Do you find yourself feeling irritable and anxious as of late? Experiencing lethargy and low-quality sleep? Exhausted and burnt out? Jaded and cynical towards life in general?

You may have pandemic fatigue.

Pandemic fatigue can be defined as “a feeling of exhaustion from the changes that the pandemic has brought about, as well as feeling a sense of dread and irritation with the constant news of the pandemic”. Although we have lived under the shadow of COVID-19 for more than a year, having adapted to the “new normal” (that is no longer new), the pandemic has certainly taken a toll on our mental health and wellbeing.

As someone who is no stranger to pandemic fatigue, I too find it hard to stay positive amidst these uncertain times.  Experiencing fluctuating emotions that arise as a result of the heightened tensions and constant change is not fun.

Regardless, we must try our best to pull through. Here are some tips that may help to alleviate the effects of pandemic fatigue.

Acknowledge and accept your feelings

person sitting on a couch with head in his hands

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Take as much time as you need to check in on yourself and reflect on your feelings towards the current situation. Be it anxiety, fatigue, anger, or frustration, all these emotions you’re experiencing are completely valid and understandable. Don’t be too harsh on yourself; it’s normal to not be at your best during these troubled times.

Give creative mediums like journaling, art, or photography a try, as they can serve as useful forms of self-expression. Speaking to a family member, friend, or even a therapist can also help you work through your feelings in a healthy and rational way. Remember, it is okay to not be okay.

Limit your screen time

person using laptop

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For many of us, social media is the go-to for updates on the rapidly evolving situation. However, we tend to find ourselves doomscrolling, or excessively consuming negative online news. Although it is important to be kept up to date, these unhealthy social media habits often generate anxiety and paranoia. How can one expect to maintain a positive mindset in the face of doom and gloom?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s best to limit your screen time and take a much-needed break from social media. Spending time reading pointless comments on Facebook will not do you any good. Instead, why not pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read since forever?

Switch up your routine

people in masks walking along street

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Staying home has its perks, but the rigidity of a fixed routine may eventually get to you. For example, spending both work and leisure time in the same space with the same people can result in a lack of privacy and alone time. In this case, setting boundaries and finding “me time” to work on individual interests will be beneficial.

If you’re dealing with isolation and loneliness, ensure regular communication with friends and family. Taking online classes is also a good way to network and foster social connections.

It’s not about making drastic changes to your routine. You may simply want to take a break from homecooked meals by ordering delivery from your favourite restaurant, or going cycling instead of jogging. A change of scenery, no matter how subtle, helps.

Prioritise self-care

person sipping from a mug at a desk

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One cannot deny that self-care and mental wellness go hand in hand. Why not keep pandemic fatigue at bay by embarking on a form of self-care that works best for you?

Go on a hike or a long walk by the beach. Sign up for an outdoor spin class. Pack a picnic basket and a set of art supplies. Attend a virtual play. Tackle a complicated bread recipe. Get a tarot reading. Go for a staycation with a partner, friend, or even by yourself.

The options are endless. If you have yet to find an activity that allows you to replenish and recharge, what are you waiting for? Your mind and body will thank you for it.

Feature image from Unsplash