By: Lester J Olinde Jr., LPC-S
We’ve been living with COVID-19 for several months, and the spread
of coronavirus is currently on the rise in many areas around the U.S.
and the world. As the pandemic continues on, it’s understandable
that some people are getting tired of taking precautions.
Before 2020, the general population was not wearing masks or having to
distance themselves from others. Just last Christmas, we were having parties,
hugging loved ones and shaking hands with each other. In the span of two
- three months, we were isolating from loved ones and trying to keep ourselves
safe. We found out soon enough that keeping up with it all can be overwhelming.
Sustained behavior change is difficult. It is very important for people
within our schools, hospitals, workplaces, and public areas to have integrity
about safety precautions. Integrity is doing what is required of you when
no one is watching.
COVID-19 Dangers and Consequences
It can feel bizarre to reorganize your life around a risk that doesn’t
seem real. As of now, most people are still detached from the consequences
of getting COVID. The danger might not feel tangible to them if they don’t
know anyone who has had COVID-19 or died from it. As the pandemic continues,
we’re all suffering from pandemic fatigue. To protect loved ones
and ourselves, we must continue to stay focused.
Tips to Make Coronavirus Safety Measures Easier
Make a commitment to yourself and others.
Behavior changes can begin by making a promise to yourself and having a
clear intention of how you view this. Prior to the pandemic, most of us
wore seatbelts, stopped at stop signs, and used caution when crossing
the street. This behavior came from within and normally didn’t require
outside influences to ensure we followed though. You want to do the right
thing to keep yourself and others safe, even if that means a slight inconvenience.
The same principle can apply to washing hands, maintaining physical distance
and wearing a mask in public.
Stay flexible as recommendations change.
When Bruce Lee spoke of his style and philosophy of martial arts, Jeet
Kune Do, he would often say, “Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless,
like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water
into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes
the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
In other words be flexible. Each day things change when new facts are
emerging as we learn more about this virus. Things from today may contradict
facts from yesterday. Instead of being frustrated and angry, remind yourself
today that you know more than in the past. Evolve with the change that
Stick with reliable, trustworthy information. New facts are emerging as
we learn more and more about this virus.
Practice precautions until they’re second nature.
Make putting on a mask, washing hands often, and cleaning areas at home
and at work a habit. Be a good example for your children. Children need
routine and will often remind you if you are not following through.
Be aware of your emotions.
Pandemic Burnout is a special type of life stress — a state of physical,
emotional or mental exhaustion combined with the uncertainty of the future
based on the evolution of the virus. As humans, we are not meant to live
life in a constant state of stress.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
- Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers, patients,
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
- Do you feel dissatisfied about your life?
- Are you using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
- Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
- Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be experiencing
burnout. Be sure to consult your doctor or a mental health provider, however,
some of these symptoms can also indicate certain health conditions which
may need to be ruled out by your primary care physician.
What are the consequences of pandemic burnout?
Ignored or unaddressed pandemic burnout can have significant consequences,
- Excessive stress
- A negative spillover into personal relationships or home life
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes, especially in women
- Vulnerability to illnesses
Remember, if you think you might be experiencing pandemic burnout, don't
ignore your symptoms.
the stressors that contribute to pandemic burnout. Once you've identified what's fueling your feelings of pandemic
burnout, you can make a plan to address the issues.
your options. Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor. Are you remembering the
joy of why you do what you do in the first place? Do you remind yourself
about the joy that you give others? Have you seen how you have changed
lives? Work is constant change but learning how to be more efficient can
help you do more in less time. Changing the order that you do things or
create new lessons that you have never used can make it fun.
attitude. If you've become cynical at work, consider ways to improve your outlook.
Rediscover enjoyable aspects of your work. Recognize that being cynical
is a “red flag” that you are having issues. Take short breaks
throughout the day. Spend time away from work doing things you enjoy.
You need to take the time to turn off your phone and relax. BE SELFISH
SOMETIMES AND SAY, “THIS IS MY TIME!!”
support. Whether you reach out to co-workers, friends or loved ones, support and
collaboration might help you cope with life stress and feelings of burnout.
If you have access to an employee assistance program (EAP), take advantage
of the available services.
Assess your interests, skills and passions. An
honest assessment can help you decide on changes you need in your life. Create
a bucket list for yourself. Try and decide what goals you still want to
accomplish in your life. Life is a journey and not a destination.
exercise. Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It
can also help you get your mind off work and focus on something else.
Research has shown that a minimum of 20 minutes of walking is extremely
therapeutic to reduce stress and depression.
sleep. Sleeps restores well-being and helps protect your health. Aim for at least
8 – 9 hours each night.
hydrated - Dehydration can affect your mood along with how your body functions.
why you do what you do. If you were to step out of yourself and look into the window of your life,
what would you see? What things would you tell yourself?
Most importantly, vigilance is a price we must consistently pay.