COVID fatigue: ‘I’m getting really tired of this’

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- As society moves together towards the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic many people are experiencing COVID fatigue. So, what is COVID fatigue?

“If you think about what the word fatigue itself simply means is being tired, exhausted, often fatigue involves feeling overwhelmed and I think it fits very appropriately with what all of us have been experiencing at one point or another, or continue to experience,” said Dr. Joseph Di Lullo.

Dr. Di Lullo, a psychiatrist at St. Peter’s Health Partners, said many of his clients have begun their telehealth sessions with “I’m getting really tired of this.”

“I think that on one level or another the majority of patients are certainly experiencing a certain degree of fatigue, of frustration, particularly with the isolation. People who live alone and have relied on contact with others, going outside or other people coming in to visit are suffering,” he said.

Fight COVID fatigue

  • Continue self-care routines like grooming, exercise, or meditation.
  • Practice “an attitude of gratitude” every day. Start the day with some thoughts of what you’re grateful for or positive thoughts.
  • Look for things that inspire feelings of hopefulness about the future.
  • Be kind and help others.

Because people, as a whole, crave routine, Dr. Di Lullo said the unpredictability of COVID-19 has created an underlying collective fear. Not knowing who will become infected, how severe the symptoms will be, and the threat of hospitalization or death creates anxiety.

To get additional support

“There’s this collective exhaustion of just the progression of this illness and trying to prevent its transmission and then on a social level there’s been this fatigue of wearing a mask, not wearing a mask, and all the conflicts that have arisen over that topic alone,” said Dr. Di Lullo.

Although well-intentioned, confronting a loved one, family member, or friend about changes in their personality may increase their feelings of anxiety. An approach using caution, gentleness, and affection is the best way to help someone.

How to help someone with COVID fatigue

  • Suggest a walk or activity in a comfortable environment.
  • Begin the conversation by talking about your own experiences and feelings. It’s also important to talk about losses or sacrifices. This creates space for the other person to share their experiences or feelings.
  • If the opportunity arises, ask the person if they feel like they might benefit from a further conversation or speaking to a professional.

“The least effective and helpful thing to do is confronting them head-on,” Dr. Di Lullo said. Using phrases like “You really need to get help,” or “You really need to talk to someone because you’re really irritated and cranky” is not helpful for someone dealing with COVID fatigue.

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