More people are reporting feeling burnt out
as new lockdowns were enforced and the mutated strains of the Wuhan coronavirus continued to spread in several countries, potentially undermining the newly developed vaccines. In the United Kingdom, data indicated that 60 percent of the population found it harder to stay positive daily than before the pandemic.
Experts suggested that this "pandemic burnout" among the general populace might be due to the realization that the pandemic would be around longer than expected. This burnout has led to palpable symptoms like fatigue, sleep issues and a lack of focus.
"We are tired and have been doing this for a long time," said Emma Kavanagh, a psychologist and author from South Wales. "[We] had this initial array of coping capacity and it's simply burnt out."
According to Kavanagh, "burnout" refers to a state of prolonged stress. By the time the brain reaches this state, it has already reached its full capacity. This is why people feeling burnt out may feel sluggish, find it difficult to pay attention or even suffer lapses in memory. These symptoms are becoming more common the longer the pandemic persists.
Steven Taylor, a clinical psychologist and a professor at the University of British Columbia
in Canada, said that the stressfulness of the pandemic is related to how long it lasts.
The longer the coronavirus pandemic drags on, the longer people are exposed to stressors that wear them down physically, mentally and emotionally. Taylor likened it to what the World Health Organization
(WHO) called "pandemic fatigue."
Moreover, pandemic-related restrictions like lockdowns create conditions ripe for burnout because they throw a wrench into routines that allow people to recall activities they did or how their day went. Without these mental "checkpoints," life becomes a blur and people experience difficulty telling their days apart.
Tips in dealing with pandemic burnout
It has now been a year since the coronavirus pandemic began. But the worst might be far from over with new mutations of the virus already making rounds in several countries, including the United States.
Given how governments worldwide would likely impose more lockdowns with each new outbreak, it helps to know how best to deal with burnout brought on by the pandemic.
Here are three simple tips for coping with and avoiding pandemic burnout
1. Keep in touch with friends and family.
Coronavirus-related restrictions like lockdowns have had a severe impact on people's mental health due to the way they have negatively impacted how people spend time with their loved ones. Studies done early in the pandemic even sought to tackle how coronavirus-related restrictions led to loneliness and isolation
One way feelings of loneliness and isolation can be avoided is by keeping in touch with friends and family even if only within a virtual space. Today, people make great use of social media to maintain relationships and feel a sense of connection with others again.
2. Take control where you can.
Many people may feel stressed amid the pandemic because they feel powerless over the situation. But stressing over something you cannot control is an unproductive use of your time. Instead, focus on the things you can control, like your meals or the state of your house. Cook healthy dishes, do laundry or tidy up your room.
3. Move around more.
Exercise helps alleviate mental and emotional exhaustion by increasing your energy levels. Moreover, research shows that going out and visiting green spaces helps improve mental health
during the pandemic. (Related: Living near Nature may help improve your mental health amid coronavirus pandemic, study suggests
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