Covid Fatigue and Stress

We are all tired of Covid – tired of hearing about it, tired of talking about it, tired of living with it. Yet, it remains on all our minds and weighs on our emotions as we continue to grapple with the realities of it in our lives. No wonder that levels of stress continue to climb and that people have become fatigued by it all.

Therapist Teyhou Smyth addresses this in today’s blog post – looking at the current mental health condition of our societies and proposing ways of addressing the challenges that still lie ahead for us all. Let us not assume that we are alone in our struggles, or that there is nothing we can do and we just need to soldier on. As always, please do reach out to talk to someone if you find your levels of stress affecting your normal functioning and/or your sleep. We are always here to listen.

covid fatigue and stress blog post imageCovid-Fatigue and Stress: Mental Health Challenges Continue

Covid has worn us all down since it began, and it continues to take its toll emotionally. It seems stress levels should be dropping, particularly as we see less active Covid cases, but conversely, people are feeling just as stressed as ever.

Between new variants being discovered and the unknown factors of the economy, jobs, and challenges with catching up with lagging finances due to being laid off, we are far from being done with Covid-related stress.

Levels of anxiety and depression have been high for the droves of people who have been heading into therapy since Covid-19 began. The uncertainty of life amidst a pandemic has caused many stressed-out people to seek help, and with so many more options available because of Zoom and other teleconference sites, the number of people seeking counselling has been unprecedented.

Greater access has resulted in more utilisation. The pandemic has magnified the value of easily-accessed mental health services. Emotional health is as crucial to maintain as physical wellness. As the pandemic starts to turn a corner, the need for access to mental health services continues to rise.

Upcoming Emotional Health Needs

As we begin to merge back to pre-covid-life (working, removing masks, spending more time in public areas, and socialising), many people may find that their anxiety and depression is more difficult to shake off than they had anticipated. For over a year we have been following public health guidelines about masking and carefully sanitising hands and trying to actively prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Even though it has been a long, gruelling time, we have become accustomed to these new rules of social engagement. Two metre distancing guidelines and socialising and travel restrictions have kept us closer to home and brought a level of social isolation that we normally have not been required to practice.

Fear about contracting Covid, and heightened precautions shifted our mindsets. It took a lot of fortitude to make it through those months of increased anxiety and stress. Many people became isolated as a result, and experienced loneliness and depressive symptoms.

Therapists continue to see an uptick in clients as people seek help for anxiety and depression, as well as social isolation. Fear about the pandemic continues, even as people become wary of its presence. Now more than ever, counselling is a necessary service to help people from all walks of life process stress, anxiety, and depressive issues and improve their quality of life.

Modalities that May Help

There are many different types of therapy that can help people manage the stress of Covid.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a common and effective method that involves exploring patterns of thought, feeling, and behaviour, and the ways in which these three aspects of a person’s experience interact in daily life.

The way we think, feel and act influence our quality of life, and CBT helps determine aspects of each area that may be adjusted to improve our outcomes.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a type of treatment that helps with emotional regulation and learning ways to cope with difficult feelings in safe and effective ways. DBT helps people step back from strong emotions to see situations with greater clarity to make decisions that help ease emotional distress.

Often DBT and CBT offers homework for participants to help practice and solidify skills presented in therapy. Both modalities focus a lot on mindfulness and staying aware of the experiences of the mind and body.

As we navigate Covid and the ups and downs that it brings, CBT and DBT skills can help build resilience. Ongoing access to mental health services will help people acclimate, reconnect with one another, and create meaning from the challenges that this pandemic has presented.

[This blog post originally appeared on Teyhou’s website ~ some content may have been modified for the UK & Irish context.]

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