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“A real need to replenish” in the face of pandemic fatigue

04 Jul 2021
National Mental Health Commission CEO, Christine Morgan, has encouraged Australians to prioritise their mental health, connect and rejuvenate to overcome pandemic fatigue.

“Pandemic fatigue is very real and very normal, and it is absolutely understandable many Australians are experiencing it due to the continued challenges of COVID-19,” Ms Morgan said.

“We put 2020 behind us and envisaged 2021 as being a fresh start. We found the courage to support ourselves, our loved ones and our communities through many hardships last year, but it’s a bit different this time as many of us are running close to empty emotionally and mentally. It’s absolutely understandable that many Australians are experiencing pandemic fatigue at this time, but it’s important to realise that we can overcome it.”

Everybody experiences pandemic fatigue differently and some of us may not even be aware it’s affecting us. Some signs that a person may be experiencing pandemic fatigue include: irritability, anxiety, low energy, restlessness, feelings of hopelessness and dread or feeling like you’ve got nothing to look forward to. Some behaviours to watch out for include withdrawal from others, difficulty sleeping, lack of motivation and increased use of alcohol or other substances.

“It’s important to make a conscious effort to replenish, even small changes can help us replenish. We need to do things we enjoy every day. It's not only okay to take time out to do something that brings you pleasure, it's actually a really important way to help us rebalance and re-energise.

“Find your way to replenish, and help others find their way as well.” Ms Morgan said.

By being aware of the signs of pandemic fatigue, we can help to take care of ourselves and those around us. Some proactive steps that will help overcome pandemic fatigue include:

  • Identify and practice self-care strategies that work for you.
  • If you notice signs in children, let them know it OK not to be feeling OK. Make time to talk through what they are feeling and the practical steps they can take to overcome those feelings.
  • Get sweaty – regular exercise is great for mental health.
  • Reach out to people who may be on their own, let them know you care.
  • Follow facts – take your news from trusted sources. Be aware of your news intake and how it is affecting you, switch off when needed.
  • Take a break – take the opportunity to do things you may have been saving for a rainy day; read that book, potter in the garden, get creative, maybe even fix things.

Connection is the foundation of supporting our wellbeing and to supporting our mental health, and Commission Chair Lucy Brogden AM encouraged all Australians to reach out and stay connected with each other.

“Never underestimate your ability to have a positive impact on someone’s life. Others might see you prioritising your mental health and decide to do the same for themselves. Others might see you reach out to a friend experiencing pandemic fatigue, and do the same for someone they know,” Lucy Brogden said.

“For those who already live with mental ill health, there may be the need for more support from loved ones, the community and from professional services.

“It is not only OK to seek support, but essential. We will all need a little extra support during this time, so let’s be kind, stay connected, check in with each other, and encourage people to seek professional support when need it,”