COVID Fatigue is a THING | Here’s What to do About It

You don’t need me to tell you how sick and tired I am of this pandemic — you’re just as sick and tired of it as well.

I didn’t realize just how much COVID was affecting my mindset until I looked back on the fact that last Christmas came and went and not a single decoration had made it out of the garage. That’s right, there was no tree lit at our house in 2020. And no one else seemed to mind either. As Christmas 2021 nears, I am making a point to fight off the apathy and ambivalence surrounding what used to be my favorite time of the year and get back into our normal routine of making our holiday season special.

Why? Because not only are we still in the grips of a global pandemic, we are entering a new phase of COVID fatigue.

Yep, COVID-19 fatigue is real and it affects more people than you can imagine. Kids are not exempt from these feelings either. It isn’t unexpected, either. The harsher the restrictions we face, the more likely we are to experience fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

If you’re wondering what exactly COVID fatigue is, and how to tell if you have it, as a licensed therapist I have a unique insight. COVID-19 fatigue is a set of negative feelings that center around anxiety, anger, and frustration about the state of our lives while in a worldwide pandemic.

It can be hard to discern the difference between being “just tired” or edgy when it comes to COVID fatigue. If you are feeling bored, isolated, sad, or have a short temper mixed with a lot of anxiety about doing basic stuff, you may be experiencing COVID fatigue. We start to feel this way because we are uprooted from all the normal things we want to do. Think about it, even grocery shopping takes more time and energy than ever before. You’re managing remote learning and probably trying to balance working from home just a few feet away from your child, too.

And don’t forget about all the things that you would normally do to take a break or blow off steam. Getting together with friends still feels like a risk. Many of us are still in places where going to a restaurant for dinner has a ton of restrictions, and even travel and vacations come with a whole new set of risks and concerns that are far from “relaxing.”

But, we humans are resilient and we will make it through these new challenges as well.

What to do about COVID fatigue.

If you want to fight COVID fatigue, you’ll need to think outside the box about things in your life and things you love to do.

My suggestions include taking up hobbies that you always wanted to do but never found the time or energy for. Hobbies that we once considered dated or old-fashioned like baking bread and macrame are making a big comeback. Other ideas include learning to play the guitar, planting an indoor garden, or writing that book burning inside of you.

Socializing will help you get out of the fatigue funk, but you might need to be creative with this as well. Try a Zoom “Who Dun It Murder Mystery” with friends. You’ll laugh and be silly and all of that is good to battle COVID fatigue. Try an outdoor gathering that has everyone sitting six feet apart around a fire pit or campfire.

Of course, it doesn’t all need to be new things. Cook comfort foods you love or learn old family recipes that you’ve been meaning to master. Reread your favorite book. Build a living room fort with the kids and crawl inside to be silly and goofy for just a little while. In other words, give yourself permission to indulge and put the rules aside for a bit.

“We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”~Unknown


How A Love of Christmas Inspired a Much-Needed Picture Book

My family LOVES Christmas.

We are very blessed. We have Christmas trees with different themes in different areas of our home.

I have a Candy Land tree and trains and a little village- the whole deal. I love it all.

Mostly I love all of the feelings associated with Christmas. I love it even more now that it is pretty much the only time of year my daughter who is 27 can come home now. I love to get gifts for people that I know they really want. I listen all year long and then when they open the present my favorite moment is when they say, “HOW DID YOU KNOW!!!!?” And I think to myself because I listen to you. I love the food, the movies, and all of the Christmas books!

These are all great and beloved holiday traditions. The only problem for me is that just once I would have loved to see someone who looked like me. Especially as I became an adult. I wanted to read Christmas stories to my babies who had characters that looked like them. There are literally thousands of Christmas picture books for children.

A simple Google search reveals an endless amount of stories with white kids or with animals as the main protagonist. Really, what does this say to a little brown kid (who is not a bear) who may be searching for a story that’s a little more relatable to them and their experience?

I very much believe in Santa. I am so serious. Every Christmas I see miracles happen, because Santa not only lives in the North Pole, he lives in all of us. I’d like to believe we can make Santa magic happen even when Santa cannot.

I really believe that my diverse children’s picture book, In The Nick of Time, truly might be the first-ever published book where a brown boy helps Santa save Christmas. I have looked and looked and looked and cannot find another. It’s kind of sad, but hopeful because this may be the first of many.

In The Nick of Time by Deedee Cummings
In The Nick of Time by Deedee Cummings

About In The Nick of Time

Ten-year-old Nick Saint never thought his name was all that special until one snowy day in December when he accidentally receives a letter meant for Saint Nick. Encouraged by his mom, young Nick opens the letter with the intent to answer it himself. The unexpected message inside ultimately leads him on a journey of understanding poverty, gratitude, and service to others while discovering the real meaning of the holiday spirit. Nick’s actions and kindness are filled with heartwarming results– results that even please Santa Claus himself! An endearing story of a little brown boy who helps Santa save Christmas.

Children of all ages and backgrounds who read In the Nick of Time will understand that sometimes the smallest act of kindness can take up the biggest space in someone else’s heart. 

I know families will fall in love with this book because not only is the overall message amazing, but because it’s also a rare find to locate a picture book about a little brown boy who helps Santa save Christmas.

It is so important for my children to also feel special and wanted and needed, and like Santa could trust or call on them too. This is not a book just for brown kids. Just like I love watching all of these movies and reading all of these stories, so will all other kids from many different backgrounds, but for once a brown child may be able to better dream that Santa may just pick them to call on for help. That they too, can be considered trustworthy, responsible, and caring. They too can be the hero.

This story is beautiful and filled with messages all children need to hear about poverty, gratitude, and service to others. I believe Santa would be so proud. And so am I.

Pick up your copy and some for your friends, family, and community on the MAWM website or via Amazon and Kindle.

In the Nick of Time by Deedee Cummings

 

 


About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 15 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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