In December 2020, we reached the one-year mark of Covid-19, and the whirlwind it took all of us on does not look like it is going to stop anytime soon. Schools, malls, and airports have shut down, with other shock waves in the world. We were forced indoors. We had to learn how to work from home, connect via screens, and share love and laughter through technology.
Let me be frank: Pandemic fatigue is a form of burnout. After more than a year of lockdowns, many people have gotten to a point where they feel like they do not see the end in sight.
Pandemic burnout or fatigue is painful, and its symptoms are similar to depression. For the first time, the entire world is experiencing these same issues. Hopefully, sharing a common threat has made us all more empathetic. Still, it seems like it is starting to take its toll on many of us.
During this pandemic burnout, these things are pervasive:
1. Mental breakdowns or mental shutdowns happen a lot due to all the uncertainty, fear, and changes in such a short amount of time. Everything that we are used to has changed. Life does not look the same anymore, and no one knows when we will go back to the way things were.
2. Isolation gets extremely tiring, triggering boredom, anxiety, and depression.
3. Financial stress has been affecting so many people.
4. The fear of the disease. Hearing about new cases rising every day and the death toll increasing with no indication of stopping can take its toll on you.
5. The lack of social contact is also a massive contributor to this time of pandemic fatigue.
6. A lot of research on psychopathology that I have done has also shown that the absence of social support is a crucial contributor to the increased depression and anxiety.
Some of the symptoms of pandemic burnout or fatigue that you might face are:
• Feeling tired even though you’ve fully rested.
• Not enjoying yourself or your life in general.
• Feeling lonely.
• Feeling depressed and sad.
• Either sleeping too little or sleeping too much.
• Change in appetite (eating too much or too little).
• Easily angered or triggered.
• Feeling frustrated and stuck.
• Feeling pessimistic about your future.
• The lack of hope and expectations for your future.
There is nothing wrong with feeling these emotions. Still, when it persists for too long, you might start to feel like there is no way out, but there is. We might not be able to change what happens, and yet we might choose our response. This is where Positive Psychology based coaching methodologies come in handy. These coping skills have been tested effectively by psychologists, counsellors and certified coaches for 30 years.
Below is your pandemic fatigue coping guidance based on these principles:
Existentially no matter what difficulty we are in, our nature leans towards happiness. Moving towards happiness is our innate capacity. Unfortunately, not all of us learn how to make ourselves happy and regulate toxic emotions from early years on. Not all of us are lucky to build those happy memory cells from childhood. The good news is that no matter what age we are in, we can learn to re-wire our brain cells, and with persistence, we can build happy cells in our brain. As a master certified coach and therapist for over a decade now, I have used these principles and methodologies and witnessed tremendous transformation in my clients’ lives. Eventually, I put these together in the Flow Coaching Institute curriculum so that more people have access to these scientifically proven tools and change their paradigms to become happier.
1. If you are a practical person who is usually satisfied with results, you should focus more on short-term goals and tasks that will help you. Focus on one day at a time or even an hour at a time. Focusing on the short term is a better strategy for those of you that are result-oriented.
2. If you are a long-term thinker visionary, setting up a long-term vision will support you at these challenging times. Continuously striving to reach these long-term goals will help you get through the day.
3. Regardless of whether you are a visionary or a result-oriented person, I want you to think about some meaningful goals you want to achieve. Having meaningful goals energize us from the inside out.
4. One of our Flow Coaching principles talks about focusing on what we can change versus what we cannot. What’s happening with the world is something we cannot change, so let’s control what we can. What we can control is how we respond to the people and events around us. We can choose our reactions.
5. Learn from the masters of resilience, aka centenarians of Okinawa. They witnessed the war and built resilience. One of their secrets is staying active. They recommend a moderately physically active life. Some of their daily activities include doing daily chores, walking, going shopping on foot, dancing and playing with kids. These are simple but powerful activities that remind us that we are still alive.
6. Focus on growth mindset by shifting the way you view this time. Move it from the restricted concept of not leaving the house and working exclusively from home to perhaps a time where you can try to grow yourself spiritually. Take some time to meditate and journal.
7. Express your emotions daily. Emotions are forms of energy, and we either suppress or express. Suppressing isn’t the best strategy in the long run as the negative emotions accumulate in the psyche and become energy blockers. The healthy way is to express. You can express your emotions by journaling, painting, dancing or talking with people you trust.
If you believe that you have reached a place in your life where none of these methods would help you. In that case, you might benefit from getting professional support in the form of a coach, therapist or mentor.
The world is a very different place than it was, even a year ago, and it is to be expected that it feels overwhelming. This is why here at Flow Coaching Institute, we have made it our mission to help people through these trying times.
Let us know how we can help. We want to help. As the agents of positive change globally, I believe that coaches hold an essential role during this time. I take this responsibility very seriously, and I would love to know if I can do anything for you now.