It is the third year of the pandemic, and the third wave of COVID-19 cases in India. It is understandable if you feel desensitised to the numbers and chaos around you. 

It is also natural to feel exhausted with all the demands the pandemic has placed on you - continuous vigilance for safety, wearing masks all the time, restricted movement, and conflicting public awareness messages, just to name a few. 

You may be experiencing what is known as pandemic fatigue. Let’s find out more about it. 

What is Pandemic Fatigue?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines pandemic fatigue as “demotivation to follow recommended protective behaviours, emerging gradually over time and affected by a number of emotions, experiences and perceptions.”

Thus, pandemic fatigue is the present situation where people are getting increasingly frustrated about the prolonged continuous restrictions and are thus demotivated to comply with simple instructions to keep themselves and others safe during the pandemic.

Pandemic fatigue builds up over a period of time and social, cultural, economic, and administrative factors propel its growth. 

It is being experienced not only in India - it is a global phenomenon. Remember that pandemic fatigue is a completely natural response during such times. 

In times of crisis, as seen at the beginning of the pandemic, fear and survival skills may have kept you going. But the fear cannot be sustained over time and under prolonged extraordinary stress, you can feel frustration, exhaustion, and complacency setting in.

Tips to Deal With Pandemic Fatigue

1. Accept that the pandemic is here to stay. It will be your new reality for quite some time, even with vaccination. Living in denial of the effect of this pandemic on your life will only make it worse. 

2. Recognise signs of pandemic fatigue. Excessive tiredness despite adequate rest, increased isolation from loved ones, and feeling a general lack of productivity are all signs. 

Identify the signs and seek corrective measures before the pandemic fatigue leads to maladaptive behaviour.

3. Reach out to your loved ones and friends. Be it on the phone or through video calls, if you cannot meet them. This will help in easing the sense of loneliness and isolation from the world. 

4. Create new routines and stick to them. Having a routine during such times can be immensely helpful for keeping your mental health in check. 

5. Restrict consumption of news and social media. Decide what information you want to consume, and avoid news that triggers you. 

Check the news only once a day and find reliable sources for it. Stay away from doomscrolling. 

6. Focus on your physical and mental health. Do not stop exercising, even if you cannot go out or to the gym. Find ways for meaningful movement at home. Physical activity also works to keep your mental health in check. Seek help from a mental health professional if you feel overwhelmed. 

7. Continue to maintain COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. By now, you must know a lot of people who have suffered because of COVID-19, or you may have got it yourself, in spite of being vaccinated. 

Only consistent precautionary behaviour and following the science can create a way out of this pandemic. So do not loosen up on the COVID-19 protocol. 

Mask up, keep a safe distance from others, and wash/sanitise your hands frequently. Get vaccinated if you haven't yet. Remember, your responsible behaviour can help you as well as others.  

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.