Today’s topic is pandemic tiredness.
Not that one called quarantine fatigue, but that case, when you’re tired of a pandemic.
Note to self: here in Hungary we don’t have quarantine, either. Just some restrictions, like we cannot go out from 8 pm to 5 am, or we have to use masks even on the street. But as it lasts for 10 months now, along with uneven restrictions, authoritarian moves from the government (in the first wave they began to trow the sick people out of hospitals, „to make space”; they make seemingly random restrictions toward LGBTQ[longest abbreviation on Earth] people, and the list goes on) we get more and more tired of it.
Not exactly because our stress levels do lower (as some studies say), but because stress remains, but with different frames, or even without any frame or face, just because some overall bottleneck-feeling lingers in the air. Pandemic, wars, authoritarian regimes – and everyone shrugs it off as coping because the noise is too big to talk through. This applies especially to environments like Hungary because our government does not like technocrats. We are „in arms” and „heroes” from dusk till dawn, with all the biases this rhetoric necessarily has. Heroically slaloming among inconsistent arrangements, if not downright countermarches, it isn’t easy to stay flexible and practice precautions like they’re your second nature. Even if you don’t know, when will some „new normal” come in circulation?
Will masks and distancing stay with us until we distance ourselves to the grave?
I don’t consider myself an involved extrovert, but this mandatory incubation is a dystopia for me.
The syndrome has versatile subbranches, like the so-called Zoom-fatigue. That’s a blessing we have this innovation, along with the Internet itself, but when it comes to restrictions and mandatories, anything can become a burden. When you have to have Zoom-dance classes with people from the neighboring town that you could visit when there weren’t restrictions (even throughout the summer). Muffing with the laptop to let the colleagues see each other and the master see you tell you if you've got something wrong. Then sit down to the laptop and pretend to chit-chat in the buffet of the cultural center.
The master has one more new cat at home. A black, fluffy one, besides the extant young, red Main Coon.
So that’s not easy, especially because it’s subtle. If you think that small things don’t matter, try to sleep with a mosquito in the room.
To cope, of course, there are methods, but in plenty of cases, you have to find them (out) for yourself. You just cannot apply another – ever so smart and well-rounded – a person’s techniques without any alteration. So here are some methods from UCLA Health:
#1: Take care of your body – in my translation, this is what a base is. You are the base to work with, anything you want to do. If you mess it up, everything will be built on a messed up base. These things are necessarily small, down-to-earth things, not something you show off heroically.
#2: Limit your news intake – in my case that meant I’ve put Facebook off my phone, so now I can use only my more curated Instagram app on the go if I really want to be on my phone (but I often ditch it for the reading of listening to music). If I am on the laptop, I also limit my news intake as I don’t really use my timeline, only the messenger.
#3: Lower your stress - breathing exercises certainly can help. I do that I inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 8 – I began to use this method when I began to work at that inventory job, where 1-2 days an inventory of one place and we had to wake up pretty early to catch the service bus.
Nature walks also can help - every time we go out in the forest with my husband, we ascertain it.
Reading – as the library also closed, I have to admit we have plenty of books here.
#4: Connect with others – well, in the trenches of the pandemic tiredness, this can take us to the Zoom-fatigue, but yes, that’s true. Phone, write, use any channel to communicate. My communication skills are like a log’s, so if even I say this, it has to have it.
#5: Accept your feelings – TRUE. And as you accepted – not yielded to – them, you can work with them. This stands to everything in life, not only what you've felt during a pandemic.
#6: Try positive self-talk – well, on this blog we had an issue with self-talk, and its limits, but as abstract can the method be, as true is that it has to be applied in daily life.
#7: Create new traditions – anything. It’s not something to show off, so they can be small or seemingly ridiculous too.
So no one said this is easy. No one said, there is a magic method, and if someone says so, feel free to ignore them because these are the easiest and falsest things to say in these everyday situations. Life does not work like that. But somehow it works.