COVID-19 Update: Managing The Fatigue of This Pandemic

We're just plain tired.

We’re tired of the restrictions, wearing masks, social distancing, not being able to see our family and friends, not being able to go out to eat or socialize…and, so forth. 

However, we must keep going. We must be safe and healthy. We must be able to self-monitor whether we have symptoms or not. We must be able to get tested, communicate to our healthcare team, and follow the guidelines to flatten the curve!

These are the two narratives we’re dealing with right now. From what I have seen, most of us are falling into the former narrative, also known as "pandemic fatigue."

It is not a common issue. You can relabel the word "pandemic" for something else. It could be the upcoming general election in the USA or the call for equity in our society. Or, even the hope for a better world. 

Things can fatigue us. It can bog us down and allow us to lose focus on what’s important. It could consume your life, your family, your work, your coworkers, your friends…everyone. 

One component of dealing with a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, is how we deal with ourselves and one another. Our mental/emotional/behavioral health is just as important to manage as does your physical health. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a webpage full of resources available to you. Understand that coping with your mental/emotional/behavioral health is different than the next person. How we manage stress and event fatigue is our own. You may be dealing with compounding issues – not just the health crisis alone – and that is OK. It is how you deal with it and finding ways to seek a positive space to not be consumed by these issues. 

Talking about this in an automotive/travel website may not be appropriate. Truthfully, it is. 

Sometimes, we automotive folks – professionals in the industry, media members, enthusiasts, and so forth – need an extra ear. An extra brain to pick. Someone we feel safe and secure in discussing our situation(s). 

When I was sending e-mails to announce the finalists for #VOTY2020 last week, almost every one of my industry contacts asked if I was staying safe and how things were. This may seem like taking an extra step beyond their professional "box." However, I recognize the humanity in these inquiries. When you create a professional relationship with someone in this business, it resonates with the query of a simple "how are you doing?"

It goes to show that automotive people are as human as the rest of the world. 

And, yet, we continue to receive the news daily about the rise in cases. Plus, we have been warned of the probability that we're in a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On October 15, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that a spike in new cases of over 4,000 people with positive diagnoses of COVID-19. In comparison, my state of Minnesota reported a spike of 2,290 new cases the next day. Currently, the USA reported over 8 million cases with over 220,000 deaths since this pandemic began. 

Reading that last paragraph may have added to your fatigue. It might be a wake-up call to do something to stay safe. It might be a sign of frustration toward blaming one party or another. We're seeing this play out from political campaigns to scenes of outright defiance of local restrictions. This weekend alone, there were violent anti-lockdown protests occurred in Naples, Italy and Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

There are some positives out there to hold on to. Recently, I took a friend, fellow enthusiast, and V&R reader to an appointment at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The procedure to get in was simple enough – they'll take your temperature, ask a few questions, and direct you where you need to go. 

Even though that experience was positive and affirming, I aim actually dealing with level of pandemic fatigue. I am trying my best to avoid the hospital or any healthcare facilities this year considering my past battles with my own health. But, a negative COVID-19 test, a flu shot, and taking my friend and back from his examination eased my own pandemic fatigue. Maybe it was only temporary. 

Maybe we should follow the guidelines. Sounds good?

If have read this website since the pandemic began, you saw that it reported the many ways the automotive and travel industry are responding to the pandemic. 

As this country – and world – continue to be divided on many lines, we have been expressing some of the worst case scenarios we fear would happen to us. I’ve had those nightmares, too.

They’re not pretty.  And, frankly, I'd rather not parse them out.

But, how do we manage these dark thoughts out of our mind?

For some, it would be as easy and turning off the switch in our heads. For others, it is a longer path towards finding the good from the bad. Either way, understand that getting through to the end of this pandemic will require some form of strength – not physical, but mental/emotional/behavioral. 

Again, it is easy to write or say something about this topic. It is how we approach this pandemic at this stage that will determine how you come out of it.

One would hope that you come out of it with a sigh of relief and a new perspective on this world. Well, one would hope so…

All photos by Randy Stern

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