What is pandemic fatigue?

Living through a pandemic can take its toll on our physical and mental well-being. As the weeks go by under lockdown, many of us have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings, from sadness to anger to tiredness. This is known as ‘pandemic fatigue’. Here’s all you need to know about it.

What is pandemic fatigue?

Pandemic fatigue is the exhaustion you may be feeling after spending over a year dealing with our new life and all the struggles that come with it. You may have lost loved ones, jobs, missed out on experiences and life milestones, like graduations, weddings, and funerals.

You may feel cooped up or cut off from your usual hobbies. You may even be tired of the safety protocols that take extra time. You may also be missing family and friends that you haven’t been able to visit due to the lockdown. All these feelings contribute to pandemic fatigue.

How to overcome pandemic fatigue:

Reflect and accept

Take time to check in with yourself and reflect on how you’re doing. If you feel irritated, impatient, angry, or are suffering from fatigue, accept that all these responses are normal and understandable during such a difficult time.

Monitor your social media

Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media can help reduce feelings of tiredness. Purposely tuning in to negative stories on TV or on social media fuels fear, uncertainty, anxiety, and fatigue.

Be compassionate with yourself

Don’t expect perfection and don’t get stuck in mistakes or missed chances. Nobody prepared us for the pandemic. We’re all taking it one day at a time, and it’s completely fine if you don’t have all the answers or always know what to do.

Prioritise self care

Since we’re spending most of our days at home due to the lockdown, it’s important to make sure we take care of our physical and mental health. You can do this through exercise and active self-care, as well as staying connected with friends virtually and online. As a wise person said, we isolate now so that no one is missing when we get together.

You can read more about exercise and mental health here.

We’re living through a period of increased anxiety over our health, vulnerable loved ones, finances and job security. With the future looking uncertain and the public instructed to stay at home, many of us are feeling isolated and stressed. If you’re finding it difficult to cope with anxiety, you can call the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837 or 0800 456 789 for assistance or reach out to me.

Pandemic fatigue is real, and the way it affects you may not be the same for a friend or family member. Although it seems hard, we need to find a way to respect these new boundaries, but still live the version of life we’re used to.

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