Pandemic Fatigue, or Coronavirus Burnout, is a thing. After all these months of somehow dealing with the fears around it, possibly working remotely or having to go into the office when you don’t want to, and having explored all the ways to make sourdough — you’re exhausted. If you want a listing of things to do to counter boredom, try this article instead: “ So you say you’re bored… “ However, if you want ideas to help energize your life, lift your spirits and keep you feeling resilient or flexible with all the on-going changes.
Dearest adventurer, gather up your curiosity. Let’s explore things that bring you joy, stress relief options, open you up to being playful, or new things to try. Our immune system is boosted when we reduce stress, anxiety and shots of drama. Practicing self-care is not optional, it’s a must. The world needs you to “fill your cup first” so that you have the energy to inspire others.
(Remember, I am not a doctor. If any of these things might impact your health, check with a doctor first! Also, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you choose to buy any of the things listed that way, I may receive a commission. I crowd-sourced some of the following ideas from other small business-women. I offer you links to them because I feel they are worthy, not for other compensation.)
Take a break
A common piece of advice is to turn off the news and take a break from tech. Easier said than done, sometimes. Especially with the firehose of politics that filled the airwaves. Plus our reliance on tech to connect with others.
After Sophia Davis of London, watched ‘Social Dilemma’ on Netflix, she acted. This article, “ Take Control,” offers tips to break the addictions, and to take care while using devices and being on social media. She followed their instructions on changing her phone screen, turning off the push notifications and her screen is grey. Sophia says “It was actually quite a shock to my whole system, particularly my eyes when the colour disappeared. Suddenly it wasn’t pulling me in. I think we underestimate the levels of impact these details have on us. None of them are without motive to make you use your phone more, become more engaged and spend more money. Knowing this matters. Making the changes you need to make to take care of yourselves, matter.”
Zoom meetings getting you down? Lift them up with child-like fun! Shannon Loucks suggests having a bubble gum blowing contest in your next video gathering. That would shake things up! (Want more ideas? Shannon’s book may be aimed at parents, but it’s great for your inner child too! Check out her book Love More: 50+ ways to Build Joy into Childhood)
Move a muscle, change a thought
Feeling stuck in your house, immobilized by boredom or mired by inner fears can do damage to your self-confidence. You sit in front of the computer more than ever, and after a while you discover everything feels heavier — not just your weight but your thoughts. The anti-dote? As they say, ‘move a muscle, change a thought.’ Here are some options when getting out to your gym or yoga class isn’t the option.
Do you aimlessly wander the house? Julie Court Jacob, photographer, says this is one of her pandemic side-effects. If you find you wander too, why not do it differently? Do it backwards. Or in the dark. This might just be the jolt you need to discover a purpose.
Constantly washing your hands is, technically, moving muscle. But this habit can use a little more self-care. Why not try giving yourself a quick massage? Touching your skin also is a way to feeling better.
- Massage your hands when you put lotion on (Source: Self Massage by The Healthy)
- Clasp your fingers together and rub the bottoms of your palms together in a circular motion to target the bottom of your palms.
- Without unclasping your hands, use your thumb to rub the area under the thumb of the opposite hand. Work outward in circular motions toward the center of your palm, then repeat on the other hand.
- Pull your hands apart and knead your wrists, palms, and the area between your fingers with your thumbs and index fingers.
- Gently tug each finger one by one, and finish by pinching the webbing between each finger.
Want to share the fun? Learn how to give a hand massage to others in your bubble. Janelle Woodlief offers a free hand massage video when you sign up on her site: JenelleWoodlief.com
Years ago, I learned how moving my fingers on certain acupressure spots helped me get through some tough times. You can do it alone, or have a guide. I watch Nick Ortner videos. He just came out with one that seems helpful for Pandemic Fatigue: How TAPPING Can Help Reduce Stress & Anxiety About Coronavirus
“You can be happy and laugh, or you can laugh and be happy.” My new instant access to an endorphin hit — laughter yoga! Since writing about these classes (“Laughter Yoga — Fake It Until You Make It”) I’ve taken more. At my suggestion, my clients have too. Everyone found it impactful. You should try it!
Being inside for several months, you’ve probably tried all the online classes for yoga or other traditional forms of routine movement. But have you considered something more fun? What about a hula hoop? During my travels I did learn it can be done in hotels and living rooms. Add some dance music, and you have a way to bring yourself some joy. Geri McNiece of aRoundJoy.com (“ Following Her Hula Hoop Passion”) will not only teach you the basics, but she will custom make a hula hoop for you! If you want more inspirations, Shannon Loucks also suggests these videos: Inside the Hoop
Here’s something surprising that will shake you and help you loosen up the grip terror may have on you. Tara Dancer (also not a doctor) suggests “playing a little rough with fears” by taking a cold shower or immersing yourself in a tub of cold water. Sound challenging? I bet it would shake things up! Fun with Terror! Daily Fear Ritual and Even Deeper Fun with Terror — The Cold Tub!
Meet a Plant for Pandemic Fatigue Relief
Get out in nature is an oft repeated suggestion. Fay Johnstone, author of Plants That Speak, Souls That Sing says one way to counter stress, is to try getting grounded by connecting with plants. The easiest ones to “meet” are trees. Play in them. Climb them. Hug them. Feel their bark. Notice all their colors. Inhale their scent. Stand with them and feel rooted. After getting to know your local trees, what inspirations do you have for meeting more plants?
