As the pandemic continues, research is showing that more and more Americans are experiencing COVID fatigue. As the seasons are beginning to change and as the election moves closer, there seems to be a palpable dread. While we can’t control the outcome of an election or the changing of the seasons or how long the pandemic will last, we can work to be mindful of our feelings and strive to stay more balanced and centered, even in a public health crisis. Therapist Heather Rera commented, “It can be uncomfortable to feel a lack of control over what’s going on in the world, but people may find comfort in focusing on what they can control, such as their self-care habits and cultivating a reliable network of supports.”

If you are struggling with the sense of burn-out or fatigue from living through this challenging time, know that you are not alone. Many of our clients are experiencing this. Below are some suggestions that can help you ease the stress of our new reality:

  1. Stay present. It can be easy to start to imagine our worst fears – such as the fear that the pandemic won’t end. (It will!). Staying grounded in the present moment, a practice of mindfulness helps us not spiral into future worries. Throughout the day, take a moment to check-in with yourself. It can be as easy as closing your computer, taking a few deep breaths, and reminding yourself that you are safe and well. It can also help to review where you are in space, such as thinking ‘I am sitting on the couch’ or ‘I am boiling water for tea.’ It may sound silly, but taking a second to ground ourselves in the present moment is a great way to ease anxiety.
  1. Turn off the camera. The Zoom calls can take a toll on ourselves. Before the pandemic, no one was used to seeing themselves in a small square or communicating over technology so much. Take a day off from the camera and turn it off to give your nervous system a chance to reset. If virtual therapy is causing you additional stress, try just speaking to one of our providers on the phone or spend time catching up with an old friend the old fashioned way: write a letter.
  1. Shift your thinking. This is a big practice and therapy helps a lot to shift some deep-rooted beliefs about ourselves that might be holding us back in our lives. A quick solution in addition to talking to your therapist is to remind yourself of what you are grateful for. Another idea is to go outside and enjoy fresh air or even just turn on a fun dance song and dance! All of these practices help us reframe our thinking and can help break negative thought patterns.

While we are all living through unprecedented and challenging times, taking care of our mental health is more important than ever. “As we shift to focus on protecting our physical health, it’s important to remember the importance of our mental health and how the two are connected.” Maria Droste is providing therapy in-office and via telehealth. To get connected, contact our Access Center at 303-867-4600 or email intake@mariadroste.org.

Written by Molly Ritvo