Since it began, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused profound distress. As people navigate the fluctuations in cases rising and falling and the economic uncertainty, many have battled the onset of depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health conditions, as well as physical fatigue from the new pandemic lifestyle.
Moreover, pandemic fatigue has led to a decline in adhering to public health measures such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-washing hygiene.
Now that we have a better understanding from experts that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to continue as an endemic we will have to live with, we all need to stay on top of our mental and physical health to deter pandemic fatigue.
Here are some tips to break free from the doldrums.
1. Maintain a sharp mind
Keep your mind active by choosing activities that form healthy habits. You can reduce the risk of cognitive decline by avoiding smoking, getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying physically active.
Stay sharp by learning a hobby or new skill, mentoring someone, or reading books.
2. Recognize anxiety and treat it
Avoiding others, nervousness, or having anxiety symptoms can be one of the many signs of anxiety. Typical symptoms can be either emotional or physical — or both. Physical symptoms include headaches, fatigue, insomnia, diarrhea, fast heartbeat or breathing, nausea, or dizziness.
Emotional symptoms include feeling afraid, tense, apprehensive, or irritable; a lack of concentration; or changes in energy. You can reduce anxiety by facing your emotions.
Keeping a journal is often an effective tactic, as is scheduling your worry time for a specific time of the day and engaging in worry-free activities throughout the rest of the day.
3. Recognize self-deception and change those thoughts
Self-deception is basically telling yourself something that isn’t true. Recognize it by being aware of your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Once you notice the thoughts causing your self-deception, take action.
Separate hearsay from facts. Think about your purpose and goals and take steps to achieve them. Identify your passions and engage in them regularly.
Reinforce your strengths by recognizing them and writing them down. If you struggle to break free from self-defeating thoughts, consider getting help from a professional to help you through the process. Many now offer telehealth appointments.
4. Stay physically active
Exercise in conjunction with a good night’s sleep can restore and replenish your body’s energy and your mental outlook.
Set aside at least a half-hour each day to go walking or do some other physical exercise. This can help improve your immune system and also boost your positive outlook.
5. Eat healthy
Make it a priority to eat nutritiously. Maintain a balanced diet and snack on healthy foods to strengthen your immune system and keep it primed to fight off any viral infections.
Foods like protein support immune cells, while and antioxidants from foods with color can improve the body’s immune response and help it recover from illness.
6. Practice meditation, yoga, and pranayama
Recent reviews of more than 100 scientific studies on yoga’s effect on immunity show that certain seated meditation, yoga asanas (postures), and pranayama (breathing) practices may help immune function for SARS-CoV-2 infection, and has the potential to be effective as an adjunctive treatment and/or prevention for COVID-19.
Adjunctive treatment refers to therapy that supplements primary treatment like a vaccine or medicine. These practices also demonstrate evidence of having anti-stress and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Finding ways to stay mentally and physically healthy, especially during the pandemic, will help stave off pandemic fatigue. Set reachable daily and weekly goals and achievable activities, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a healthier and more grounded you!
Sabbithry Persad is a writer who tackles issues we face in the global community. Persad is the author of the Garbology Kids® waste management series for children, which includes Where Do Recyclable Materials Go?, Operation: Reuse It!, and We Can Reduce: Precycle It! She is the founder of Firewater Media Group and Green Solutions Magazine. Her new book is, What Is Coronavirus? How It Infects, How It Spreads, and How to Stay Safe (Firewater Media Group, Oct. 1, 2021). Learn more at firewatermediagroup.com.