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Fighting pandemic fatigue

A year of living with anxiety is starting to take its toll – but hope is on the horizon.

It’s been a year since the first case of Covid was announced in South Africa. During that time, we have endured circumstances many of us would have considered unimaginable – and the strain of this, combined with the constant threat of infection or, worse still, grief at having lost loved ones, has brought about a deep sense of fatigue. Finding a way to fight through this feeling is vital, however. Our vaccination programme may be gathering traction, but we’re still likely to be held hostage to the virus for many months to come. These tips may help:

Go easy on yourself. When you understand that there’s a reason you feel this way and that it’s rooted in science, you may find it easier to accept. Simply put, after a year of operating in a state of what psychologists call heightened arousal, your body is feeling the effects of long-term stress. This explains why you may be experiencing brain fog, poor short-term memory, or other symptoms of anxiety. 

Congratulate yourself for what you have already overcome – because it might not feel like it, but there have been moments worth celebrating. Simply making it this far is a case in point. At the same time, acknowledge your grief and anxiety. Making room for these feelings may make them easier to bear.

Adjust your expectations. In the pre-Covid world, you may have been a more patient parent (or even person) – but back then, you weren’t dealing with major stress every day. 

The rules from the beginning of lockdown still apply: routine and boundaries will help you feel as though you have a measure of control in a world that now seems unreliable and unpredictable. 

Remember that this time will pass. One day, you’ll marvel at the fact that you have lived through a historic episode. This may help to give you perspective, and may also provide the strength and motivation you need to keep going.