By Dr. Yasir Abunamous,
DocReady Primary Care and Urgent Care Physician
Before 2020, the general population was not wearing face masks in public, maintaining physical distancing, or washing their hands frequently. We’ve been living with the new coronavirus in a “new normal” for months. Entire workforces have seen a radical transformation, individuals have migrated to makeshift home offices, and other folks were asked to take pay cuts, furloughed, or continue putting themselves on the line as essential workers. With the pandemic still surging in much of the United States and the world, it is little wonder that Americans are feeling burnt out.
If you’re among the many that find your energy reserves running low, here are strategies to avoid coronavirus “burnout,” and protect yourself, your family, and others from COVID-19.
1. Have Some Self-Compassion
None of us has ever encountered a global pandemic like COVID-19 before or negotiated indefinite stay-at-home orders, which means we’re discovering our unique responses to this situation for the first time. Being hard on yourself is its own form of stress, so try to notice where perfectionism and overachieving may be adding to your load. Cultivating a little self-awareness to help figure out what you need. This can be as simple as pausing for 10 seconds to check in with how you feel. Pay attention to what triggers you and where your limits are.
Give yourself space to feel and acknowledge how you’re feeling without over-identifying with your emotions. Show yourself kindness by planning one thing to look forward to daily, like a hot bath or a zoom call with a good friend or family member.
2. Prioritize Rest and Downtime
When you’re feeling burnt out, it’s vital to make time for personal resting and recharging. This doesn’t have to be a ton of time each day – for some, just carving out 15 to 20 minutes can make a difference in the daily routine.
● Consider building in time dedicated to refreshing activities, like:
● Go for a walk
● Work on a hobby or craft
● Read a book
● Stretch your body
● Call a friend
● Do a good deed
Make sure you are also prioritizing sleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep one of the DocReady doctors can help discuss ideas to help get your sleep back on track.
3. Limit Media
It is normal to feel the urge to binge on news right now, and it is human nature to have a curiosity about what others are up to. Endlessly reading about the pandemic or scrolling through feeds can have a profound effect on our well-being, and even unconsciously contribute to our stress. Shocking headlines can take a lot of our time and energy, leaving us feeling down and ill-prepared for doing other tasks. Emotions are contagious. For better or worse.
If you want to really rejuvenate, take at least one day a week entirely away from screens. There is something liberating and life-giving about sparing oneself from the constant comparisons, complaints. Rest assured, if anything super important happens, you will still hear about it!
If you are experiencing pandemic fatigue, schedule an appointment with Doc Ready’s telepsychiatrists!
Dr. Yasir Abunamous (“Dr. A”) is a Family Physician who specializes in patient-centered care leveraging the strengths and resources of each individual to optimize and maintain health, and endeavors to restore health during times of illness. He treats patients of all ages (including newborns and infants), with experience in pediatrics and women’s health in addition to general medicine. When not at work, Dr. A spends much of his free time with his beloved family, community members, and friends.