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How to Beat Pandemic Fatigue

Has living under the threat of COVID-19 begun to wear you down? If so, you are not alone. For months, people around the globe have had to adapt to living under the threat of this pandemic. Many “have made huge sacrifices to contain COVID-19,” says Dr. Hans Kluge, World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe. “In such circumstances it is easy and natural to feel apathetic and demotivated, to experience fatigue.”

If you are experiencing what is being called pandemic fatigue, take courage. The Bible is helping many to cope with life during this stressful time. It can help you too.

 What is pandemic fatigue?

Pandemic fatigue is not a medical condition but is a term used to describe the natural response people feel to the prolonged uncertainty and disruption caused by a pandemic. While each person reacts differently, some common signs of pandemic fatigue include:

  • Lack of motivation

  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits

  • Irritability

  • Stress over tasks that would normally be handled well

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Feelings of hopelessness

 Why is pandemic fatigue serious?

Pandemic fatigue poses a serious threat to our safety and that of others. If we do not battle it, we may gradually begin to lose our motivation to follow COVID-safe practices. Over time, we may become complacent about the virus, even while it continues to spread and kill. Tired of living under restrictions, we may seek greater freedom, which could put us and others at risk.

During these stressful times, many are experiencing the truth of what the Bible says: “If you become discouraged in the day of distress, your strength will be meager.” (Proverbs 24:10) The Bible offers principles that can help us cope with discouraging situations, including this pandemic.

 What Bible principles can help you to beat pandemic fatigue?

  • Stay at a distance physically—but not socially

    What the Bible says: “A true friend . . . is born for times of distress.”—Proverbs 17:17.

    Why it matters: True friends build us up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) In contrast, prolonged isolation puts our health at risk.—Proverbs 18:1.

    Try this: Stay connected with your friends through video chats, phone calls, or e-mail and text messages. Reach out to friends when you are having a bad day, and regularly check in to see how they are doing. Exchange tips on what is helping you to cope during the pandemic. Find ways to do something kind for a friend, and you will make a bad day feel better.

  • Make the best of your current circumstances

    What the Bible says: “[Make] the best use of your time.”—Ephesians 5:16.

    Why it matters: Using your time wisely can help you to stay positive and avoid excessive worry.—Luke 12:25.

    Try this: Rather than focus on what you can no longer do, look for ways that you can take advantage of your situation. For example, are there projects that you now have time for or hobbies that you can now pursue? Can you spend more time with your family?

  • Stick to a routine

    What the Bible says: “Let all things take place . . . by arrangement.”—1 Corinthians 14:40.

    Why it matters: Many people tend to feel more settled and happier when they have a general routine.

    Try this: Make a schedule that reflects your current situation. Set aside specific times to do schoolwork, secular work, and household chores as well as times to take care of your spirituality. Include other healthy activities, such as spending time with family, being outdoors, and exercising. Periodically review your schedule, and revise it as necessary.

  • Adapt to changing seasons

    What the Bible says: “The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself.”—Proverbs 22:3.

    Why it matters: Depending on where you live, changing seasons may reduce your opportunities to get fresh air and sunlight, which are good for your physical and mental health.

    Try this: If winter is approaching, try to adjust your living room or work area to maximize sunlight. Plan outdoor activities you will be able to do despite the colder weather. If possible, obtain winter clothes that will let you spend more time outside.

    If summer is approaching, people will spend more time outdoors, so be safe. Plan where you will go, and choose times when crowds will not be there.

  • Continue to practice COVID-safe behavior

    What the Bible says: “The stupid one is reckless and overconfident.”—Proverbs 14:16.

    Why it matters: COVID-19 is deadly, and we risk infection if we let down our guard.

    Try this: Regularly check reliable local guidelines and consider whether you are still being cautious. Focus on how your actions will affect you, your family, and others.

  • Strengthen your relationship with God

    What the Bible says: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”—James 4:8.

    Why it matters: God can help you to cope with any challenge.—Isaiah 41:13.

    Try this: Read a portion of God’s Word, the Bible, each day. This Bible-reading plan can help you get started.

Why not contact Jehovah’s Witnesses to learn how you can benefit from the arrangements they have made to continue meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic? For example, worldwide they have been using videoconferencing for their congregation meetings, annual commemoration of Jesus’ death, and annual convention.

 Bible verses to help with pandemic fatigue

Isaiah 30:15: “Your strength will be in keeping calm and showing trust.”

Meaning: Trusting in God’s advice can help us to stay calm during difficult times.

Proverbs 15:15: “All the days of the afflicted one are bad, but the one with a cheerful heart has a continual feast.”

Meaning: Focusing on positive things can help us to be happy even during difficult times.

Proverbs 14:15: “The naive person believes every word, but the shrewd one ponders each step.”

Meaning: Heed health precautions, and do not be quick to believe that such restrictions are unnecessary.

Isaiah 33:24: “No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’”

Meaning: God promises to put an end to all forms of sickness.