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COVID Fatigue Syndrome: You're Not Alone

COVID Fatigue Syndrome: You're Not Alone

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into the holiday season, many of us are exhausted. Social distancing, masks, virtual work and home schooling are among the biggest changes 2020 has brought us.

The good news is you are not alone. Mental health experts have identified and are working with clients experiencing COVID Fatigue Syndrome.

Symptoms can vary depending on how you deal with stress, but many may experience:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Worsening of mental health conditions.
  • Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances.

Research on crisis response shows that during the immediate aftermath of a disaster, communities pull together and experience a time of communal togetherness. The outpouring of gifts for hospital caregivers is just one example of the community support we saw at the beginning of the pandemic last March.

As time has passed, so has optimism and patience. Many describe symptoms of unexplained sadness, frustration, or anger. Some find that they are crying or losing their temper “for no reason”. Mental health experts say it is now more important than ever to practice healthy coping behaviors.

Try these tips for coping with COVID Fatigue Syndrome:

  • Get moving. Maintain your exercise routine since research shows that physical activity improves mental health. Don’t get a regular workout? Walking 20 minutes every day or taking an online yoga or stretching class are great options that almost anyone can try.
  • Connect with friends and family. Reach out to someone who makes you laugh or who’s a good listener if you’re having a rough day. And don’t forget to check in with those who live alone.
  • Get outside. You can go for a “Sunday Drive” almost any time of the year. Head to Skyline Drive or one of the other local scenic byways for a pick-me-up, compliments of Mother Nature.
  • Unplug. The endless barrage of social media can be a huge stressor, so take time to disconnect. Do what you love. Enjoy cooking, jigsaw puzzles, a good mystery or old movies? Make time for activities that make you feel good…or try a new hobby that engages your brain.
  • Expand your spiritual practices. Prayer, meditation and religious readings are a source of great comfort to many. Take time to practice gratitude; positive thinking has been show to help relieve stress and anxiety.

Valley Health Outpatient Behavioral Health provides in person services (in Winchester and Woodstock) as well as telehealth appointments.