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Diagnosis: Pandemic Fatigue

The Effects of COVID-19 and How to Manage

written by Liz Matheis, Ph.D November 15, 2021
Diagnosis: Pandemic Fatigue

I am so tired of thinking about COVID-19. I’m tired of having to think about masks, disinfecting, and all the consideration that goes into making decisions about things that were effortless.

A great many of us are anxious, sad, and feeling exhausted. There is no end in sight. We don’t know when life will return to “normal” or if life after the pandemic will ever return to “normal.”

We are sick and tired of being sick and tired over COVID-19. We want an end in sight. But there isn’t one. So, how do we continue to manage through this pandemic as we are slowly but surely approaching the one-year anniversary of when our lives changed so drastically?

As parents, we are parenting a lot and have taken on playing the additional role of teacher and principal. Our children are overwhelmed by the number of assignments and the number of steps that are needed to complete these assignments virtually. We feel isolated, sad over all of the events, milestones, and life that we have missed over the last 10 months.

Control What You Can Control & Let Go of the Rest

Although it feels like so much is out of our control, there are still many parts of our lives that we can still dictate. We still can decide:

  • What time to go to bed
  • What time to wake up
  • The meal you want to prepare or order in
  • The times that you want to eat your meals
  • Which show or movie to watch
  • When to food shop or purchase other household or personal items
  • When to call, meet, or video call with a friend or family member
  • Which clothes to wear

Many of those basic choices are still yours. Try to shift your focus from what you can control to what you cannot control. And be forgiving of yourself. Don’t put yourself down if you’ve gained a few pounds, haven’t exercised as much as you did pre-pandemic, or have been drinking more wine than you normally would. You are coping and managing, and as long as you are not doing any of these things in excess, you are okay.

Take Care of Yourself

How many times have you heard “you need to take care of yourself?” I’ve been hearing that a great deal and recommend it to many of the families with whom I work. Initially, this recommendation sounded vague and trite. As the pandemic months have passed on, I’ve come to really understand what that means.

  • Exercise
  • Disconnect from your computer and phone for periods of time each day
  • Meditate or pray
  • Connect with friends and family on a regular basis
  • Choose foods that give you energy and nourishment
  • Drink water
  • Limit caffeine
  • Take your vitamins
  • Read a book or listen to a book
  • Leave your house at least one time per day

Get Your Kids Involved

The number of household tasks there are now are so many more than they have ever been. Do not attempt to take it all on by yourself. Divide responsibilities in the house and get everyone involved. You may choose to pay your children or offer them privileges. That part is up to you.

Divide and conquer:
  • Dinner planning and prepping (each family member can take a night, as appropriate for your child’s age)
  • Laundry
  • Cleaning bathrooms
  • Vacuuming
  • Taking out the garbage and/or recycling
  • Emptying the dishwasher
  • Feeding pets
  • Taking the dog out for a walk (if you have one!)
  • Making beds

We are all feeling the effects of this pandemic as we are nearing the one-year mark. We are all in this together.

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