It’s been half a year now since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The restrictions that have been established to emphasize safety can begin to wear on us all, and although there is a natural tendency to want to “go back to normal,” there is a new issue that is having an effect on seniors: pandemic fatigue.
Pandemic fatigue comes from attempting to manage the numerous intense emotions we have been experiencing, such as anxiousness, fear, loneliness and isolation, and hopelessness. It is tiring and draining, and may display as:
- Difficulties with getting adequate sleep and/or eating appropriately
- Problems with focusing
- Retreating from individuals we care about
- Becoming more argumentative or having a “short fuse”
- Feelings of anxiety, edginess, and lack of motivation
- Struggling with racing thoughts
The balance between preserving the physical health and safety we accomplish by self-isolating, in addition to the emotional health we realize through socialization and participating in meaningful activities, isn’t always easy to navigate. We’ve provided some suggestions to help both yourself and the seniors you love combat pandemic fatigue:
- Accept and acknowledge your emotions. A variety of feelings are completely normal in a period that feels anything but normal. It can be helpful to name how you are feeling – even writing it down. Then make an effort to refocus your thoughts to techniques to help. For instance, if you’re feeling out of control, concentrate your energy on things that you are able to control.
- Change your inner dialogue. It is natural to wrestle with a number of negative “what if” scenarios, which lead to increased anxiety. Try incorporating a positive slant to your thoughts; for instance, rather than thinking, “What if I come down with COVID-19?” tell yourself, “I have been doing everything I can to protect myself and remain safe.”
- Stay connected. While social distancing and staying away from one another has become the new normal, it is critical to maintain social connections in ways that are safe: telephone calls, emailing and chatting on social media, writing letters, and making use of technology for virtual get-togethers, classes, religious services, etc.
- Turn off the news. It’s important to make certain you’re updated on the latest recommendations, guidelines, and status of the virus, but it is also very easy to quickly become inundated with too much information. Make an effort to limit your news watching to a maximum of an hour a day, and also make sure the source you’re gaining information from is reliable.
- Take good care of yourself. Create a routine that includes at least 7 hours of sleep per night, 30 minutes of exercise daily, and a balanced and healthy diet. You will be helping both your emotional state and your immune system by making good lifestyle choices.
At-Home Care Company is always available to partner with you in providing trusted, dependable independent living home care in Ames and the surrounding communities. Our home care services are provided in the comfort and safety of home, helping older adults increase emotional, physical, and social wellbeing. Whether the need is for just a couple of hours each week of respite care allowing family caregivers to rest and recharge, or as much time as needed, up through and including full-time care, email us or give us a call at (515) 292-2650 and let us know how our senior helpers in Urbandale and the surrounding areas, can help.