What is COVID-19 fatigue?

It’s been 7 months since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in South Africa and shortly after that, the president announced a 21 days national lockdown. We went from 21 days to months and the virus kept spreading like a wildfire, causing a negative impact on a lot of people’s mental health. This is known as ‘pandemic fatigue’ (in our case COVID-19 fatigue). Read on to find out what this is.

What is COVID-19 fatigue?

The mental effects of COVID-19 can cause fatigue, this is because the virus has made a lot of people go through a roller coaster of emotion and uncertainty. The mental strain of COVID-19 can drain you to the point of exhaustion, when it does, you’ll be said to be suffering from COVID-19 fatigue.

Signs of COVID-19 fatigue

The most common sign of COVID-19 fatigue is mental exhaustion, where your feelings and thoughts are uncontrollable. You may start to feel helpless, sad, get worried, and easily irritable.

These feelings are usually followed by the following change in behaviour:

  • Unusual changes in appetite and sleep pattern
  • Trouble staying focused/paying attention
  • Feelings of uneasiness
  • Acting out
  • Demotivated
  • Anxiety
  • Isolation

How to cope

When dealing with uncertainty it’s important to focus on things that you can control, because worrying yourself about the pandemic will not change the situation or end it sooner. No one knows when life will get back to ‘normal’ but you can try to learn to adjust to the current situation. Here’s how.

Prioritise self-care: When you are stressed, it’s easy to not take care of yourself. More especially now that everything is about the virus. Try and prioritise self-care by being extra kind to yourself, get enough rest, do something you enjoy once in a while and keep your mind busy from thinking about the pandemic.

Boost your mental health: Try and reduce stress and anxiety by engaging in practices that promote mental health, like meditation, yoga, or anything that lifts your mood and makes you happy.

Limit COVID-19 News: Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 news, but limit your news consumption. Watching the news too much can stress you out and cause you to be anxious and mentally exhausted.

Reach out: While social isolation is one of the ways that help stop the spread of COVID-19, it does not mean that you should totally avoid any other form of human interaction. Use online platforms to connect with your friends and loved ones, so that you don’t suffer from loneliness.

Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel: It’s important to educate yourself about the virus because you’ll help fight the spread, but focusing only on the current situation can take a toll on your mental health. Think about the future and what you are looking forward to once all of this is over. Be hopeful that things will get better and start planning for the future.

Pay attention to yourself and how you feel during this time and know that if things get overwhelming for you, you can reach out to SADAG for mental health help. While you may be going through COVID-19 fatigue, it’s important to note that you still need to play your part in reducing the spread of this virus because it’s still out there. Wash your hands, wear your cloth mask (and wash it after every use) and keep social distancing, Choma.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).