Will you be joining us at the 2024 Remote Nursing & Midwifery Conference?
23-25 October 2024, Naarm/Melbourne. We are now accepting abstract submissions. Click here to learn more or to register and access the early-bird discount.

Another day, another lockdown: Coping with pandemic fatigue

6 Jul 2021

We take a look at pandemic fatigue affecting the Australian health care workforce and outline how to cope.

There is cur­rent­ly so much con­fu­sion out there about the pros and cons of vac­cines; the dif­fer­ent lock­down rules or restric­tions for each state; the dif­fer­ent rules for dif­fer­ent Local Gov­ern­ment Areas with­in states; and even about the basic infec­tion con­trol pro­ce­dures that we thought would be wide­ly known by now.

Hard work­ers are hav­ing to can­cel their well-deserved leave because replace­ment staff from oth­er states are unable to get in.

Is it any won­der the health work­force is exhaust­ed and expe­ri­enc­ing pan­dem­ic fatigue?

The World Health Organ­i­sa­tion has defined pan­dem­ic fatigue as feel­ing demo­ti­vat­ed about fol­low­ing rec­om­mend­ed behav­iours to pro­tect our­selves and oth­ers from the virus”. This, in turn, is lead­ing to a decline in com­pli­ance with pub­lic health advice and mit­i­ga­tion behaviours.

Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can have pub­lished an inter­est­ing arti­cle about how pan­dem­ic fatigue works and the men­tal costs of fol­low­ing these mit­i­ga­tion strate­gies and mul­ti­task­ing. You can read it here.

In rela­tion to infor­ma­tion about the virus, we need to lis­ten to advice that is evi­dence-based and from a trust­ed source.

There are also a few things we can do to sup­port our men­tal health dur­ing these try­ing times1.

  • Recog­nise the signs of pan­dem­ic fatigue. Be aware that you are feel­ing tired even with ade­quate sleep.
  • Find ways to stay con­nect­ed. Ring friends and fam­i­ly or play one of the numer­ous computer/​phone games that friends can do together.
  • Cre­ate a sched­ule. Incor­po­rate rou­tine activ­i­ties such self-care behav­iours for a sense of achieve­ment and so that you feel more in control.
  • Lim­it time on social media. This medi­um may include increas­ing­ly neg­a­tive or inap­pro­pri­ate respons­es from key­board war­riors’ that increase our anx­i­ety or anger.
  • Main­tain hope. Under­stand that you are emo­tion­al­ly, psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly, social­ly and spir­i­tu­al­ly tired, and that’s okay. Believe that things will get bet­ter in the future.
  • Seek men­tal health sup­port. The loss of social con­nec­tion can have pro­found effects and these feel­ings are com­plete­ly nor­mal and com­mon. Con­tact the Bush Sup­port Line on 1800 805 391 for a free and con­fi­den­tial chat with one of our psy­chol­o­gists about how you are affected.

Pan­dem­ic fatigue is real. It will affect us all dif­fer­ent­ly as we all have a unique set of chal­lenges we are expe­ri­enc­ing. Acknowl­edg­ing this can help. Please get sup­port if you feel you need a hand.

CRANAplus is here for you.

Take care.

Help­ful links with more information

Aus­tralian Psy­cho­log­i­cal Soci­ety Man­ag­ing Lock­down Fatigue”

Gov­ern­ment of West­ern Aus­tralia COVID-19: Man­ag­ing Mod­i­fied Ros­ters and Fatigue” (although devel­oped for the min­ing indus­try, this resource has some excel­lent gener­ic infor­ma­tion and tips)

Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment: Nation­al Men­tal Health Com­mis­sion: “#Get­tingTh­roughThis­To­geth­er: Sup­port­ing our men­tal health dur­ing COVID-19

World Health Organ­i­sa­tion: Pan­dem­ic fatigue Rein­vig­o­rat­ing the pub­lic to pre­vent COVID-19

Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol Employ­ees: How to Cope with Job stress and Build Resilience Dur­ing the COVID-19 Pandemic”

1Berg, S (2021) What Doc­tors wish Patients knew about pan­dem­ic fatigue. Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion. Retrieved 01 July 2021 at https://​www​.ama​-assn​.org/​d​e​l​i​v​e​r​i​n​g​-​c​a​r​e​/​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​h​e​a​l​t​h​/​w​h​a​t​-​d​o​c​t​o​r​s​-​w​i​s​h​-​p​a​t​i​e​n​t​s​-​k​n​e​w​-​a​b​o​u​t​-​p​a​n​d​e​m​i​c​-​f​a​tigue