Pandemic Fatigue: Coping For The Long Haul

Pandemic Fatigue: Coping For The Long Haul

Back in the winter when the first shut-downs and stay-at-home orders were being put in place, I felt like “Sure, I can do this for the next 4 weeks.” When the orders were extended, it was irritating, and frustrating, but I did it anyway. But now it’s July 24, 2020, and the pandemic cases are exploding in the United States and around the world. Thankfully, cases are only slowly increasing where I live. However, I’m struggling with this seemingly never-ending of pandemic.

My energy tank is almost on empty. From what I’m reading, others are struggling, too. How is your energy holding up? Are you finding this pandemic to be exhausting? So how do we cope for the long haul with a pandemic and our chronic illnesses?

Be Intentional With Coping Strategies

I started thinking about the long-term effects of this pandemic on my health when I read Cynthia Covert’s blog post called Could Pandemic Stress Be The Cause of Your Increased Chronic Pain? According to Cynthia:

The stress connection hit me during a wellness check-in with my chronic pain-fighting Facebook group. Someone mentioned their increase in pain and how they are focusing on their mental health. It was their comment that made me reflect upon my current emotional health status. And friends, it wasn’t good!!

While I thought I was handling the extra stress fairly well, my body has not agreed with my mind. My fibromyalgia started flaring last month and is still acting up. My stomach is not happy with anything I eat. Everything hurts, and I am so tired all the time.

Cynthia’s post reminded me that I need to be more intentional with my self-care and coping strategies. Hit or miss just isn’t working anymore. Below is a list of posts to help you think about how you’re doing during this pandemic. I hope you find the information helpful on your journey.

Coping Resources For Pandemic Fatigue

Emotions

  1. I wrote a post about coping with painful emotions in January 2017. https://www.upbeatliving.net/emotional-resilience/

2. Also, I wrote a review of a book called Resilience: Powerful Practices for Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even Disaster by Linda Graham, MFT. I’ve started re-reading it, and using some of her exercises. https://www.upbeatliving.net/resilience-powerful-practices-bouncing-back-disappointment-difficulty-disaster/

Here is a quick exercise from Ms. Graham’s book to get you started:

Savor A Moment Of Relief: Let your body sigh; exhale deeply, releasing tension from your body. A deep sigh (or several sighs) is the body’s natural way to reset the nervous system. You can practice responding to any moment of tension, even a frightening one, with a deliberate sigh to shift your physiology into a relieved and more relaxed state.

Did you try sighing? It’s remarkably calming.

Distractions

3. Alice at Notebooks & Glasses recently wrote about some of her favorite things helping her get through this pandemic. I want to check out the Go2 Inhaler B. Calm Stick that she mentions. You can read her post here: https://notebooksandglasses.com/a-few-of-my-favourite-things-that-are-helping-me-right-now/

4. Liz at Despite Pain, shared this post in April about coping with being stuck at home and isolating. It is still relevant today. https://despitepain.com/2020/04/03/how-to-cope-with-the-lockdown-and-isolation-during-the-coronavirus-crisis/

Physical

5. Don’t forget to move your body! Marya at Chronic Mom Life has a great article for adding some gentle yoga to your days. https://chronicmomlife.com/5-essential-yoga-tips-for-chronic-illness-warriors/

Spiritual & Relationships

6. For your spiritual and relationships health, you can join the re-watch party this month of the Diamonds 2020 conference held in January. The theme is Fighting Together. It is on day three today, and will continue through August 17th. Go here to sign up: http://sgwilloughby.com/2020/07/20/big-announcements-diamonds-2020-rewatch-epic-virtual-birthday-party/

What is Diamonds Conference?

Diamonds is an annual online conference for chronically ill Christians. Millions of chronically ill people battle impossible trials every single day. But so many of them feel so alone. The speakers of Diamonds 2020 want them to know they aren’t — not by a long shot. The theme for Diamonds 2020 is Fighting Together — all about relationships in the midst of chronic illness, from caregiver-patient relationships to spouse relationships to your relationship with God.

Wrap- Up

I hope that this post gave you some inspiration to “keep on keeping on”, and to be intentional about coping with pandemic fatigue. Who knows how long it’s going to be with us. Since we’ve had more practice isolating than the healthy person, we can do this pandemic thing for as long as it takes. Blessings!

I’ve been nominated for two WEGO Health Awards. What an honor! If you would like to endorse me, you can do so here: https://www.wegohealth.com/KathyForsyth/awards

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