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How we can help manage covid fatigue?

The past 8 months have taken its toll on every one of us and the longer the pandemic continues the more it is impacting on us. The feelings that we are currently experiencing are more recently being referred to as ‘covid-fatigue’ which is a way of describing the ongoing stresses that we are facing along with the continued uncertainty of when life will return to any form of normal.

As humans we can often find change very challenging to deal with but when change or stressful incidents become long lasting this can lead to long term stress and anxiety and that feeling that we cannot continue. Other signs and symptoms of covid fatigue may include having trouble sleeping, low energy levels, finding it difficult to get motivated or feeling sad or overwhelmed.

As we go into the next few months with still no prospects of our current situation changing anytime soon; here are some of our thoughts to help you through:

Focus on what you can control - writing down everything that is worrying you or causing your stress and anxiety and identifying which you can control and which you can’t. For those areas you cannot control, accept that these may still be areas of worry but try to channel and focus you energy into areas that you can control and have some influence over.

Stick to a routine - routine and predictability can really help up to overcome change and stressful situations as they create stability. Think about small ways in which you can create a routine each day such as when you get up and go to bed, when you eat your meals and having dedicated time to spend with family or for yourself.

Schedule time for self care - self care is all about understanding our own needs, caring for ourselves and taking time to recharge our batteries. Try to schedule in time on a regular basis for something you enjoy or that makes you feel good or even just to have a moment for yourself.

Take each day at a time - try not to look too far into the future, recognise that there will be good days and days that aren’t so good and that getting through each day right now is an achievement. Remember that nothing lasts forever and that at some point we will have come through this difficult time in our lives.

Remember your feelings are normal - it is completely natural to feel angry, upset, frustrated or fed up with the current situation. Everyone is struggling right now and it is totally normal to have these feelings which are a natural reaction to uncertainty, change and stress.

Practise gratitude - there is lots of talk currently about demonstrating gratitude; acknowledging what is still positive in our life or what has been good during our day can help to give us a more positive outlook. So spend some time at the end of each day or week to think about or write down what you are still grateful for, what has gone well or what you are proud of.

Focus on your physical health - when you body is healthy, you are more likely to be able to handle additional stress, so build into your everyday routine to eat nutritiously, take regular exercise, try to get enough sleep and limit alcohol consumption.

Limit exposure to the news - continuously watching the news can make us feel even more anxious, often there is an exaggerated impression of the current situation or a particularly negative slant which can make us feel more stressed and worried. Try to limit the amount of times you listen to, read or watch the news and spend this time reading or watching something more positive.

Adjust expectations - as we are all experiencing times we have never faced before we need to reduce our expectations of what we can achieve, focus on what is most important and take the pressure of ourselves to be doing what we might have done prior to the pandemic.

This is a difficult time for everyone and we will all have our different ways of coping, however we are all in this together and we will all come through this with greater strength, clarity on who we are and what is most important to us and what long term changes we may want to make to our lives as a result of the experiences we have been through.

Gemma Carter-Morris, Director of Wellbeing, Next Steps Consulting

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