Pandemic Fatigue: Signs, Symptoms, and Recovery

Reading time – 10 minutes

Nearly two years since the pandemic disrupted lives, authorities continue to encourage citizens to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. Although vaccines, boosters, and treatments have been developed, the end of the pandemic is barely in sight as more strains emerge.

This prolonged disruption of everyday lives has caused many people to slack following the COVID-19 protocols; a phenomenon referred to as pandemic fatigue. There’s a sense of exhaustion as the economic and social impact of the pandemic sets in.

So what can you do about pandemic fatigue in the UK? The article explains pandemic fatigue, its signs and symptoms, and how CBD can help reduce them.

What Is Pandemic Fatigue?

According to the World Health Organization, pandemic fatigue is being demotivated to follow the recommended COVID-19 safety protocols.

When the pandemic was declared, core messages like wearing face masks, washing hands, and social distancing were nearly ingrained because everyone wanted to survive. However, when the pandemic dragged on to months, a year, and longer, many people got tired due to:

  • The assumption that the virus isn't a threat anymore
  • A growing desire for freedom and normalcy
  • An overwhelming desire to associate with others
  • The belief that we can live with the virus because it has lingered a long time

All these perceptions play a critical role in one developing pandemic fatigue. In addition, many people may forgo adhering to the safety guidelines altogether, increasing COVID-19 infections, threatening global health.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Pandemic Fatigue?

Identifying the signs and symptoms of this condition is critical to addressing it early, individually and collectively.

Developing a deep sense of anxiety about the unknown: There’s no information about when the pandemic will end. This uncertainty makes people feel like they have no control over their lives, causing anxiety. Such anxiety may be related to your future, that of your family or community.

Unwillingness to comply with COVID-19 health guidelines: Many people are tired of following the COVID-19 restrictions evident from the slackness in social distancing and wearing masks.

Feelings of emotional exhaustion: The most common burnout symptom is feeling emotionally drained. People who have been working in demanding environments during the pandemic are more likely to exhibit this symptom.

Fatigue: You may also have experienced excessive fatigue even after resting for long hours. And if you have been isolated from co-workers, loved ones, and other people you used to have bonds with, fatigue can make you feel like those things aren’t worth it any more.

Other Symptoms

  • Feeling depressed and isolated
  • Having difficulty to focus and concentrate
  • Feeling impatient and irritable
  • Snapping at others and becoming more argumentative
  • Feeling demotivated or like you don’t have a sense of purpose

Who Is More Apt to Experience Pandemic Fatigue?

Studies about pandemic fatigue are still inconclusive, leading to conflicting results. One study proposes women, families with children, students, individuals from low-income households, and people living in crowded cities (with high numbers of infected people) are more likely to experience pandemic fatigue.

They have a high level of coronavirus fear, which compels them to follow the strict guidelines, triggering psychological problems like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and phobias.

However, the heightened fear of the virus makes them more mentally exhausted than other people. As a result, the individuals defy the guidelines to confront and stop the fear.

Another study from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology suggests that young and older adults are more likely to experience pandemic fatigue and engage in risky behaviour.

The researcher noted that both age groups practiced preventive behaviour in response to the pandemic in the first two months. They wore masks, washed hands frequently, and religiously avoided public places and meetings.

However, towards the end of April 2020, both age groups slacked on the guidelines but maintained facemasks. At the same time, older people were less likely to go to people’s homes and have close contact with people outside their households.

How to Recover from Pandemic Fatigue

The first step of dealing with pandemic fatigue is acknowledging that it’s normal. There’s no need to feel shy, silly, or awkward about any of the symptoms discussed. Here’s how to recover from burnout:

Create a Sense of Community

The pandemic has introduced a unique aspect that seems foreign to many people—social isolation. When coupled with other elements like job loss, grief over the death of loved ones, sudden changes in routines, and loneliness, it’s likely to affect an individual’s mental health.

Prolonged isolation is also associated with psychological disorders like anxiety, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, to mention a few. Although isolation is necessary to limit infection, humans are social beings unable to live isolated from others.

The absence of relationships removes important conditions necessary to develop identity, sense of reason, and connection. As such, it’s essential to establish a community with colleagues or somebody, even virtually. 

Strengthen Ties with Important Relationships

Fostering new relationships can be time-consuming, especially during a pandemic. As such, you want to lean on already established relationships because they give you a sense of connection without investing lots of resources.

Maintain Routines

Routines help you separate between day and evening. Studies show routines are critical to maintaining good mental health. They are particularly important for employees working from home. Your routine may involve:

  • Dressing up to go to work
  • Bidding your family goodbye before the workday
  • Exercising
  • Taking breaks
  • Making time for leisure activities like watching a movie

Get Help

Once pandemic fatigue sets in, you might feel a little overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed. All such feelings are entirely normal, and you shouldn’t shy away from getting professional help.

Therapists now offer sessions virtually, so physical distancing shouldn’t deter you from seeing one.

Prioritize Self-Care

Focusing on your body’s health goes a long way in coping with pandemic fatigue. It’s easy to neglect healthy habits like sleeping, eating healthy, and exercising due to the disrupted routines. It shouldn’t be the case. When creating your family’s daily schedules, set apart some time to take care of yourself.

