10 Tips for Besting "Pandemic Fatigue"
It's officially a thing. People are over it. The rigidly safe behavior of the early pandemic days has loosened up and given way to both more nuanced approaches to the pandemic, and to more disrespectful reactivity to the threat of infection & contagion. So many people know so few people who have had it, that it also has this odd quality of not feeling so real. Maybe I should say, white people. Both African Americans, Latinx and Native Americas are being hit much harder Yet, it's a bit of a misnomer...or let me say, I think it hides the real issue: it seems people got through about 6 months of living with the social constrictions imposed by pandemic dynamics, but as September hit, the need to continue or increase social connecting increased.
Consciously and subconsciously, we were reaching a tipping point...partly because we knew the cold was on its way, and we began worrying about it, some dreading it in a whole different way; others of us already making plans for how we are going to navigate it (I bought a wearable sleeping bag to visit outside in!).
How are we going to see others? what's it going to be like "cooped" up inside all day? how are we going to celebrate the holidays? how can we/I make it a celebration if we're/I'm not going to be with family? How can I not get depressed and lonely?
Other factors complicate the picture...the rates of infection are increasing again in ways that are quite concerning, so we are beginning to anticipate more restriction of movement. And there's a dynamic that was long ago recognized in psychology and is also recognized by those who are involved in national disaster work, and that is that at around 6 months there's a fatigue that does set in, like compassion fatigue.
Six months is also the time at which people are known to begin to physically sick after experiencing significant stress/loss.
Let's switch to a higher gear
our ability to be proactive in response to the fatigue and the coming cold weather months (up north, mostly).
Here are 10 tips for boosting your resilience in the face of fatigue and worry:
1) Boost your energy first: support your immune system more, if you aren't already...even taking just the D3 will boost your energy significantly if you are deficient and something like 80% of the people in this country are! Over and over again, I see from reputable sources taking D3, Vitamin C, Quercetin, and Zinc. Selenium has been said to be helpful and others, but those are the ones that are repeated frequently, and of all of them, studies on D levels she the most dramatic and huge outcomes improvements.
2) MOVE your body--be especially conscious of ways to move being more indoors...fun ways to move, too! If you've been reading these, you'll know that there are a few times I've written of silly ways to stretch and move our bodies, that bring not only more flexibility, and also more joy. Here's a new one I added: when brushing my teeth for 2 minutes, I've started to do this simple 4 step dance, that reminds me of Native American beats. I can spin a bit, too, and it makes me so happy in the moment!
3) Build up your outdoor clothing supply, so that you can spend more time outdoors comfortably.
4) Remember that we make our days...so everyday get up and ask yourself what you are going to make of your one, wild and precious life, today? And do it! Passivity isn't going to get us through this with resilience, health and aliveness.
5) Increase your willingness to be more conscious of your choices, of the thoughts that you allow yourself. Is it ok with you that you are worrying about the winter, the holidays? that you are imaging feeling lonely through the dark days of the year? If it is, you will continue in this pattern that robs your of your aliveness.
6) Speaking of aliveness...what are your favorite ways to boost yours? I have been a student of aliveness for a long while now and have developed my abilities to boost my own. I know what to do to bring more life energy in to my body and to maintain it. I also know what robs me of aliveness. Check with yourself. You know more than you know, you know. Trust me.
7) Choose creative ways to connect with others in person or virtually. The latest one I've heard is of people reading books to one another. Find ways to be more prosocial, more helpful to those who are suffering. Reach out to lift others up.
8) Choose creative ways to celebrate holidays. You could plot out a whole day almost on Thanksgiving, or the winter holidays of being with family who are virtually present, from eating breakfast together, to watching something together, playing games, preparing meals, etc.
9) Decide that you are going to make this year different in positive ways; that you are going to break out of old patterns, try new things, that you are going to experience it as an opportunity to challenge yourself to resilience and aliveness. That will make a HUGE difference. MAKE IT SO!
10) And finally, whatever you do, or don't do...KNOW you will survive this and there will be tomorrow to make that change, to do the healing work, to be more active in reaching out, etc. Forgive yourself and others for every mistake, slight, upset, disappointment and keep your heart open for the possibilities that life is offering in the midst of all the challenges.