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COVID Fatigue

COVID burnout.

Yes, it’s a thing.

Regardless of your personal or political views on the topic, COVID has come to impact us more than we anticipated, primarily because it has seeped into every aspect of our lives, altering so much of how we live, work and play.

The last 2 years have seen us weather the initial outbreak up till the latest booster, constantly riding the waves of hope and disappointment whilst dealing with the concern and anxiety for ourselves and loved ones. Of course, we’re all tired and we have every reason to be.

Living in such a prolonged state of heightened alertness and stress impacts our moods and emotions, our physical functions like sleep, and even our immune system, making us more likely to fall ill. To make matters worse, most of us haven’t been able to have a proper break in the last 2 years, with limited travel, WFH and HBL blurring the lines between work, rest and play even more.

But one thing is for sure, the virus is here to stay, what can we do about it?

At work

Take the leave, the time-off, the MC.

And unplug. Truly, unplug.

This means that it doesn’t matter if you’re on a cruise, at a staycation or even at home, resist the urge to check or respond your emails, groupchats or texts. Switch your phone to airplane mode for the duration and keep your laptop away. You are not being irresponsible. Rather, in taking the time to really disconnect, you allow yourself proper rest, which makes you a more efficient worker when you return.

Working while you’re on leave or MC does not give you extra points at work. It only serves to blur the boundaries between work and play more, sending the message to your colleagues/clients/boss that breaks and MCs are inconsequential to you, allowing them to keep up the habit of contacting you regardless.

Do not feel bad about taking leave. Work will always be there, the chance and opportunities to rest and recuperate won’t always be. Your work and office will not crumble without you disconnecting for a few days. And if it did, then the issues at work are bigger than you can fix in the few days you take off anyway.

At home

Sometimes, you just need a break. Some distance. Family is great, if you get along, trickier if you don’t. Either way, space is important.

Carve out boundaries and time to yourself. Doesn’t matter if your living with your parents, roommates, in-laws, children. Personal space and time is crucial to recharge and reconnect with yourself. It can be as simple as finding a space to binge-watch Tiktoks or K-dramas.

If space is limited, find some time to meet friends, go on a date with yourself, have a staycation or do things outdoors that recharge you. Explain to your family that you’ll have greater capacity to be a better team player once you’ve recharged. Take the time to speak to a therapist if you feel completely overwhelmed with everything you have to deal with.

In a time where our worlds have shrunk so much, it’s even more important for us to reclaim our spaces and boundaries. To know when to say no and back away. Sure, none of this will change what COVID has done, or make the pandemic go away. But taking back our space is something within our control. And it makes living with the inevitable, a little more bearable.

Written by: Charmaine M.

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