Busting Pandemic Fatigue & Weirdness
Let's face it. We are fatigued in many ways and people are getting weirder every day.
I admit it. Do you?
The pandemic is making me weary and weirder.
Have you noticed anything different about yourself or other people since the pandemic hit about 2 years ago?
I'm not talking about the HORRIFC things happening. There's violence, child abuse (parents starving their beautiful 7 year old to DEATH! 😡sickens me every time I think about it) increasing drug abuse, suicide, a worsening mental health crisis, and the list goes on.
I'm thoroughly disgusted with what's happening in the world but that's not what I want to talk about.
I want to talk about the other things we are feeling that are more subtle; those daily annoyances that eat away at you like pandemic fatigue, monotony and weirdness.
The reason behind our new state of mind is likely a combination of many factors: fear, worry, anxiety, isolation, disruption of routine, unexpected shifts in habits, just trying to stay alive and putting up with others.
Debates over politics, masks, vaccines, and the virus are also driving people further apart.
I don't think I know anyone whose anxiety hasn't soared to new levels, and for some, even to the point of incapacitating them.
Everything I've described is affecting adults and children all around the world.
So what is pandemic fatigue?
The World Health Organization (WHO) put out it's own documentation on pandemic fatigue and strategies for coping (28 pages) if you want something more official.
I think my unsophisticated explanation will do for most people.
Pandemic fatigue simply means ENOUGH ALREADY. Let's kick COVID and all its nasty repercussions out of our universe and get some peace in our lives!!!
What is making you pandemic-fatigued?
Here is my little list:
I'm tired of being afraid (of getting sick, being in public, getting run off the road)
I'm tired of being lied to.
I'm tired of trying to figure out how best to keep my family safe.
I'm tired of judging others for their lack of risk assessment.
I'm tired of worrying, period!
I'm tired of wondering if I have COVID every time I have a sniffly nose and a scratchy throat.
I'm tired of the monotony (cooking...cleaning...cooking...cleaning...eating...sleeping)
Zoom is exhausting.
I'm tired of being tired.
There is more...but I'll spare you. It's your turn now!
Insert your reasons for pandemic fatigue here...
Go ahead...I'm not kidding. Make a list, write it down. It's cathartic and it's better to whine on paper. Paper can't roll its eyes at you or tune you out for venting.
What I Want to Feel Instead of Fatigue
I want to feel creative.
I want to feel motivated to do my work and have fun.
I want to feel that there is meaning and value not only in life but also in art, writing and hobbies.
I want to feel safe.
I want my family to be safe.
I want to be grateful for the blessings I've had during the pandemic (if you look you'll find them too).
I want to feel in control of my choices (for e.g. let us keep working remotely🙂🏠.)
I want to balance my time alone with having meaningful, personal conversations with friends.
I want to help our young ones feel loved and valued.
Now it's your turn!
Insert how you want to feel here...
Don't skip this part! Relax. Take a deep breath. Visualize how you want to feel and what activities bring you the most joy.
If you're not the journaling type, here is where having a yearly paper planner comes in handy!!! You can scribble your thoughts inside your planner and keep them safe all in one spot. (See post: 27 Benefits of Using a Yearly Paper Planner.)
How to Beat Pandemic Fatigue
Beating pandemic fatigue is not like crossing a finish line. It's more like a daily soccer game, where you practice kicking the ball into the net over and over until you improve.
You don't beat pandemic fatigue by one action. It's something you work at every day, doing the best you can. Some days you'll feel like you're winning, others days not so much, but it's important to stay in the game.
To beat pandemic fatigue practice one or all of these daily
Self-compassion. Life is tough enough, no need to make it tougher. It's important to be compassionate towards yourself, which in turn, will help you be more compassionate towards others😊. Get rest, set boundaries, stop being self-critical. Do less not more. (See post on how to deal with perfectionism: Oops...I made a mistake!)
Practice self-care but don't overindulge. The temptation to binge on junk food, alcohol, or whatever your vice, increases with stress. I'm not immune either, I enjoy an occasional shot glass of Grand Marnier when things get a little tough. However, occasional and small doses is key! Better yet, try healthier things when stressed like listening to uplifting music, journaling, taking dreamy hot bubble baths with Epsom salt (add lavender essential oil for extra relaxation).
Matthew Perry not included 😝
Practice having compassion for others. You never know what people are going through, so be kind and caring to everyone you meet. Make it a goal to leave people better than how you found them.
If someone is mean or rude don't retaliate. Walk away and forget about it! If everyone did this there would be NO violence in the world!
Don't expect too much from yourself and others. We all need to space to grow. Perfection is an illusion.
Be generous with your time, compliments and money. Give more than you get.
Break daunting projects into smaller tasks. This has been critical when I don't feel motivated to accomplish anything. I make myself just do one thing towards the project. Usually, once I get going I end up doing more but if not, it's ok anyway. At least I started! 😃
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude! Please teach this to your children! Make it a habit of asking each other what you're grateful for at the end of the day. When I get really low in spirit, I'll lie back on my bed and list everything I can think of that I'm grateful for. Works like a charm!
