Coping + Pandemic Fatigue: Current And Future Implications

Notes from my practice as a behavioral scientist alarmed by the emotional and cognitive challenges our Covid-19 new norms are creating.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
Credit: Engin Akyurt/Pixabay
Credit: Engin Akyurt/Pixabay

Covid-19 has created a new norm that we have not been adequately prepared to cope with or adapt to. Social isolation, loneliness, abrupt changes to daily habits, and unemployment or financial insecurity, adapting to WFH, can all impact our emotional well-being and sense of self. 

Even for people who have no histories of mental health issues, the weeks of lockdown and restrictions that millions are currently experiencing is wrought with emotional and psychological challenges that few had ever experienced. 

In my practice, I have developed interventions to address some of these cognitive and emotional features we have been dealing with over the last 9 months. As a society, we have to begin to focus on prevention and intervention because I predict we are headed into a mental and brain health risk burden that exceeds our capacity to provide care. 

In a recent survey I conducted with CEOs and Founders about how pandemic fatigue impacted their emotional well-being, I found that:  

  • 100% reported that Covid-19 has impacted their emotional well-being in a negative way at different points over the last 8 months 
  • 92% reported feeling depressive symptoms at different points over the last 8 months
  • 85% reported feeling anxiety during the first few months of restrictions 
  • 67% reported feeling WFH related anxiety
  • 75% reported experiencing brain fog at different points over the last 8 months
  • 88% reported that the lack of physical connection can leave them feeling they have nowhere to turn when they feel stressed or anxious which in turn exacerbates their sense of loneliness 
  • 60% reported the temptation to work longer hours, and for those who don’t have a home office setup there’s no disconnect between home and office life.

While this portrait looks similar to many of us, our resiliency can help us cope and adapt to the immediate onset of pandemic fatigue. Some of the ways people adapted and continue to evolve during these challenging months were: 

  • 90% reported incorporating some type of physical activity provided temporary stress relief 
  • 88% reported disconnecting from news reports as a way to better cope with the new norm
  • 60% reported using social media as a way to stay connected
  • 56% reported using meditation or some form of mindfulness techniques as part of their daily routine
  • 27% reported playing an instrument or writing music into their daily routine

Prolonged exposure to these new norms will have lasting emotional and cognitive effects in the future. Many neuroimaging studies have shown that chronic worries and fears diminish prefrontal cortex activity, damage neurons, shrink areas of the brain, and impair thinking.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Top Seven Reasons Why Employee Wellness Is Essential to The Bottomline of Organizations Post COVID-19

by Joyce Odidison

Top Seven Reasons Why Employee Wellness Is Essential to The Bottomline of Organizations Post COVID-19

by Joyce Odidison

The Age of Workplace Enlightenment

by Carla Jaspers MS, OTR/L, MID, CPE
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.