by Meg Tenny, LCMFT

November 3rd 2020

2020 has been an interesting year. Many momentous things have occurred, resulting in a piling up of stressors. Have you settled into the “new normal” after nine months of dealing with COVID-19? Preliminary studies are showing that depression and anxiety are at an all-time high during the pandemic. Many families are facing difficult mental health challenges that worsen as we experience a resurgence of the pandemic, which now includes fatigue. What is COVID-19 fatigue? It is feelings of exhaustion and helplessness brought about by the continuation of short-term and long-term stressors resulting from the virus. It is the feeling that we are hitting a wall in coping and have grown tired. Many of the coping strategies we used to employ can no longer be our go-to activities. How can we persist through COVID-19 fatigue to help ourselves and our family members continue to cope and stay safe from the virus?

  1. Good Old Exercise – As the season turns and winter approaches, come up with a plan to exercise indoors. The irony of depressive symptoms is that they don’t motivate you to want to do much of anything, but exercise is the most effective way to improve your physical and mental health. Even if you only exercise a little bit every day, it will improve your mood. You may have gotten more creative about how you exercise in 2020, but try out something new and fun – yoga classes online, walking with a neighbor, or a subscription workout live streaming service.
  2. Break It Down – Looking at the entire timeline of the virus can cause anxiety, due to the remaining uncertainty about the future. Similarly, taking on a huge home or family project can feel like biting off more than you can chew right now. Break things down into smaller pieces, live day to day, and don’t live too far into the past or into the future. Break projects down into smaller steps and deal with one small step first. Bring expectations down to a more realistic place. You may have to lower your expectations of yourself and family members. Remember that we are all dealing with unprecedented stressors and changes. Although it doesn’t always feel like it, you are resilient and you may be dealing with fatigue better than you think you are. You are building resiliency as we speak.

    3. Talk To Somebody – Processing your feelings aloud with a mental health professional or a therapy group can be helpful. Giving your feelings a voice and some space to be aired can give your mental health a much-needed boost. It can help rebuild compassion for yourself and for your family members. Psychotherapy can also combat feelings of isolation, even if it is through virtual therapy. Contact us at RCC to set up a virtual session with a therapist. We want you to feel better too!