HEALTHY MIND MATTERS

Pandemic fatigue? Here’s what experts from Huntsman Mental Health institute suggest

Feb 3, 2022, 6:48 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:51 pm

SALT LAKE CITY— If you’re feeling frustrated, exhausted, or angry because it doesn’t seem the pandemic will ever end, you’re not alone. Mental health experts from Huntsman Mental Health Institute today talked about pandemic fatigue, and what people can do about it.

During the pandemic, many Utahns have felt a wide range of negative emotions they don’t normally experience. According to a top psychiatrist at Huntsman Mental Health Institute, step one is to acknowledge those feelings, and recognize there’s no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed about your feelings.

“I think it’s good to be asking yourself a lot of check-in questions about how you’re feeling,” said Dr. Kristin Francis.

Lately, the psychiatrist said she has counseled a lot of people with extreme feelings of sadness, exhaustion, and anxiety.

“And, a lot of anger-based feelings: frustration, irritation,” she said.

She’s also helped patients who are feeling a lot of apathy, too.

“People who are just tired, they’re tired of wearing masks. They’re tired of limiting their social interactions. They’re tired of having their lives changed and not going back to what was normal.”

She recommends checking in on your mental health with a series of questions. Can you still feel happiness, joy, and a desire for connection. Are you finding meaning and purpose in your life? Has your sleep changed? Are you eating differently? Are you using substances more? Each of those answers could be indicators that you are struggling with your mental health.

“That’s a good way to kind of look and see how you are,” Francis said.

Are you resilient? Or, are you having trouble coping and bouncing back?

“In reality, resiliency is not necessarily the act of avoiding those things,” said Dr. Teague Cowley, a psychology resident at HMHI. “But, just experiencing those difficult experiences, and then having the capacity to sort of bounce back.”

And even grow from it.

Francis recommends getting outside and getting your body moving. Movement and exercise can release natural endorphins, help improve your focus and improve your mood and sleep habits.

“We tell you to get outside,” she said. “Get in the sunshine. There’s a lot of evidence that sunshine impacts your well-being.”

But, how will you know when you need to seek help?

“You know it’s time when it’s really impacting your life,” Francis said. “Your mood is getting in the way of your life. Your habits are getting in the way of your life. Your relationships are suffering. Maybe your work is suffering.”

When most aspects of your life are being impacted, and you’re not bouncing back the way you normally would, that’s when you need to seek help.

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Pandemic fatigue? Here’s what experts from Huntsman Mental Health institute suggest