VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — When former First Lady Michelle Obama announced she has low-grade depression because of COVID-19, it echoed with what two local mental health professionals in Virginia Beach said about something called “COVID fatigue.”
“[COVID-19] just doesn’t seem like it’s ending. Every day, you know, we’ve talked about where past traumas, there was a start and maybe an endpoint. Now, it just seems like it’s never-ending,” says Megan Sweeney, a licensed professional counselor at Fairfield Psychological Associates.
“I think social media plays a huge role in this, like never before, because there is so much information and a lot of it is nonsense,” says Justin Ray, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Fairfield Psychological Associates.
“I’ve encouraged people to not pay so much attention to social media and some patients have actually even deleted certain apps off their of their phone,” says Sweeney.
By deleting social media apps from your phone like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, Sweeny explains that you no longer have the apps at your fingertips. You have to make the effort to go to your computer or table to log in.
Another way to battle COVID fatigue is to simply take a breath and make good decisions about where you are getting your information.
“I would just tell people to remain calm, you know, watch credible news sources, get your information from credible places and realize that we’re in an ever-changing, fluid situation,” says Ray.
“If you’re even playing [the news] in the background all day long, kids, the family, they hear it. Like, it might be background noise, however, they’re retaining a lot of that information, or they’re even seeing people having raised tones on the TV,” says Sweeney.
Focusing on the good things in life is also a way to combat COVID fatigue.
“COVID-19 may trigger anxiety and depression, but it also has the ability to trigger resilience and recovery as well. Like, if we can keep day to day mentality, being in the positive, knowing that the situation is fluid, we are a resilient people and we will prevail. This will pass,” she says.
Sweeney also suggests focusing on one day at a time rather than looking too far into the future right now. She suggests meditation, yoga, or even just taking a moment with your tea or coffee to sit outside and take a breath.
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