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Wear The Gown: Avoiding COVID fatigue

Pandemic fatigue can make us become complacent when it comes to protecting ourselves against the virus.

SAN ANTONIO — It's been almost a year since we first experienced the coronavirus pandemic; months later, just as dangerous as the virus itself is complacency when it comes to safeguarding against it. 

COVID fatigue can set in when you get overwhelmed by all of the coronavirus  messaging, news about vaccines or even seeing anything related to the pandemic. The problem arises when you fail to protect yourself and others, just as much as you might have when the whole thing started.

"It could be someone saying, 'I've been good this whole time, I've stayed inside, I haven't gone on trips and, you know, the holidays are coming up. Maybe I can take that flight to go visit my aunt or take that flight to go visit so-and-so,'" said Dr. Stacy Ogbeide, a clinical health psychologist for University Health and associate professor with the department of family community medicine at UT Health San Antonio.

Ogbeide says COVID fatigue can result in more spreading of the virus. 

"The things that we know could really set us up for the possibility of exposure or exposing a loved one that we don't even realize we may be asymptomatic," she said.

Mindfulness can be a way to help reduce your stress level to avoid the fatigue. 

"I encourage people to use mindfulness as a way to deal with everything all of the changes that are constantly happening right now," she said.

Experts say ways to be mindful can be taking 10 seconds of your day to be in touch with the moment. Try having a sense of touch to bring you back into the moment such as tapping your chest or tapping your watch. Recognize why you are upset in the moment. Realize what your needs are right then. Add a mantra that you can say out loud to yourself to remind yourself you aren't alone.

"Adding something as small as a mantra to help you stay in the moment to remember that you are not alone in this that COVID it is a worldwide thing going on that's impacting everyone, maybe in different ways," Ogbeide said. "But it's still impacting everyone."

She also says it's important to stand your ground when it comes to safety in your daily dealings with those outside your household.  

"You are responsible for you first, and again saying 'No' or setting boundaries for someone else and yourself could be the best thing for you," she said.

For more information about family health call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of Wear The Gown stories, just go to WearTheGown.com.