Fighting COVID fatigue

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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By Nathan Rice

It started when a memory on Facebook reminded me of a column that I wrote for the Suffolk News-Herald. In this column, I shared ways to help children process the news of a virus that was causing many to fear. A little later, I stumbled upon an article I wrote in which I gave some ways to help children through a two-week closure of schools and the disruption of their normal lives.

Next, I saw a video clip online of a concert from a few years ago, and I remembered the days I could cheer on my favorite artists as they rocked out the Norfolk Scope. I thought of the concert I never got to attend from March of last year. After that, the Norfolk Tides’ 2021 opening day arrived, but the stadium sat dark and empty.

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Lastly, I saw a TV show where two people shook hands to greet each other and begin a business conversation. It was a strange thing to push me over the edge, but watching those two people shake hands caused me to have a few tears. It was one of those times when emotions, thoughts and memories boiled together in my heart and brain.

My story may sound strange to some, but I don’t think I’m alone. I can’t be the only one facing fatigue over the restrictions brought on through COVID. While we may not be able to change the restrictions, there are some things we can do to fight COVID fatigue.

The first thing is to accept what we cannot change. I’ve heard many people continually lament the restrictions and give their opinions on the situation nearly non-stop. It’s OK to mourn the loss of normal, and it’s OK to have opinions on what has taken place, but it must not become an obsession. If you think there are changes needed, do what you can to help make these changes a reality, but don’t obsess over what you can’t change. It’s not healthy, and it can keep you from moving forward.

Next, be sure to do what you can do to remain active. Sometimes when we can no longer do some of our favorite things, we decide to do nothing. Our mindset becomes, “If I can’t go to a concert or a baseball game, I won’t do anything.” We can still do many things, and we’re only hurting ourselves if we refuse to participate in the things that are open.

Likewise, look for new things to do, and don’t be afraid to venture outside your previous range. Recently, I grabbed a flight to Florida to visit family and spend a few days at Disney parks. Getting away and enjoying a sense of normalcy, even if for a brief period, can bring a sense of peace and healing. If visiting another state is out of the budget, consider Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, or another location.

We’re well past one year into the “two weeks to flatten the curve,” and it’s been draining on everyone. We may not be returning to normal, but we can move forward. COVID fatigue is real, but we can fight it, and we can win the battle.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at