Are you feeling stuck? Tired? Worn out? Unmotivated? Having trouble focusing? These are some of the many signs of burnout. Add a global pandemic on top of the everyday stressors we all contend with and you have a recipe for trouble.
We have reached a point in the pandemic that seems very confusing. Mixed messages continue to abound. So do anger, hatred, violence, and cancel culture. One only needs to turn on the news to usher in another wave of baffling messages. The human body is not designed for chronic stress. Yet, here we are – almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our country remains divided as the fabric of our society seems to be unraveling. Americans cannot seem to agree on anything. To vaccinate or not. To mandate or not. Conspiracy or a natural course of events. Republican or Democrat. The list is endless.
Many people have lost their jobs or survived rounds of layoffs only to absorb their former co-workers’ tasks. Let’s face it – many of us are overwhelmed by the current state of affairs.
In addition to traditional burnout, many of us are experiencing a phenomenon called pandemic fatigue. Experiencing intense emotions, such as loneliness, fear, anxiety, and hopelessness, day after day can result in fatigue. The signs of pandemic fatigue are similar to the signs of burnout. Both syndromes produce a sense of inner exhaustion and are characterized by feelings of helplessness, frustration, and irritability. Behavioral symptoms include changes in sleep patterns, over- or under-eating, impatience with loved ones, and withdrawal from others. Pandemic fatigue is particularly concerning because it might cause you to take risks that you would not take if you were feeling and thinking more like yourself.
Even if you are passionate about your work, burnout can get the better of you. The antidote to burnout is taking the steps necessary to take care of yourself. It is important to realize that taking time for self-care and life balance serve to enhance performance rather than deduct from it.
In order to combat burnout, it is essential to give yourself permission to take breaks, participate in hobbies or activities your enjoy, rest, exercise, eat well, connect with friends and family, and get plenty of routine sleep. Intuitively, we all know what we need and enjoy. Check yourself if you tend to overwork or act like a martyr. All of the above suggestions would also help to buffer pandemic fatigue.
I would, also, advise that you limit your news intake, avoid or limit discussions and debates about the pandemic, reduce technology use, and create new traditions. It is important to acknowledge your feelings and accept them. You might benefit from discussing your feelings with a trusted friend or trained coach. Connection is vital during challenging times. Schedule downtime. Incorporate humor into your daily routine and monitor your self-talk. Develop spiritual practices such as prayer, Scripture reading, religious services, or meditation.
It is important to remember that the people around us are experiencing a lot of stress, too. Practicing patience and kindness toward yourself and others is beneficial to everyone involved.
As a Life & Wellness Coach, I offer confidential, supportive coaching that provides structure and accountability as you reach for your goals. Coaching is a strengths-based approach to assisting clients to navigate transitions successfully and develop excellent self-care techniques.
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