22nd April 2020

Blog: What is crisis fatigue and how do I avoid it?

Psychotherapist Revd Canon Peter Wells offers advice on coping with the ongoing emotional impact of the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has completely transformed our lives, our society and our world. Billions of people are feeling confused, anxious and isolated in the face of an uncertain future.

As we juggle family life, our finances and fears about the disease and its impact, we may experience what experts call ‘crisis fatigue’.

What are the effects of crisis fatigue?
  • We may lose interest in life beyond the virus, and dwell on what could happen to us and those we love.
  • We may feel many different and intense emotions that we’re not used to in combination, like anger, panic, boredom and grief.
  • We may sleep badly and wake up with no interest in the day ahead.
  • We may over- or under-eat to help us cope or turn to other unhealthy crutches.
  • These are normal responses – and will be much more manageable if we accept the crisis.

A acknowledge that we’re not in control of events and that there are things we can’t change

C compromise on what we would like to do and work out what we can do

C calm ourselves through positive thinking, voicing our feelings to others and switching our focus

E empathise with others and support them accordingly

P participate in new activities with friends, family and support networks

T trust in ourselves that we are doing our best at a difficult time

What else can I do?

It may also help to:

  • Build a new daily routine, with regular meal and sleep times
  • Exercise, ranging from staying mobile and active through to online workouts
  • Make the most of enjoyable distractions like books, games, podcasts, TV and films
  • Try to check for news updates only once or a few times a day
  • Use phone or video call to reach out to your family and friends
  • Meditate, pray or engage in meditation and mindfulness
  • Talk openly about how you feel, rather than bottling it up or denying it
Walking this road together

We’re not alone – countless people around the world are in the same boat. This crisis may give us a unique opportunity to see just how interdependent and alike we truly are, and how much we all have to gain by putting humanity first.

If we’re kind to ourselves, and those around us, we will come through this together.

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