Get outside and into nature! Find a trail or a park to take walks in. The sun, fresh air and beautiful surroundings are nature's healers. 🌞🌻Beaches are great too.
Limit your worry time. Take a few minutes to process your deep, negative emotions but then force yourself to stop. Move on to something that's relaxing and uplifting!
Practice unselfishness. Let someone go first in line. Give your children undivided attention. Get out of your comfort zone to help someone. Cook a meal. Bake cookies. Write a postcard. Send flowers. Drop off a thoughtful small gift bag. There are many ways to take an interest in others even if you're isolated.
Limit how much you watch or read the news.
Silence your devices and notifications. Um...yeah...I had to do this for my sanity. I don't do well with my phone constantly dinging at me so it's on silent all the time. Sorry friends and family. I will call you back but only if you leave me a message 😜.
Learn to be silly. Have fun. Laugh a lot! This is something I need to work on because I tend towards the serious and my idea of fun is not the same as what others might find fun or funny. So, if you're like me, you may have to work harder at learning to relax and loosening up. I make it a point to spend time with friends who bring out the silly in me😋. Funny books and movies can be great for this too!
"Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive." Elbert Hubbard
Plan something Even if you don't get do it, the dreaming part can be fun. I love looking at dream getaways on Airbnb! Oh the castles! 😍 Of course, dreaming only takes you so far. When that's the case, it may be good to plan something small, like a staycation or meet up with a friend for coffee or better yet something fun like a milkshake!
Learn something new or start a new hobby. Gardening, sewing, cooking, baking, photography, drawing, learning a new language...the sky is the limit. Take a class. Challenge yourself! You'll get distracted from the stress and monotony, and you'll learn a new skill.
Do something you love even if you don't feel like it. Reading is my favorite pastime but for awhile I didn't have the motivation to even pick up a book. It was a serious case of the blues! To cure myself, I took a quick trip to my favorite used bookstore and bought a ton of classics (which was overwhelming in itself). When I got home, I set a goal to read just ONE chapter of each book. It worked! It got me back into reading again. Yay!
The books on the left are my son's.
Pray. This is not just an emotional crutch. Believe that God is really listening to you and that he cares. Be alert to how he helps you. It could be something simple like motivating someone to call or text you. Or he might help you shift your focus towards the positive. He can give you inner peace and strength to endure.
There's value in each of the above suggestions and I've used one or all of them to help myself. So I know they work. Maybe you do other things that I haven't mentioned. If so, feel free to post them on my Train of Truth Facebook page for the benefit of others.
What is this about weirdness?
I'm not the only one who senses it. When I mentioned that people seem to be getting weirder to a friend she replied, "Everyone is getting weirder and more touchy."
Have you noticed it?
It seems to me that those who were kind before the pandemic are even kinder, as if grateful for an opportunity to show someone kindness in this crazy world. Those who were rough around the edges, well they have gotten even rougher!
I googled, "are people weirder during pandemic" and a few articles popped up about how the pandemic is changing personalities.
This article reminded me that many literally fought over masks, some even intentionally spitting or coughing on others. Yuk! A woman in Georgia was KILLED because she asked a customer to put a mask on. Hopefully, we haven't personally witnessed this kind of stuff. Although sadly, it is happening in my own backyard so to speak.
These examples are extreme. What about the average person?
Have you noticed exaggerations in personalities like: extroverts acting more extroverted or introverts becoming more introverted? And even stranger...some of the extroverted are becoming introverted because of the other extroverts! 😝 (Say that fast 10x.)
What about you?
Are you feeling more introspective but less sociable? If so, you aren't alone. (See this BBC article: How lockdown may have changed your personality.)
We have become more fearful of people and less trusting. Our friends may be too anxious to interact and are ignoring our messages. You may have distanced yourself from a friend or family member because of taking opposite stands on issues.
What about feeling a bit extra "judgy" or sensitive over people's actions or decisions, be it over important or small stuff? You never know what reaction you'll get if you voice your feelings on masks, vaccines, the virus, or just about anything for that matter. If you've ever followed conversations online you may have noticed how downright mean and rude people can be.
Why can't we peacefully discuss touchy subjects? You know...agree to disagree...instead of thinking everyone else is idiotic and abusing them for not thinking like you?
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
We are not functioning as a truly tolerant society. People preach tolerance and kindness but as soon as someone disagrees with us we fall apart. Why?
What's wrong with us?
I think all these personality changes are repercussions from the pandemic. We were already stressed before but the increase of stress, anxiety, controversy and isolation are driving people further apart.
Call it social anxiety or social awkwardness. Either way, it's real and we need to fight against it!
How to Beat Pandemic Weirdness
Let's keep it simple. We don't need a list of do's and don'ts. We only need to remember ONE thing.
Be kind to everyone, at all times, even when you don't feel like it.
Just be KIND.
Anxiety, stress, controversy and personality quarks aren't going away. We must learn how to live with each other and like each other.
Let's make the world a better place, every day, one person at a time, with many acts of kindness.
You do your part, I'll do mine. 😀
When in a bind, be kind!
You're voice counts and it means the world to me!
Keep the conversation going.
Post your helpful tips on the Train of Truth Facebook page for the benefit of others.
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