions of other people feel just like us can be empowering and help push us through.

Outside of productive tasks like exercise or hobbies. Experts say seeing a therapist can be helpful. They can help guide your frame of mind to overcome burnout

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