Jim Kendall, LCSW, CEAP, Manager, Work/Life Connections-EAP
Pandemic fatigue is a sobering reality. We all hoped that COVID-19 would be under control by Independence Day but that was wishful thinking.
Emotionally, the increasing surge in COVID-19 positive cases locally and throughout the country has been anxiety provoking and discouraging. Continued uncertainty is hard to handle. We are running a marathon without knowing the total distance of race. It is hard to pace yourself when you don't know the end point.
Coping with this extended problem requires long-term strategies.
- Self-care is not optional. Dr Edward Krall notes in his article "Ten Commandments for Physician Wellness" that we must take charge of our own well-being; we cannot expect even the most caring employer to be responsible to keep us comfortable. Part of our professional obligation is to strive for our own well-being (VUMC Credo).
- Setting attainable well-being goals and implementing that plan is critical. Those goals might include exercise, meditation, nutrition, yoga, mindfulness, prayer, gardening, connections with others, music, reading, or other forms of restoration. Find the right match for you and do it regularly.
- Plan and use your paid time off (PTO) to recharge. While in years past, we may have saved vacation days for travel or going to the beach, that may be less realistic for the foreseeable future. Enjoy experiences with your family, friends, and pets.
- Take a vacation from news and social media. The bombardment of negative and sensational headlines can be overwhelming. There is little need to know the daily tally of coronavirus infections and deaths, unless your job is dependent upon those figures. Political discord will continue whether we follow it daily or not.
- Seek diversions that are healing. Spend time intentionally and do things that give you meaning.
- Create some predictable routines. Focus on managing the things you have control over.
Be kind to yourself as you are trying to adjust to this ever-changing challenge.
If you are finding yourself becoming depressed or struggling with how to cope, contact Work/Life Connections-EAP to set up a confidential appointment with one of our EAP Counselors by calling 615-936-1327.