[COVID-19 alert] Shake off deadly “pandemic fatigue” with these practical tips 

 

When the coronavirus first hit U.S. soil, public health “experts” promised that following their draconian restrictions would help the country “flatten the curve”—and swiftly return us to our “normal” way of life.

Yet, here we are…nearly a year and a half later…and we’re NO BETTER OFF than we were in March 2020! In fact, in many ways, life is FAR WORSE today for the average American compared to 18 months ago.  

As a result, many folks are suffering from “pandemic fatigue.”  

The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to pull yourself (and your family) out of this tailspin… 

You may feel physically, mentally, and spiritually weary 

According to a recent study, when the pandemic lockdowns began, about 40 percent of people around the world said their sleep got “worse.” That statistic is about twice as high as normal, according to experts. 

In addition, many people reported feeling depressed and anxious. In fact, according to the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index conducted in September 2021, only 34 percent of Americans feel hopeful today compared to 48 percent last March.  

Dr. Carl Lambert, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, described this as feeling, “…tired in your soul—emotionally, psychologically, socially, spiritually, you are just tired and not motivated.” In other words, a type of total fatigue.  

This deep weariness likely stems from any number of pandemic-related factors, including continued:  

  • Social isolation (or, on the other hand, too much time pent up in the household) 
  • Cancellations of important milestone commemorations, such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, and funerals 
  • Disruptions to healthy routines 
  • Financial struggles 
  • Reduced availability of mind-body healing approaches, like acupuncture, massage, and non-drug approaches to pain 
  • Strict (and ever-changing) health protocols, such as handwashing, mask wearing, and social distancing 
  • General uncertainty about the future 

And because of all the flip-flopping and double-speak from the public health “experts,” many people now doubt that the vaccines or mask mandates can even help at all!  

In fact, according to Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University, “We are in a very confusing time in the pandemic where people are making very different choices depending on their own family circumstances, their risk tolerance, as well as the activities most important to them. It makes navigating life very challenging and leads to individuals questioning one another for the choices they’re making.” 

Of course, the government’s draconian and mismanaged response to the pandemic hasn’t only affected us emotionally. As I reported recently, it has also caused a TRAGIC backslide in the so-called “war on cancer”… 

Dangerous backslide in “war on cancer” 

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), there were sharp declines in the number of new cancers diagnosed during the pandemic. Those declines occurred because the prolonged coronavirus shutdowns caused many people to delay (or completely skip) their routine cancer screenings. (The screening lapses remain a problem, even now.) 

In fact, between March 1 to April 18, 2020, weekly cases fell 46 percent for six cancers combined, with significant declines for each type. And it didn’t get much better in the following months—even as some medical practices reopened and supposedly returned to “normal.”  

Between March 2020 and March 2021, new diagnoses of eight common types of cancer (prostate, breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, cervical, gastric and esophageal) remained 19 percent lower than “normal.”  

Specifically, diagnoses of pancreatic cancer (one of the deadliest of all) remained 21 percent lower than normal years. And breast cancer diagnoses remained a staggering 36 percent lower.  

I find those statistics very worrisome. Especially when you consider that real cancers, when they aren’t caught and treated early, are FAR DEADLIER than the coronavirus! And it’s a stark reminder of just how fleeting and fragile any progress that we make against cancer really is. 

There is a way forward  

In my view, we can’t let this topsy-turvy, ever-changing world get the best of us. Instead, we need to find things to look forward to on a regular basis. Those anchors can help create a sense of meaning and normalcy in our lives.  

Here’s what I suggest: 

  • Focus on what you CAN control…like following a healthy Mediterranean-type diet and getting 140 to 150 minutes of exercise per week (preferably in Nature). (As I’ll explain tomorrow, this kind of moderate exercise has a HUGE impact on your health, including your brain function!) 
  • Find ways to safely participate in a group or community, such as joining a gardening club, taking a cooking class, starting a book club, or volunteering with a local charity.  
  • Stay connected with friends and family by phone or internet. (You can even consider adopting a pet! In fact, caring for a pet does wonders for your mental and physical health.) 
  • Don’t put off urgent medical care—and never ignore signs of heart problems. 
  • Create a routine or schedule to help give structure to your days and weeks. 
  • Spend some time each day out in Nature. As I reported last week, following a “20-5-3” rule is quite beneficial to your health.  

Lastly, one of the best ways to cope with the stress, loneliness, and fatigue is to make mindfulness meditation a part of your daily routine. And you don’t have to enter a Buddhist monastery to make it work for you! In fact, science shows that short, five-minute mindfulness sessions can significantly help you deal with the many stressors of daily life.  

You can learn how to work mindfulness meditation into your busy life in my book with Don McCown, New World Mindfulness.

Sources: 

“Changes in Newly Identified Cancer Among US Patients From Before COVID-19 Through the First Full Year of the Pandemic.” JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(8):e2125681. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.25681 

“America’s in a COVID funk.” Axios, 9/3/21. (axios.com/americas-in-a-covid-funk-c6167b08-914c-46b8-8316-b140a8791d85.html?utm_campaign=organic&utm_medium=socialshare&utm_source=twitter) 

“What doctors wish patients knew about pandemic fatigue.” American Medical Association, 1/29/21. (ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-doctors-wish-patients-knew-about-pandemic-fatigue#:~:text=Maintain%20hope-,Maintain%20hope,that%20things%20will%20get%20better.%E2%80%9D) 


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