It has been more than six months since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The restrictions which have been set up to emphasize safety can begin to wear on us all, and while there is a natural longing to want to “go back to normal,” there is a new issue to deal with that’s specifically having an effect on older adults: pandemic fatigue.
Pandemic fatigue is caused by trying to manage the numerous intense emotions we have been going through, such as anxiousness, fear, isolation, and despair. It is fatiguing and draining, and can display as:
- Difficulty with getting enough sleep and/or eating appropriately
- Problems with focusing
- Retreating from individuals we care about
- Becoming more argumentative or having a “short fuse”
- Feelings of nervousness, uneasiness, and lack of motivation
- Struggling with racing thoughts
The balance between maintaining the physical health and safety we achieve by self-isolating, and also the emotional health we achieve through socialization and engaging in meaningful activities, isn’t easy to navigate. We have provided some pandemic fatigue coping skills to help both yourself and the seniors you love:
- Acknowledge and accept your emotions. A range of emotions are perfectly normal in a period that feels anything but normal. It can be helpful to name how you’re feeling – even writing it down. Then attempt to refocus your thinking to ways to help. For example, if you are feeling out of control, concentrate your energy on things that you can actually control.
- Improve your inner dialogue. It’s natural to wrestle with a number of negative “what if” scenarios, which bring about heightened anxiety. Try integrating a positive slant to your questions; for instance, in place of thinking, “What if I come down with COVID-19?” tell yourself, “I’ve been doing everything I can to protect myself and stay safe.”
- Stay connected. While social distancing and staying away from one another has become the new normal, it is important to maintain social connections in ways that are safe: phone calls, emailing and chatting on social media, writing letters, and using technology for virtual get-togethers, classes, religious services, etc.
- Turn off the news. It is important to make certain you are up to date regarding the current recommendations, guidelines, and status of the virus, but it is also very easy to quickly become overloaded with too much information. Attempt to restrict your news watching to a maximum of one hour per day, and also make sure the source you’re gaining information from is reliable.
- Take care of yourself. Develop a routine which includes at least seven hours of sleep per night, thirty minutes of exercise a day, and a balanced and healthy diet. You will be supporting both your emotional state and your immune system by simply making good lifestyle choices.
Anthem Home Care, Ingleside senior living experts, is always here to partner with you in providing trusted, dependable elderly care services. Our home care services are provided within the safety and comfort of home, helping senior loved ones improve emotional, physical, and social wellbeing. Whether the need is for just a couple hours every week of respite care to allow family caregivers to rest and recharge, or as much time as needed, up through and including full-time care, call us at 361-643-2323 and let us know how our senior care in Ingleside and the surrounding areas can help.