By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– A concerning new trend sweeping the country may be contributing to our County’s recent spike in cases. Feeling exasperated by the quarantine and shutdowns, many residents have begun to experience “COVID Fatigue” (or “Caution Fatigue”), leading them to neglect safety precautions. In such cases social distancing requirements are ignored, face coverings rejected, and social gatherings become more common, leading to a sharp uptick in COVID-19 infections.
Fatigue or not, relaxing safety guidelines leads to a vicious cycle whereby cases and hospitalizations can rise, and perhaps lead to more social restrictions.
“Certainly all of us can related to being exhausted by it all. We’re into five months of careful distancing and masks, and it can simply be draining,” said Dr. Veronica Kelley, director of the County’s Department of Behavioral Health. “But we simply can’t stop listening to health leaders and the science.”
What we can do, says Dr. Kelley, is focus on some lifestyle habits that can alleviate our stress in a healthy way. Following are some ideas that Dr. Kelley and many other health experts suggest can help.
Exercise reduces the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, and stimulates the production of endorphins – the mood-elevating hormone. Find a local, low-traffic path in your area to get started on a run or walk, or consider working out at home to let some adrenaline out of your system. If nothing else, at least step outside to get at least five minutes of sunshine and fresh air each day.
Avoid repressing your discontent or unhappiness. Failure to communicate emotions can lead to feeling hopeless or a sense of losing control. Simply airing out your frustrations and discussing them with the right person can work to reduce the stress experienced during shutdown. It can be very helpful to be reminded we’re all in this together.
Ground yourself in the present moment and mitigate the stress that often comes from projecting into the future or ruminating about the past. Take a few moments to meditate or sit quietly in a chair and focus on your breathing. No one is certain how long current conditions will last, but taking life day by day is a crucial step in taking control of your mental state.
Something you can do throughout the day, anywhere you are, is some mindful breathing exercises whenever you’re feeling stressed. Inhale for a count of 4, hold it in for a count of 7, and exhale for a count of 8. This focuses your brain on breathing, and allows oxygen you take in to go to your brain and core organs, reinvigorating your ability to cope.
Yawn and Stretch
Even if you’re not particular tired, reset your brain by taking a conscious moment to stand up, yawn and stretch a little. If you’re busy worrying about all of life’s pressures, you need a conscious stop to keep yourself from any catastrophic thinking.