Humans are wired to adapt to their environment. Earlier this year, it took only a matter of days for the world to transition into a lockdown, forced to quarantine due to a global pandemic. However, despite our ability to adjust to our new "normal," many — if not all — of us have been emotionally impacted by the current health crisis in some way.
Whether it takes form as intense stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia or other mental health struggles, "COVID fatigue" is real and burdensome, causing many to feel drained of energy.
It's important to be aware of your thoughts so you can correct any negative thinking patterns and stop yourself from spiraling. It's easy to get swept up in anxiety and overwhelm, but flagging unhelpful thoughts and replacing them with more productive, positive thinking will help you feel more hopeful.
It's normal and valid to feel scared and trapped while living through a global pandemic. The goal isn't to repress your feelings, but rather recognize the thoughts that fuel them. Realize that millions of people are experiencing the same emotions, and you are not alone in this. By acknowledging this and adjusting your mindset accordingly, you'll be in a better position to cope.
The harsh reality of our current situation is that we have a long way to go. However, there are small victories being made every single day. Rather than dwelling on what's going wrong and what still needs to happen before returning to "normal," focus more on the small victories we've made along the way.
For instance, rather than saying, "It will take months to develop a vaccine," tell yourself, "We are making great progress on a vaccine" — because we are!
Invaliding our progress simply because we aren't where we want to be yet does more harm than good. Once we accept where we are, we can celebrate the small steps we are taking to get where we want to be.
On an individual level, it can be difficult to find joy while being quarantined away from loved ones and battling an unpredictable health crisis. With all the downtime we now have, it's important to spend it doing things we enjoy rather than allowing ourselves to obsess and worry for hours on end. Pick up a new hobby or pursue one you've always wanted to do but never had time for. Whether it's reading, learning guitar, training for a marathon, starting a podcast or any other passion of yours, make sure it brings you joy and excitement. This will give you a sense of purpose each morning.
You might be physically isolating from other people, but that doesn't mean you should stop communicating with them altogether. In fact, you should make a conscious effort to strengthen your connections and relationships with loved ones, maintaining a strong support system during this difficult time. Schedule video chats, phone calls and even virtual movie nights to satisfy your social needs.
Voicing your struggles to a professional will help you find healthy ways to deal with the uncertainty, so you won't feel the need to rely on any negative coping mechanisms. You'll also gain some validation for your emotions and expert guidance on navigating these unprecedented times.
For more tips on prevention and mental health, follow us on Instagram @wellspringcenterforprevention.