Do You Have Pandemic Fatigue?
Do You Have Pandemic Fatigue?
It’s been roughly ten months since the Covid-19 pandemic began. First, there was confusion. Then there was panic. Toilet paper flew off the shelves, hand sanitizer was near impossible to find, and everyone was staying in for fear of catching the virus.
But as the days, weeks, and months pass by this hyper-vigilance from the beginning has slowly morphed into “pandemic fatigue.”
What is pandemic fatigue?
Are you exhausted, run-down, irritable, and cranky? Is your concern for neighbors being replaced with a flippant numbness?
Then you may be suffering from pandemic fatigue. We've been isolated. Our internal alarm system has had to stay hyper-aware for too long. It takes a toll on our mental health while some become lax on safety protocol. Some who’ve had enough social distancing are throwing parties and seeing too many people at once.
It is easy to understand this frustration. We are social animals. Extroverts are unhappy because their naturally outgoing disposition is trapped. Introverts may confront depression as an already-withdrawn lifestyle becomes even more withdrawn. Anxiety patients are suffering the most, as they are already worn down by the worries of life.
Some might even suffer a bout of prolonged PTSD.
At Bregman Medical Group, we use the term “Covid Psych Brain” or “CPB” for short. It refers the fatigue caused by this specific pandemic, the likes of which we have not experienced.
As of a few months ago, 40% of people in the US reported having it.
Essentially, CPB is a form of adrenal fatigue. This happens when our adrenal glands work overtime. The adrenal glands produce - you guessed it - adrenaline and cortisol, the chemicals released by the body that make us tense and ready to fend off danger. This “fight or flight” response is starting to burn out after months of indefinite lockdown.
When our bodies are constantly in a state of stress it undermines our immune system - and during a pandemic that is a big problem! How can we take care of our immune systems while the pandemic rages on?
2 Major Takeaways
First, everything begins in the mind. We need to change our thinking from catastrophe to compassion. Keeping an altruistic attitude is proven to boost the mood and give an edge to cognitive performance. Obviously, compassion helps not only us but our communities. Although 2021 is afoot and vaccines are beginning to roll out, we still have to adhere to safety measures. We’re not out of the woods yet! Get off the gloomy social media and instead use the phone to call loved ones or set up a zoom hangout with friends.
Secondly - take care of your adrenal glands! This is done in a number of ways. For example, if you like to take vitamin supplements, try vitamins B2 and B6. Both are known to regulate cortisol production. And if you’re taking supplements why not begin with a healthy diet? Foods that help our adrenal health include non-starchy vegetables (eg. spinach, carrots, celery, etc.), fish, and yogurt. Combine this with some relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation and a good night’s sleep.
Pandemic fatigue can seem like too much for self-care measures to address. In this case, it is best to reach out to a mental health professional. Bregman Medical Group offers online psychiatry and therapy to your device! Schedule an appointment online at www.bregmanmd.com/appointment or call 305-740-3340.