Do you yearn for travel, but with all the restrictions you know it’s challenging and sometimes impossible? Many people associate adventure with travel (although you, dear reader, know it’s more than going somewhere, it’s a life perspective). Maybe you already speak other languages, or have tried the many apps out there. Or virtually visited one too many online museums. From what many have told me, the desire for travel includes activity. Here are some ideas to get you back to being motivated.
Kait Murphy suggests learning about a country with someone from that country. She recently learned how to cook an Italian meal with an Italian chef in Italy! Kait believes there are more companies out there, but she enjoyed Pasta Pietro
Bored with seeing your home? Why not switch homes with someone you know? I’m not saying use one of those sites, or anything like in the movie “The Holiday.” You may feel the need to deep clean before you offer your place up, and that will get you reinvested in your space. Or just not having all the familiar things nearby for a week will inspire you.
Have you travelled before? Or dream about a special location? Why not write a travel article about it? Study how others write about travel, and apply your experiences and photos. If it’s a future trip, write as if you’ve already been. (This is one of those “manifesting” tips!) Share the article with friends and family. Maybe be even more daring and submit it to a publication (printed or online).
Travel in Your Home
Travel in your home on wheels. RV sales have skyrocketed in the past few months. Why not visit an RV dealer to check out what appeals to you? Do research. Online ads abound with used RVs (remember the adage — buyer beware!).
We bought a vintage Airstream and are completely revamping it into our home. Working on the renovation has been my sanity saver these last few months. Check out her progress on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wednesdaytheairstream/
Anne-Marie got the bug to try the vanlife after a long-distance road trip (just before the pandemic hit late last winter). Over the summer she and her husband rented a camper-van (check out Escape Campervans for more info on this). Knowing they wanted to spend months with family in Canada over the winter, they bought a cost-efficient truck with a camper. Ann-Marie says taking their time and staying at wineries, farms and even museums was not only pandemic-friendly, but satisfying. She recommends if you are going to try this, to explore Harvest Hosts.
Exploring locally is an adventure. I like to say that your backyard is someone else’s place to travel and be a tourist. My favorite is discovering murals painted on the sides of buildings. You can walk or drive by them — no others within 6' needed! Find one near you in this comprehensive listing “ Mural Walks “
Bryna Campbell, co-creator of Super Nature Adventures also loves exploring local. She and her husband created this free downloadable “ Monument Lab Field Trip “ which is a great way to explore any city and learn outdoors or virtually. Seeing routine things, such as the statue you pass daily, in a new way can shift your perspective on other parts of your life.
The most interesting suggestion for travel came from entrepreneur Lis Lis of London. Lis commented to try Lucid Dreaming. No, it’s not a form of mind-altering drug. It means to be aware of your dreams enough to somehow participate in it. The movies “Inception” and “Vanilla Sky” use this to create an in-depth thriller that challenges one’s perception of reality vs. dreaming. However, when regular people try it, more often you get insights into your fears and your desires. Or awareness of how creative your brain truly is!
Getting creative gives you something to focus on and gives your brain a chance to rest from all that fearful thinking. One of my favorite ways to get out of my head (where fears and worry live) and into my heart (where joy lives) is to make something artistic. Not just think differently, but to physically create something. Inspiration comes from all over.
Reinvent Your Clothes
Marz Katz of New York City creates amazing costumes. Some of the severe restrictions where she lives has limited where she can wear her designs. But it hasn’t limited her imagination. Marz’s tip is to reinvent clothing you no longer wear. This can mean turning old shirts into a quilt (which is what I would do) or find ways to dye your old wedding dress and upcycle it into trend-setting fashion.
A Canadian photographer was denied her travel to Africa because of the pandemic. She turned to her domestic animal, learned some new technology, and created viral YouTube videos! Pluto Living has been very entertaining for thousands, and has spawned many other similar videos. Do you have a pet? Why not create videos, or an Instagram account? Do it for fun, and who knows — maybe you too will have extra income or an adoring global audience. Or maybe you will make yourself laugh! Pluto Living
Art therapists often use drawing to help clients bypass their brains and tap into their subconscious. Doodling can be used for stress relief (See “ Play Anxiety Away”) Professional artist Lea K. Tawd faced many times when she stared at a blank page or canvas. Drawing from her 20 years of inspirations, she created a workbook to help others called “Creativity Unstuck” . Her favorite tip is “ try to make something ugly on purpose. Letting go of the results allows you to explore in a whole new way and really enjoy the process.”
Creative over a Cup of Joe
There are so many ways to be creative. My best discovery during these last few months for inspiration, learning and satisfying my need for doing something new has been a site called “Creative Mornings.” As they say “Find your people. Every month, we gather in 222 cities across 67 countries, for free.” There are so many offerings, you are bound to find your adventure, your special spark that will lift you out of the Coronavirus Burnout.
Adventure Attitude to counter Pandemic Fatigue
One of the benefits of seeing life as an Adventure is that you develop resiliency when times are tough. You bounce back faster. You see that, even when the world seems upside down, a good laugh helps lift you. Honoring your need to play and have fun will refresh and re-energize your brain, especially when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. When you reduce your stress, you boost your immune system. An adventure mindset helps you stay flexible, adaptable and open to change. Life, after all, is an Adventure. May some of the tools & tips offered here help you shift your fatigue into positive energy for living.