Pandemic Fatigue and Mental Health

23 March 2021 Leave your Thoughts

Recently, March 11, marked a year since the WHO determined that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. It has also been more than a year since Spain declared a state of alarm and home confinement. After so many months of uncertainty, we all began to notice it on a psychological level.

Pandemic Fatigue is a new term coined by the WHO that describes it as the lack of motivation to follow recommended protective behaviors, which gradually emerges over time and is defined by a series of emotions, experiences and perceptions.

In other words, it is the fatigue derived from exhaustion that hypervigilance is creating and the consequences in our daily lives of a virus that nobody sees, but that we all know is there.

And it is that, in Spain (as well as in other countries), we have gone through different phases during this year:

First, a quarantine that lasted almost 3 months and that kept us all locked at home, unable to go out except to buy, work or care for third persons in need.

Then, at the national level, a de-escalation in summer that, after the growing rise in cases, caused a hardening  in the measures against COVID since September and that keeps us with changing curfews and perimeter closures.

And in our day to day: keeping distances, hand washing, mask, hydroalcoholic gel, weeks and even months without being able to see our loved ones, COVID detection tests in the presence of symptoms and all the care in the world to not get infected.

Other countries have followed differnt measures, but, ultimately, it is clear that there is a common factor: this situation is generating enormous pressure and uncertainty that has direct consequences on our mental and physical health: stress, anxiety, abuse of substances such as alcohol or tobacco, depression, insecurity, etc. In short, we all suffer to a greater or lesser degree from the so-called pandemic fatigue.

One way or another, we all end up asking the same question over and over again: How long will the pandemic last? The word “fatigue” comes precisely from that long-term uncertainty.

 

How long will the pandemic last?

Experts can’t  get into an agreeement on the duration of the pandemic. This is mainly due to the fact of the vaccination rates, the number of inhabitants, as well as the characteristics and intrinsic circumstances of each country are different.

Some experts assure that, if a strict vaccination process is followed, by the end of summer 2021 we will be able to begin to have “herd immunity” – reaching 60-70% of the vaccinated population – in some countries such as Spain or the United States. and that, therefore, by the end of 2021 we can return to normality.

Other experts indicate that some countries could take up to 7 years to return to normality, especially those poorest that have greater problems accessing vaccines.

Mike Ryan, WHO Director of Health Emergencies, also warns us that vaccines alone will not be able to do all the work and we will continue to need prevention measures and individual responsibility so that the pandemic ends as soon as possible.

 

How can we reduce pandemic fatigue?

We must take care of our psychological and physical well-being more than ever to reduce this pandemic fatigue. It seems logical, but hypervigilance and stress leave us exhausted, resulting in neglect of our most basic needs.

To improve our general well-being, we must:

  1. Eat a good diet.
  2. Exercise.
  3. Mark us sleep routines.
  4. Separate our different areas of life.
  5. Do not fall into self-demand or obsession.

The former are logical, but in this age in which we live, the issue of self-demand is especially important. It has become essential to learn not to be hard on ourselves. If one day a certain activity cannot be carried out, nothing happens, we must stop and think that the situation is not optimal and that we will not be able to give 100% of ourselves as before.

It’s also important to relax our conversations around COVID-19. We know that it is complicated, since it is part of our day to day and is our main concern, but reducing the times we talk about it helps us to disconnect and not have it so present.

 

What if I think I may have caught it?

We know that considering the simple possibility is scary, and it is not for less considering the havoc that this disease can cause.

We must always follow the official recommendations of Health and, in the face of the slightest symptoms, do not hesitate to take a COVID detection test.

In the end, a way to reduce our anxiety and the uncertainty of fighting against something that is invisible at first glance, goes hand in hand with taking a test and seeing that we are negative, or in the case of positive, being able to take all the necessary measures and not produce more infections or deaths.

Getting tested for COVID and following prevention measures are the only tools at our disposal to stop the pandemic!

Life Length has been running all the tests since the beginning of the pandemic; serological tests such as ELISA or Rapid Antibody Test or diagnostic tests such as PCR or Rapid Antigen Test.

We are in Madrid carrying out the tests 7 days a week, so, for everyone’s peace of mind, you can always book your appointment with us at any time.

 

Reference Arcticles:

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