This year has induced an unprecedented amount of stress upon both our personal and professional lives. Though a COVID-19 vaccine looks promising for many people by the spring or summer, the winter doesn't look promising for much respite from the feelings of anxiety and exhaustion. The everyday stress coupled with the shorter, colder days and the surge of COVID-19 cases recently are enough to make us want to wave the white flag of surrender.
Vanderbilt Health has a wealth of resources and coping strategies to help you, your employees and their families address the symptoms of burnout caused by pandemic fatigue. Here are a few ways you can lighten your load and look to the future with hope:
- Step away from your computer and step into your athletic shoes. As gyms have closed or limited capacity, we’ve had to figure out ways to stay active with limited resources. MySouthernHealth offers a variety of at-home exercises and exercises you can do without equipment. Exercise, even something as simple as taking a walk, is a great stress-reducer and self-care practice. And remember, don’t let the cold weather and darker evenings stop you: You can still remain active in the winter.
- Set yourself up for success by establishing healthy habits. For many of us, the line between work and home is blurry, leading to unhealthy habits. Create a productive and healthy work environment with strategies for beating Zoom fatigue, taking advantage of your lunch break and combating pandemic induced anxiety in your professional life.
- Give yourself grace. In such a bizarre time, it’s normal to experience feelings of stress and unrest. As those feelings come and go, it’s important to put your mental health first and address each feeling. MySouthernHealth offers various ways to practice self-care during these uncertain times. You can also help your children with any anxiety they might be experiencing and learn about the various ways to prioritize their mental health.
- Listen to the experts. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Interviews with leading behavioral health leaders such a VUMC psychologist and a psychotherapist who works at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt are available and give you valuable insight on how to best manage stress and beat burnout.
This season is a marathon, not a sprint. Take the time to care for yourself and know that you are not alone in your feelings. Support your friends, family and coworkers and together we will come out of this time stronger than ever before.