Vaccination news has dominated headlines for weeks, painting a rosy picture of the near to midterm future, but it is as important as ever to give yourself and your loved ones a mental health check. The holidays are behind us and the reality of pandemic fatigue is starting to set in. The U.S. has already experienced a harsh winter that shows no signs up slowing up, and the emotional stress of work, parenting and school has been draining. Experts say the first step to combatting this fatigue is by identifying and acknowledging the most egregious stressors and addressing those areas first.
One of the primary stressors for individuals is the uncertainty that we all still face. The vaccine is certainly a step in the right direction towards returning us to normalcy, however shifting timelines and changing information makes the future very fuzzy. The small, everyday stress points are starting to add up and traditional relief options such as going to the gym or taking a vacation are widely available. Experts recommend establishing boundaries with whatever is causing the mental health issues, whether it be work, the news, toxic conversations with friends etc., and addressing the boundaries head-on is what will help individuals break out of the pandemic fatigue and lower stress levels as we march through these trying winter months.
Parents and adult workers aren’t the only ones struggling with the mental health fallouts from the pandemic, students are struggling as well. Pine-Richland High School surveyed their senior students about the pandemic, and a shocking 78% said they’ve had mental health concerns over the past year. Over half of the students said remote and hybrid learning is not effective. Isolation, virtual learning and the loss of extracurricular activities are the primary reasons given for the decline in mental health.
Despite the constant barrage of negative headlines there is still plenty of positives to look forward to. Vaccinations are ramping up, and even if they aren’t being administered as quickly as we had hoped for, it’s a good start to getting back to some sort of normalcy. If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering from pandemic fatigue and declining mental health, reach out for support to either loved ones or a professional. Nobody is alone in this and we need to all tackle these irregular circumstances together.