How to beat COVID-19 fatigue


How to beat COVID-19 fatigue

Zoya Yaseka

Sunday, February 14, 2021

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WITH many people now reeling from pandemic fatigue, gymnast-turned-model and life coach Zoya Yaseka has some suggestions on how to cope with the effects of COVID-19 fatigue.

Pandemic fatigue, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) according to a release, is “demotivation to follow recommended protective behaviours, emerging gradually over time, and affected by several emotions, experiences and perceptions”.

The release said COVID-19 fatigue is a “natural response” to a prolonged global health crisis, according to WHO.

“It manifests itself in an unwillingness to follow guidelines and recommendations. It's led to an islandwide spread of emotional exhaustion that now has a name...'pandemic or COVID-19 fatigue'...” Yaseka is quoted as saying.

Some of the symptoms of pandemic or COVID fatigue include increased irritability, low mood, depression, trouble sleeping or oversleeping, overeating or undereating, feeling run-down, and lack of motivation.

With social isolation being the order of the day, it can affect individuals' lives by way of greater reduction in their physical activity which might increase the chance of infection due to a reduction in immunity, the release said.

Yaseka's programming, which is based on mindfulness, promotes balance of the mind, body, and soul. The release said she has seen an increase in the number of people seeking to calm the chaos of the times through physical and mental well-being exercises.

“Whether you are working remotely or still going in to work every day, stored stress begins to physically affect your body. It also weighs heavily on our mental and spiritual health. Physically stretching your body, alone or with someone you trust, is something we can all do to bring more balance to our lives during these times,” she said.

Stretching, technically, allows for easier and deeper movements while building strength and stability. Stretching your muscles and joints also leads to a greater range of motion, improved balance, and increases flexibility, she shared.

She also suggested the following:

Be mindful and practise gratitude

“Be mindful of your mind, body and spirit. In the moments where you begin to feel frustration, choose instead to practise gratitude. Know that doubling your mask, choosing to practise social distancing, even limiting how often you leave the house, can all help slow the spread of the virus. By choosing to do your part you are making a difference.”

Have a routine

“Something as simple as having a basic morning stretch routine can give your body help [to] strengthen your immune system. Even if you don't have time to do a long and intense workout in the morning, some simple stretching can help set a positive tone for your day.

“For example, if you're reading this, I challenge you to practise some mindfulness with me. Tomorrow morning try this when you open your eyes.

“Without saying anything, acknowledge the blessing it is to be alive. Smile as you let out your morning yawn. Take a moment to lay in your bed. Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your stomach. Breathe deep and give thanks for another day of life. Take four deep breaths before you allow yourself to sit up.

“Practices like this help set the tone for a more mindful day by choosing to be present before falling into the mindless motions of a typical day.”

Reach out

“If you can't be with loved ones, check in with calls, video chats or [via] social media.”

Practise self-care

Wash hands often, eat a balanced diet which includes plant-based meals — even if it's just one day a week — get adequate sleep, and stay hydrated. Also, get some sun and get active — exercise lowers stress and lifts your mood.

Zoya Yaseka is a former gymnast with over 15 years of experience as an elite coach and gymnast. She recently moved home to Jamaica to help share her learnings through her mindfulness resource Prescription For LIFE.

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