By Nanci Dixon
Fighting off “COVID fatigue?” You’re not alone. Lots of people are feeling COVID fatigue lately, and we don’t mean fatigue from being infected. It’s exhausting going to the store with masks, and sometimes gloves, on. Remembering to wash our hands and apply hand sanitizer every ten minutes. Having to schedule get-togethers 6+ feet apart, or learning how to download and use Zoom. Reading and watching the news obsessively… When will this all be over?! Here are some tips to fight “COVID fatigue.”
COVID-19 is certainly considered a stressor in our daily lives. There are four responses to a stressor: “Fight (resist the threat), flight (evade the threat), freeze (be paralyzed in the face of the threat) or faun (give in to the threat),” wrote Nicole Yarmolkevich, MS, LPC, a behavioral therapist with AMITA health. Stressors are not supposed to be long-term or permanent. But I think we can all agree – the stress of COVID has gone on way too long.
As an RVer, I am hoping we can evade the threat, take flight and stay reasonably isolated in our RV. My husband and I are preventing COVID by wearing our masks, disinfecting everything, washing our hands, and social distancing. I will admit there have been a few times that I have thought about just giving in to the threat. Abandon all measures, give in, maybe get COVID/maybe not and hopefully not die. Decided that was not the most responsible option, and I would go back to the fight and flight response.
Paul Thagard, Ph.D., wrote in Psychology Today that COVID-19 fatigue is a complex combination of emotions that include “boredom, loneliness, sadness, frustration, anxiety, fear, anger and resentment, all brought on by the loss of activities and social relations produced by pandemic restrictions.”
But how, then, do you continue to drag on through what seems to be unending case numbers, deaths, new restrictions, daily news reports, and once again Walmart being out of toilet paper?
The fatigue from dealing with COVID can put you and others in harm’s way. Here are a few tips to help fight COVID fatigue:
Plan a trip!
Plan your next RV trip! According to a 2014 study conducted by Cornell University, planning a trip makes you just as happy as actually going on the trip. So heck, get to planning! Even if the dates are a bit fuzzy the destination doesn’t need to be. Dream of a time after the pandemic. Start now to get the campsites you want.
Walk, ride a bike, run, stay active, exercise at home. Relaxing and exercising releases endorphins, the happy hormone.
Talk to one another! Spend a few hours by the campfire with your partner or a friend, or call a friend or family member while you’re cooking dinner. Another great way to communicate? Journal!
Have a routine
If your old routine is gone or on pause, create a new one! Make a plan and stick to it. It will help you feel anchored rather than so adrift.
This goes with “communicate” above but this time, connect virtually! Utilize Zoom, FaceTime, texting, Facebook… anything that will you help you feel connected with friends and family.
Put risks into perspective
Avoid doing something that brings you pleasure now but disregards the risk it brings in the future. My sister clearly stated: “We don’t get together this year so we will have years together in the future.”
Limit the news
Stay up to date on the news but don’t obsess. Find several credible news and medical news sources so you are confident in the information.
Laughter may be the best medicine after all. Find some humor, something that provides a smile or chuckle. Do this every day and don’t forget. A comedy could be a better choice than a gory murder flick right now.
Thankfully, 2020 will be over soon and hopefully COVID will be leaving shortly after. Until then, I think I will take a walk, turn off the news and connect with family. Or find a really funny movie on Netflix. Better yet, I’m going to start planning our hopefully COVID-free RVing summer.