Are you tired of hearing the phrase “new normal”? It’s not just the saying that’s the problem. The fact is many people are overwhelmed, exhausted, and still feeling unadjusted to this post-COVID existence. So if hearing the term “new normal” aggravates you, then you might be suffering from COVID burnout — and you aren’t alone.
COVID: More than a Pandemic
The idea of catching COVID is terrifying. With so many unpredictable health outcomes, everyone is trying to be mindful of protecting themselves and those they love. Navigating this existence is even harder when you have people who are at high risk in your family.
Experts talk about the harrowing numbers of this global pandemic but rarely discuss the side-effects of living in a world with so many new precautions, fears, uncertainty, and life-altering outcomes. People have been forced to isolate, choose circles, make tough holiday decisions, lose jobs, work from home, juggle childcare issues, and more. What’s worse is that our coping mechanisms such as exercise, group sports, and social outings are limited or have come to an abrupt stop.
The Stages of COVID Burnout
According to Psychology Today, burnout, by definition, is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.
We now live every day with heightened anxiety, depression, and chronic stress from coping with the existence of this virus. The outcome of this prolonged chronic stress and worry is burnout. Even if you aren’t prone to depression or anxiety you’ve likely felt the disappointment and inconvenience of life being different due to COVID. Eventually, it all adds up.
So how do the traditional stages of burnout relate to COVID and the “new normal”? The truth is that they are very closely correlated.
1. Honeymoon Phase: Undertaking a new task with commitment, energy, and a sense of purpose. When COVID first hit, many of us felt like this was temporary. We were scared, but we pulled together for the greater good. Front line workers and essential staff were applauded, cheered on, and referred to as heroes. People masked-up, stocked up on Hand Sanitizer, and respected social distance.
2. The onset of Stress: Optimism fades while physical, mental, and emotional changes set in. While we tried to stay positive, there was a lot of miscommunication. Every day it felt like rules were changing. We started to feel like we didn’t have the support to get through this phase of our lives. For some, this meant job loss, and for others, it meant losing a business they worked so hard to achieve. With so much uncertainty from students to professionals, we all started to feel a strain. Yet we put on a smile and most days found ways to “joke” about our new boredom and challenges on Instagram & TikTok.
3. Special Treatment & Anger: Some people went about life unfazed. We would see friends gathering together in large groups, people incorrectly wearing masks at the stores, social distancing was no longer respected in public spaces. You may have experienced resentment knowing your neighbour had job security or was still having regular get-togethers while you were suffering. Teens or young adults shifted the mean age of COVID by not following protocols. We no longer had a shared goal that we were working toward. People started to turn on each other.
4. Chronic Stress & Exhaustion: As we embark on what could be a second lockdown, we no longer feel the gusto of “We’ve got this”! Rather, we feel defeated like there is no end in sight. We feel weary, cynical, and apathetic. Ask yourself this: Have you driven all the way to a store to run errands and walked inside only to realize you have forgotten your mask? Are you tired of disinfecting your groceries before you put them away? Do you feel anger when you realize Toilet Paper is flying off the shelves and stores have enforced buying-limits again?! Are your hands sore and chapped from all the Hand Sanitizer? If one more person posts a recipe for homemade banana bread, are you going to puke? It is exhausting.
Welcome to COVID Burnout
So here we are. Feeling exhausted and angry. Wondering, are we normal or do we have a weak disposition? The truth is that we have all fallen into some stage of COVID burnout. Only now are people starting to talk about it, and studies are being conducted. Forbes recently published a fantastic article in which studies showed 75% of workers have experienced burnout, with 40% saying it was directly due to the coronavirus pandemic. You are in good company.
One of the most dangerous symptoms of COVID burnout is that we become apathetic after months of dealing with all these new expectations and changes. We long for the way things were and our frustration and exhaustion take over. This is when we let our guard down and stop doing the things we need to do in order to protect ourselves and stop the spread. Which of course results in the rising numbers we see and a never-ending cycle repeating itself.
Burnout Signs & Symptoms
- Chronic Fatigue
- Forgetfulness & Impaired Concentration
- Digestive Issues
- Increased Illness
While many aspects of our lives currently feel uncertain, there are things within your control to cope with COVID burnout. In our next blog post, we will help you alleviate burnout symptoms and improve your overall health and wellness while we wait out this never-ending season. In the meantime, you aren’t alone. DSANDA offers multiple practitioners and holistic health modalities under one roof. Contact our clinic today or book online now.