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On Battling Pandemic Fatigue: We Are Not There Yet

Dear Editor,
I know you’ve probably been hoping that the ushering in of 2021 would see COVID-19 being ushered out the door. I’ve often found myself thinking the same. In reality, though, pandemics (and time) don’t quite work like that.

The coronavirus pandemic has done quite a number on us—financially, mentally, and even physically. And as the months drag on, with no definite end to it all in sight, frustrations are mounting.

More and more people seem to be throwing caution to the wind, viewing regulations as just a suggestion rather than something necessary for us to make it out of this thing. But in some cases, can we truly blame them?

Of course, there are those people who can’t seem to stay at home simply because “deh house cuss deh”, as well as those who lack the empathy needed to care about the health and safety of others, but, in truth, Pandemic Fatigue is something that’s affecting most, if not all, of us.

According to Psychology Today*, even “people who are aware of the dangers of COVID-19 and appreciate the required public health interventions can experience these negative emotions.” The emotions they’re referring to are the loneliness, sadness, frustration, and resentment that often come with Pandemic Fatigue. And it’s true — anyone and everyone can experience them.

People struggling financially and living paycheck to paycheck need to move about to survive. People living in toxic households need to be away from home for the sake of their sanity. People are tired of living in fear. They’re tired of living on little or no pay. They’re tired of hearing “we’re all in the same boat” from persons who are actually in yachts while they’re in doreys. They’re simply tired.

But what can we do?

Scientists suggest that changing our emotions (and reactions to situations) through reading, exercise, and meditation can help ease the fatigue. But is it enough? Affirmations and mantras surely won’t put bread on the table, nor will they convince the landlord to not raise the rent because “times are hard.”

As I ponder on this new reality the virus has forced us to embrace, I find the words of former Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte echoing in my head. It’s a quote that stuck with me throughout much of 2020:

“We are not there yet.” (Although “yuh gwen da jail” has stuck with me, too.)

I keep thinking about those words, because they are, quite frankly, the truth.

We are not there yet. And although we’re all tired, we probably won’t be there for a very long time. It’s the sad truth, but the truth nonetheless. And it’s something we have to accept.

How we can cope with pandemic fatigue might be something that has even the best of scientists stumped, but learn to cope we must. Because, in the end, while we’re still not there yet, throwing caution to the wind will only prolong this turbulent journey.

*Learn more about the phenomenon known as Pandemic Fatigue by checking out this piece on Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.

com/us/blog/hot-thought/202011/what-is-covid-fatigue

Khaila Gentle

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