In early March of 2020, when most of us began social distancing, the hope was that life would get back to normal after just a few weeks. It’s become clear now that some distancing will be needed for many more months, or even years, to keep the COVID-19 at bay. But quarantine fatigue is real. Abstaining from all social contact for the long haul won’t be a sustainable option for most people. So, how can we make decisions about socializing during the coronavirus pandemic? Learn here what must be done while making the transition from social distancing to the new normal.
TC46 connected with Dr Parul Tank, Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai to shed more light on this recent phenomenon of COVID-19 fatigue. Here she enlightens us about the new norms and how to make the pandemic transition smoothly.
1. COVID-19 fatigue can be seen in everyone
We see COVID-19 fatigue in medical professionals, the ones dealing with the pandemic for more than a year from the front, shielding the general public at large. In this condition, people tend to feel emotionally overwhelmed, drained out due to morbidity and high mortality rate.
COVID-19 continues to be a part of our lives today. With new variants emerging, it is affecting our daily lives in multiple aspects. A significant number of people lost their jobs, families, savings owing to the pandemic. Naturally, there is also a rise in exhaustion from long working hours and the same surroundings. We can say that during this unforeseen pandemic, many have become anxious or mildly depressed.
2. Different people have different reactions to COVID-19 frustration
Staying locked away or confined in the four walls of your home may make one feel frustrated. There are different kinds of people around us, and their reactions to the current situation are also different. Some people now want to socialise on various occasions, travel, meet up with friends and family after being deprived of it for more than a year.
At the same time, there’s another set of highly anxious people in social interactions who have a constant lingering fear of COVID19. It will take some time for such feelings to subside and feel genuinely comfortable in social situations.
3. Follow all basic COVID-19 protocols
You have to follow the basic COVID-19 protocols. Since malls, restaurants, cinema halls, public transports are opening, people will instinctively go out. Hence, everyone must follow the below-mentioned points to stay safe and keep others safe:
- Wear double maks, even if you are fully vaccinated. Don’t take off your masks when in a gathering or among the public
- Keep sanitizing hands and maintain good hand washing hygiene
- Follow physical distancing when travelling
- Sanitize your belongings (phone, wallet, bag) after reaching home from outside
- Avoid going out frequently unless necessary
4. The risk persists post complete vaccination
Even if you’re fully vaccinated, the risk of getting infected or infecting another individual with COVID-19 persists. You will have to wear your masks, wash your hands, and avoid unnecessary travelling. When making decisions about social contact during the coronavirus pandemic, you will need to weigh the risk of the interaction against the potential benefits to your overall health.
5. Take measures to preserve your mental health
With a year and a half into this pandemic, people are wary about the future, the uncertainty looming around it and feel worried. Distressing news from different parts of the world, where other variants are causing havoc, makes people apprehensive about returning to normalcy like the pre-COVID times. It is natural and easy to feel burned out or not in control while in a public health crisis.
To feel better, exercise regularly, express yourself through any means you wish to (write a journal, draw, dance, sing, whatever makes you comfortable). Try not to keep watching news or shows which cause more stress, don’t shut yourself out from the world completely, talk to friends & family via video calls if they’re far away.
6. Get vaccinated and travel with precaution
If you commute daily to the office and are socially active, don’t forget to wear double masks and maintain COVID-19 safety protocols when out in the public. It might be difficult for some to wear two masks for long hours, but remember that’s our most efficient safety net, and keep physical distance. Lastly, get your vaccine shots on time.
7. Keep yourself aware and updated
Stay aware and updated about your surroundings & make conscious choices for yourself and those around you, their benefits. If you are scared about meeting people in a gathering, there is no need to feel pressured to do something you don’t feel like doing. Try to keep tabs on what’s happening with the community spread where you live. For example, pay attention to whether the number of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are high or low, or increasing or decreasing.
8. Be responsible for your actions
In the end, most of us end up doing what we want. You have to be the best judge and critic of every decision you make. Be responsible for your actions. If cases around you are rising, don’t go out unless it’s a necessity. Keep a tab of happenings around you. Wear your protection gear every time you step out and encourage others around you to do the same if they aren’t. This is a collective effort. Every individual must take it upon themselves to do their bit to defeat the virus.