It was funny when Bill Murray was forced to live the same day over and over in Groundhog Day. It’s not so funny in real life, right now.
We’re all so tired of this virus! There are new terms popping up to describe just how over COVID-19 we are—and with them, new insights that are worth your attention:
- Coronacoaster: The ups and downs of daily living. One day, you’re loving your bubble, working out, baking banana bread and going for walks. The next day, you’re crying and missing people you don’t even like.
- Coronasomnia: Worrying about the health and safety of your loved ones and yourself, social media and news overload, financial uncertainty and helplessness over everything we’ve lost can rob you of much-needed sleep—especially if you’re already prone to insomnia.
- Pandemic fatigue: Months of time and energy spent dealing with our new lifestyle, safety protocols and the need to make good use of this time can leave you feeling exhausted. Lost loved ones. Lost jobs. Missing out on experiences and milestones, such as gathering for graduations, weddings and funerals. Chances are, you’re feeling cooped up or cut off from your usual routines and opportunities to connect with others.
- COVID-19 burnout: The next step up from pandemic fatigue, COVID-19 burnout is the result of excessive, prolonged stress due to the pandemic. You may feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, lacking energy, empty or unmotivated, and unable to meet the basic demands of your day.
With burnout, you may feel more irritable, notice greater conflict in your relationships, or feel like you want to crawl into your bed and never get out. Feeling stuck, exhausted or hopeless, you may have difficulty focusing at work. Are you taking more sick time or feel the urge to quit your job? Is it harder to meet deadlines or work from home?
You may also notice physical symptoms such as back aches, headaches, loss of appetite or sleep problems. You may have difficulty getting things done, socializing or working from home. Even your confidence and ability to cope may seem like it’s evaporating.
“When we thought this health crisis might last just a few months, we psyched ourselves up to cope with it,” says Dr. Paul Nestadt of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Now we understand there’s no definitive end.” The result is taking its toll.
See yourself or someone you know in these descriptions? There are resources available to help:
- If you are experiencing a crisis, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- Talk with your HR department or your manager—they know what resources are available through your company. Over the last several years, employers have been ramping up support. In fact, 45% of well-being budget increases were being allocated to mental and emotional wellness programs and by late last March 68% of organizations had introduced at least one new wellness benefit to aid employees during the pandemic.
- Call 211 or visit 211.org for 24/7, confidential access to support available in your area including help finding food, paying bills and other benefits.
- Search your local health department website for local mental health services.
- Connect with local mental health services through NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. As the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, they can identify services in your community. Call 1-800-950-NAMI or, in a crisis, text NAMI to 741741.
While experiencing mild anxiety, stress and occasional insomnia may be normal, the pandemic has presented us with unfamiliar territory. Check in on your friends, family and coworkers. The loss of our former ways of life and overwhelming uncertainty about the future has affected all of us and we will each respond differently.
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