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Beat the burnout

By Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo
13 November 2021   |   2:53 am
Do you feel hungover most of the time? Or groggy? Do you tend to procrastinate more than you used to, say, before the pandemic? There’s been quite a bit of research since the start of the pandemic

Do you feel hungover most of the time? Or groggy? Do you tend to procrastinate more than you used to, say, before the pandemic? There’s been quite a bit of research since the start of the pandemic on the impact of COVID-19 and lockdowns, not only on our physical, but also on our mental health, and one common thread in these is that pandemic burnout has been on the rise since March 2000. While there is now more hope than ever, with the vaccines and the news of the first anti-viral drug approved in the UK, a growing number of people are experiencing pandemic burnout.

The signs are often an overall feeling of being frazzled; loss of focus; forgetfulness; procrastination and taking longer to complete tasks; changes in sleep patterns; social interactions are affected or avoided; and the usual self-care activities seemingly have less impact than before.

If you felt you could no longer be bothered to put on your glad rags and meet up with a friend, or if you’re awake at 3:00 having a good old doom scroll on Twitter, you’re not alone. Pandemic fatigue is real, and we are all experiencing it.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines pandemic fatigue as being “demotivated” and exhausted with the demands of life during the COVID crisis. Long-term burnout is never good, but with some simple measures, it can be managed. Here is how you can start to un-frazzle your mind and beat the burnout.

Accept there is a problem
The first step to solving any problem is to acknowledge it in the first place. Even the most resilient amongst us will experience some, if not all symptoms of pandemic fatigue. Rather than ploughing on, pause, take a deep breath, be honest about the way you feel and resolve not to address it.

Keep calm and carry on… with your routine
Once you’ve acknowledged the problem, to set out making things better, instead of fretting over fatigue, keep calm. Sticking to your routines during a time of crisis helps maintain good mental health, according to public health experts.

Seek out your support network
This is the time to tap into your support network of family and friends; don’t shy away from opening up about your challenges and seek their support if you need to. If some friendships and relationships are not working for you anymore, then perhaps they were never within your circle of trust to begin with. Don’t be wary of cutting people loose.

Limit your digital intake
When you lack motivation, it is so easy to fall down the rabbit of digital distractions whether it is scrolling on your phone into the early hours of the morning or constantly being on social media. To prioritise good sleep and a balanced daily routine, limit your digital screen time. Likewise, working on your laptop, give yourself regular breaks. Over the weekends, try to give yourself a few hours of digital detox.

Don’t beat yourself up
Don’t expect yourself to flip a switch and get out of the fatigue you find yourself in. Instead, be patient with yourself and practise the self-care your body and mind needs. Give yourself the space and time to work through the emotions.

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