Suffering from Pandemic Fatigue
It does not help that we are in the middle of an extremely contentious election cycle which has many on edge.
I have spent a lot of time this year on the Repurpose Your Career podcast interviewing people who can help all of us get through this.
I have also been talking to anyone who is willing to talk to me about what they are seeing in the world. We all have some kind of tunnel vision because most of us have been stuck at home with limited social interactions since March.
I know for me this has led to some pandemic fatigue. Before our trip back to Austin in late September, I had started to work on steps I could take to improve my health and well being.
Here are the steps I am taking to help me make it through these difficult times.
Health and Pandemic Fatigue
I am 64 years old and pre-pandemic I had my first physical in about 10 years. Living in Mexico has been very good for my health. I am eating better, exercising more, and the pace of life has reduced my stress levels.
After my first visit with my doctor, she recommended I make a number of changes in my lifestyle and diet as I had low thyroid numbers and that was affecting a number of other results in my blood work. By the way, low thyroid is something my father suffered from much of his life, so this came as no surprise.
I started taking Yodo or Iodine supplements, increased my consumption of fish and specifically Salmon, and started to reduce my alcohol consumption. Pandemic fatigue has caused my alcohol consumption to increase which has a direct correlation to my blood pressure.
My second lab report in July was much improved and I am continuing with the regimen. I will be heading back for a follow up before the holidays.
I am very tall 6’3″ and a former marathon runner. I could no longer run after my bicycle accident in 2002 shortened my one leg by 1/4 of an inch. As a lifelong runner, I am not very flexible. Yoga has always been difficult for me.
I started taking beginners Yoga in 2019 at the Lake Chapala Society (LCS) in Ajijic, Mexico where my wife and I live. That class was discontinued during the winter. My wife took Intermediate Yoga at LCS and that class continued over Zoom at the onset of the pandemic. I now do Intermediate yoga twice a week with the group and it was been a real benefit to both my physical and mental health. In the beginning, it was really difficult but I am slowly seeing results. The changes are really slow but after more than six months I am hooked.
I wrote about this group in my post Community – What Is The Value Of Belonging To One? We go on a strenuous hike every Wednesday and I usually come back as one tired puppy.
About half of this group is significantly older than my wife or me, i.e. they are in their 70s, and they kick my butt climbing these mountains. They are a real inspiration.
We also have a small group of friends that we go out to dinner regularly. Living in an idyllic climate in Mexico, most of the restaurants are either completely outside or are open to the outside. Due to the climate here, we have a relatively low rate of COVID-19, though it is increasing, and it is easy to socially distance.
I also benefit from running the Career Pivot Membership community. The purpose of the community is to help one another through online forums and a variety of Zoom meetings. For me, as the community organizer, I get to interact with so many people on a daily basis that it is great socialization.
I have even joined a cycling group and I hope to forge new friendships besides getting my cycling legs back.
Exercise and socialization have been helping me with pandemic fatigue.
Establishing Healthy Patterns
Early this year, I picked up the book The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, by Mel Robbins.
The author encouraged the readers to establish a pattern in the morning that is initially devoid of electronics. I now get up at the same time each morning, make my coffee, and grab my notepad to plan out my day. It is at least an hour before I pick up my iPhone, iPad, or computer to look at email. This gives me a very healthy pattern to start my day.
When we pick up electronics first thing out of bed, it hijacks our brain and does not allow us the time to properly start the day.
I also follow a simple rule the Liz Greene told me when I interviewed in the podcast episode, Dealing with Stress and Uncertainty with Eliz Greene. That rule is to only consume news from some form of print media. The idea is audio and video news sources know how to emotionally suck you in and keep you glued to the television and radio.
I currently get my news from three printed sources:
We chose not to get any television service when we arrived in Mexico. I do watch PBS News Hour on Youtube every once in a while. I am a recovering news junky but watching the news in 2020 is not mentally healthy.
Re-establishing Old Patterns
I have started to see a chiropractor on a regular basis. Seeing a chiropractor has been a regular routine ever since I ruptured my L4/5 disc in my back in 1992. I discontinued this practice when we moved to Mexico and I can now see in videos and pictures that my posture has deteriorated. I also feel this physically and do not want to continue down this path. Between seeing the chiropractor, regular yoga, and stretching I am re-establishing some healthy patterns.
I have been seeing a periodontist for 25 years. I alternate between seeing a dentist and periodontist every 3 months. This came to an end during the lockdown. The spike in COVID-19 in Texas deterred us from our regular drive back to Austin. When we made our recent trip to Austin, I had not seen my periodontist in over a year.
I was given a clean bill of health but I have made a point to re-establish some oral hygiene practices that I had discontinued due to pandemic fatigue. I will not get into the details but this is all of the normal stuff that many of us stop doing.
Giving Myself Permission to Take a Break
I have now worked for myself for almost 9 years. I have written on this blog in the post, I Work for the Biggest Jerk! Oh That is ME! that working for yourself is not easy.
I have discontinued producing updated posts on Wednesdays and I will only publish 2 podcast episodes a month in November and December.
It is time to take a break and reflect on the year 2020. I will be taking the next couple of months to take care of me, reflect on what has happened in this very strange year, and start to look forward.
Pandemic Fatigue is Not Going Away
The president of Mexico just announced they have signed contracts to acquire vaccines for 90% of the Mexican population but young people will not likely be eligible for the vaccine until 2022.
COVID-19 will be around us for another year or more and we all have to continue to combat pandemic fatigue.
What are you doing to battle pandemic fatigue?