[0:04] If I say “Covid fatigue,” I bet most of you know exactly what I am talking about. Are there days when you wake up thinking; I am sick of worrying about Covid; I am tired of reminding people to wear their masks; I want to go out and eat and relax; I am tired of worrying about everyone else when many people don’t worry about me. And I could go on. More in just a minute…
[0:50] We are just plain tired, and you know the saying from General George Patton, “fatigue makes cowards of us all.” He was talking about physical fatigue, but I think many of us are suffering from the emotional and psychological fatigue of protecting ourselves from an enemy we can’t see. We are staying in the house, dealing with kids and their education 24-7, and virtually teaching our students who are also suffering from Covid fatigue.
[1:23] There is little doubt that Covid has put us all on edge. Mental well-being is based on having a positive outlook and confidence in the future. Unfortunately, Covid has changed our behavior and created a new normal. Couple that with changing timelines about when we will be past the pandemic and it creates a lot of emotional stress. So much of what we read in the media is about what we can’t do, and it makes us feel like life will never be the same again. How our communities are reacting is supported by research on how catastrophes are handled. The first stage is that everyone pulls together and there is a lot of bonding and support for others. As things go on over time, this pulling toward a common goal is fractured by our personal difficulties and stress. Citizens lose their optimism and begin to wonder when it will be over and how long they have to endure. Some even begin to decide, “I am going to live my life as I want to, regardless of the impact on others.”
[2:40] Many believed that the peak of the pandemic was over in August but here it is again at even higher levels. Like everything else in life, those who are able to use their coping skills will avoid the pitfall of Covid fatigue. You have all heard of the best ways to cope but let me remind you of what they are. And even if you know the coping behaviors, if you don’t practice them, they are not going to work.
- Exercise – It is clear that exercise is the best way of coping with any form of stress. Activity releases endorphins and gets you focused on other positive issues. Walking outdoors each day for a short time will help you see that nature is alive and well and we need to get in step with it.
- Discuss your frustration with Covid and flush it out with a friend or colleague. As with all emotional issues, if you don’t talk about it, it becomes too big to contain internally. The result is that you spray your high emotion and frustration on others.
- Be mindful. Take a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of life and think about the moment, the hour, and the day. Live life one day at a time. If you only had one day of life left, would you waste it being angry about Covid.
- Be grateful. Concentrate on what you have rather than what you don’t have. Life itself is a gift. Appreciate it. Let important others know how grateful you are that they are in your life.
[4:29] If you don’t take time to practice your coping skills, Covid will start to win the battle. We teachers work in a field where practice is everything. Each day, take a few minutes to exercise, be mindful and grateful and tell others how you are coping. It will make a difference on your level of Covid fatigue and improve your quality of life.