One critical aspect of that schedule should be creating a sleep routine. Healthy sleep routines reduce stress and keep you energized while building the resilience your body needs to deal with pandemic fatigue.

You can also find ways to make activities safer. For example, if you must meet a friend, you can go for a socially-distanced walk. Also, if going grocery shopping, opt for a grocery delivery instead of visiting a crowded store.

How CBD Can Help Make Positive Improvements

Beyond creating routines, prioritizing self-care, and creating a sense of community, you can be more proactive at reducing pandemic fatigue. One effective technique is adding CBD (cannabidiol) oil to your routine.

CBD is the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana which means it doesn’t contain the high associated with the drug. While CBD use remains a little controversial, studies on CBD health benefits show it has anxiolytic effects in animals.

In fact, an ongoing study shows that CBD may help minimise burnout symptoms and emotional exhaustion. During the study, CBD was administered among frontline health workers working with COVID-19 patients. The researchers found that the workers experienced fewer burnout symptoms.

Here are other benefits of CBD:

1.   CBD Oil for Sleep

One common problem caused by pandemic fatigue is lack of sleep or distorted sleep patterns. The deep sense of anxiety and uncertainty makes most people lose sleep.  So how can CBD oil help you sleep?

Understanding the function of the cortisol hormone is critical to answering this question. Typically, cortisol levels (the stress hormone) increase in the morning but are high at night for people who don’t sleep well or those with insomnia.

High cortisol levels at night are also associated with frequent nighttime awakenings. CBD for sleep may improve one’s sleep by minimizing cortisol levels.

In an analysis of CBD effects on participants who had poor sleep and anxiety, more than half of the participants reported improved sleep.

One of our CBD sleep products is the ZZZ high-strength CBD oil which may help you sleep better. It has a sedative effect that relaxes your mind, allowing you to sleep without much difficulty.

2.   CBD Oil for Pain

CBD effects on pain are associated with its interaction with the core part of the endocannabinoid system—ECS receptors. They receive chemical signals from different stimuli to help cells respond accordingly.

The response may relieve pain and release anti-inflammatory effects to aid pain management. These effects demonstrate that CBD for pain products may alleviate pain. Several studies have been conducted to ascertain the effects of CBD on pain. One such study was conducted in 2016 to determine its impact on arthritic pain.

The researchers applied a gel on the study subjects (rats) for four days. Although the rats experienced reduced pain and inflammation in the joints, more human studies are required to prove the effectiveness of CBD cream for arthritis pain.

Another study conducted in 2017 indicated that CBD could reduce migraine pain. The study was two-phased, with the first group taking pure CBD products and the other taking CBD and THC compounds.

The first group experienced a significant reduction in migraine pain, while the other had reduced frequency in migraine attacks. However, most studies use varying CBD doses, making it unclear how to use CBD oil for pain.

3.   CBD for Stress and Anxiety

CBD also has the potential to reduce stress and anxiety. CBD oil for anxiety interacts with the brain’s protein-based chemical structures called CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the central nervous system.

When CBD is administered, it interacts with the receptors altering serotonin levels hence the notion that it may have the potential to minimize stress and different types of anxiety.

Serotonin is the hormone that stabilizes one’s mood and feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Low serotonin levels can cause anxiety and stress. Our PEACE high-strength CBD oil is an excellent example of CBD for stress and anxiety. The product may help you ease stress, anxiety, allowing you to focus on the day’s activities amid the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Although most studies remain inconclusive, trials have been conducted to prove the effects of CBD on stress and anxiety. A study conducted in 2011 shows participants diagnosed with social anxiety disorder experienced lower anxiety levels after taking CBD.

In another study, researchers administered varying CBD doses on participants every day, yet both groups reported reduced anxiety within the first month.

4.   CBD for Muscle Relief

Besides ECS’ role in controlling immune responses and moods, it produces proteins essential for skeletal muscle function. Studies show that the activation of CB1 receptors facilitates muscle oxygen consumption and metabolism.

So what is the role of CBD in relaxing muscles? CBD for muscle relief inhibits the release of muscle spasms. Muscle spasms can be painful, sudden, and uncontrollable. They often affect people who have multiple sclerosis, which causes the immune system to attack the central nervous system.

It causes movement-related problems, including unsteady posture and tremors. Studies have been conducted to prove CBD’s potential to ease the symptoms. A 2017 study found that a CBD-TCH combo could improve gait in patients with multiple sclerosis.

The most recent study was conducted in 2019, which included CBD use alongside other treatments. The researchers found that CBD reduced muscle spasms in patients with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) too.

Beyond easing muscle spasms, CBD may also be used to ease muscle tension and soreness after exercise. The CBD gel or cream releases its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties, thus relieving the tension. A study published in 2020 found that using CBD products after a workout may reduce creatine kinase levels.

The protein is found in every muscle and produces energy during muscle contraction. Above-normal CK levels may indicate a muscle injury or the onset of a heart problem.

Getting Help

With so many ways to revitalize your energy, mood, and life in general, you shouldn’t allow pandemic fatigue to weigh or slow you down. And with our range of CBD products tailored to ease symptoms of different conditions, you shouldn’t wallow in stress, pain, or anxiety. Place an order today!