I am sure that I am not the only one who is exhausted with it all and almost beyond caring. When they talk about new variants or another wave this Winter, I feel like I could scream.
In this blog post, I will explore pandemic burnout and what to do if you are experiencing it.
So, what is pandemic burnout?
Pandemic burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion that is caused by the stress we have all been experiencing over the last two years of living through a pandemic. In some cases it has been complicated further by things like job loss, social isolation, and financial insecurity.
Exhaustion – both physical and mental – is one of the most common symptoms of pandemic burnout. We have all had to juggle so many things over the last two years that we have not been able to rest and recharge.
Burnout and exhaustion inevitably lead to feelings of irritability and frustration. In some cases people have turned to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, in an attempt to drown the stress and anxiety. Or, as in my case, they comfort eat and try to numb their uncomfortable emotions.
However, as we all know, this makes things worse, not better, increasing the problems the person will encounter in the longer term.
Insomnia is another common symptom. Many of us are struggling to get a good night’s sleep. This can be due to stress and anxiety, money worries, or simply worries about Covid, as well as the constant changes in our schedules and routines.
Obviously this creates a vicious cycle because the lack of sleep makes us even more exhausted and cranky.
What can you do to feel better?
If you are experiencing symptoms of pandemic burnout, there are some things that you can do to help yourself.
The first step is to process your emotions. It is not irrational to be upset by the upheaval that we have all been through over the last two years. Acknowledge how you are feeling and give yourself permission to feel those emotions.
The second step is to take care of yourself physically. This means getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. It is also important to find ways to relax and de-stress. Try things like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. Taking care of your physical health will help to improve your mental health.
The third step is to find ways to connect with others. Social isolation can be one of the most difficult things about living through a pandemic. Make sure to reach out to your friends and family, even if it is just via text or social media. If you are feeling really isolated, there are also many online support groups that you can join.
If you are struggling with symptoms of pandemic burnout, talk to your GP and ask for a referral to a therapist who can help you to deal with your stress and anxiety. There are also many helplines that you can call, such as the Samaritans in the UK.
Summer is coming up and with it the opportunity to meet friends and family and make up for lost time. Take the opportunity – go out, take a trip, live! We cannot control what will happen in Winter, but we can make sure to enjoy ourselves over the warm Summer months, storing up happiness like squirrels storing acorns for the colder months!