How to fight COVID fatigue during the holiday season

While the country is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, people are starting to experience what Dr. Rheeda Walker describes as 'COVID fatigue.' In the earlier months of the pandemic, people were generally more cautious and vigilant, however with the holidays right around the corner we have start to let our gaurd down a bit. A therapist and professor of psychology at University of Houston shares how we can firm up and get back to being mentally disciplined so that we can celebrate safetly.

Video Transcript

RHEEDA WALKER: I'm Dr. Rheeda Walker, and I'm here to talk about COVID fatigue. Now that we've been in this pandemic for many months and we have some months ahead of us, it's good to think intentionally about how we're going to manage it.

In the beginning of the pandemic, while we had some information, there was still a lot that we didn't know. We had to be extra vigilant about who we came into contact with, how long we stood in certain spaces, and what we touched. Over time, I do think that it wears on the mind to have to be as intentional as we were.

I do believe COVID fatigue is a very real phenomenon. As the time has gone on, it's just been that much more difficult.

There have been some reports that is, you know, we won't be able to get back to normal life until 2022, and a lot of people can't fathom that. Then the response becomes why not enjoy my life now? I can't just hang in there, so I'm just going to live for today.

Everyone is really trying to find a way to manage, and the holidays seem to provide an easy opportunity to kind of get back to some sense of normalcy and to have some relief. One of the ways that we can be safe and try and celebrate the holidays really requires creativity to the extent that we can recognize what is most important for me about the holidays? Is it connecting with family? Is it sharing presents? And maybe create a new tradition. Are there other ways to do that, at least for now, so that we can get to the next holiday?

Being in a pandemic is hard in a lot of ways, and one of those ways is the pressure that we get from family and friends who are living their best lives. We have to be steadfast in making the decisions that make the most sense for us. We can say, you know what? I appreciate that you think so much of me that you want me to be included in this family event, but for this season, I hope you understand that I really need to do what I need to do to stay safe and healthy for me and for the people in my home.

A key word probably for people to keep in mind is intentional. So what do I need for myself right now? Because psychologically, we can't take on all of it. That's when we get into trouble and we start to think I have to manage all of this. But instead, if we can replace that with smaller pieces like what can I do for the next hour? what can I do for the next 15 minutes?

Even though I talk about mental health and emotional health and psychological fortitude, it is not easy. Sometimes I practice what I preach, and I just needed a change of scenery.

Being intentional about how we are managing our minds so that we can have both the holidays and to be safe so that we can get to our 2021 holidays, you know, the best way possible.