Fighting COVID FatigueMarch 16, 2021
Happy 1 year anniversary of the “two week shut down”! We have made it a year since the initial shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember the mad rush for toilet paper? Who still has their stock pile of toilet paper a year later? It is safe to say that 2020-2021 has brought a lot of depressive and anxious thinking to people who both know the feeling and those who are experiencing it for the first time. The COVID pandemic has brought a range of emotions from slight delight (introvert here!) to grief, sadness, anger, and exasperation. Now, one year later, we are still here and, if we’re honest, probably tired!
COVID fatigue is a real thing that many people in our therapy rooms are experiencing every day. Therapists are seeing record numbers of mental health concerns across the board as clinicians. We believe mental illness is the unspoken pandemic that many are experiencing. We hope these 9 tips can help bring joy and peace to a weary heart.
There are a few strategies you can try when you are experiencing distressing depressive or anxious thoughts. We want to give you free tips that can be used at home to prevent you needing professional mental health services or support what you are already receiving in your mental health service journey. Try this to start.
Coping and Relaxation Skills
Take a deep breath in through your nose for about 5 seconds, hold it in for about 2 seconds and slowly release through your mouth for 8-10 seconds. The release should be slow and controlled. Think like blowing bubbles or blowing up a balloon. The goal is to aim for no more than 5 breaths a minute. Try and get as much air as possible in your stomach all the way up through your diaphragm.
Use this technique when you are feeling anxious/panicky. Look around you and find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel/touch, 2 things you can taste and 1 thing you are grateful for. Anxious thinking is forward thinking and depressive thinking is backward thinking. We want to use grounding to bring us to the present moment.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
As you are doing deep breathing, find a comfortable spot either sitting up or lying down and start tensing each individual muscle group in your body one at a time. Squeeze those muscles as hard as you can for 5 seconds and release. Work your way through all your major muscle groups.
- Is what I’m thinking really true? Is there evidence that goes against what I’m thinking?
- Will this matter in a week/month/year?
- What would I tell a friend who thought the same thing OR what would a friend tell me if they heard what I was thinking/saying to myself?
- Schedule 1 thing every day you are looking forward to.
- Drink at least half your body weight (in oz) in water each day and eat 3 balanced meals a day.
- Engage in an activity that is challenging but that you know is “good for you” at least once a week.
We know that not every technique will work for every person. Even with these changes or improvements, you may find you are still struggling. If your mental health is not where you would like it to be, please reach out to one of our licensed therapists. We are here for you both online and in person.