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Published on March 22, 2022

pandemic fatigue illustration

Pandemic Fatigue and Anxiety Go Hand in Hand

Even when case numbers are dropping, the stress and anxiety of the last two years won’t just magically go away.

“Even everyday things, like planning a vacation, can lead to increased stress,” said Wallace Jackmon, PhD, LP, a Clinical Psychologist and Avera Psychology Director with Avera Medical Group University Psychiatry Associates in Sioux Falls. That’s because change itself is a stressor. In fact, several changes that usually increase anxiety include things like:

  • Changes in environment
  • Changes in health medication and/or dietary changes
  • Any changes in psychological or social stress levels

“In the pandemic, all three of these things were part of our daily lives, and that’s why more people are having issues,” he said. “It’s often worse for people who already have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression.”

Coping Comes in Many Forms

The good news is any of us can find methods to overcome the worries, even when they are about things we cannot control. Here are a few ideas to help you cope:

  • Exercise and regular workouts
  • Mind-body exercise and mindfulness
  • Prayer and scripture reading
  • Talking to a friend
  • Drinking plenty of water and eating nutritional foods

“If you can find a support system, friends or family members who you can share with – do so,” Jackmon said. “Divide your worries. Focus on those things that you can control, and learn how to cope with things you cannot control.”

Naturally, we seek to restore the way things were “before” or when they were “normal.”

“When it’s hard to say what ‘normal’ is or when we might see it again, that can add to our worries,” he said.

Focus on problems you can solve. Don’t worry about if your daily walks are “working” – just walk.

How Worries Can Impact our Lives

Losing sleep or troubles in your career or relationships are signs you need help. You might even experience physical symptoms like an upset stomach, headaches or biting your nails. Don’t hesitate to reach out to behavioral health resources, like counseling.

Jackmon reassures everyone that a good clinician is likely to have had his or her worries, too. “Starting can be hard for almost everyone – but it is worth the work.” Reach out to your primary care provider to learn more about mental health resources near you.

If you don’t know what to do or where to go, call 1-800-691-4336 for guidance on your next best step.

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