COVID Burnout: Coping with pandemic-related stress

If you think you have so-called COVID burnout, you're not alone. As the coronavirus pandemic enters another year, COVID fatigue may only get worse. And professionals say it is taking a toll on our mental health.

The American Psychological Association's new research shows burnout and stress are at all-time highs across professions. APA's 2021 Work and Well-being Survey found 79% of employees recently experienced work-related stress.

"COVID burnout is a real thing, and we're seeing unprecedented levels of it," Dr. Jeff Gardere, a clinical psychologist, said. "A lot of that, of course, being associated with the higher levels of anxiety and depression that people are saying that they are experiencing."

Gardere said being on the computer for way too long, not leaving your house, not having the same boundaries between work and home because of remote work can all lead to burnout. 

"Usually the symptoms are around feeling frustrated, feeling extremely tired, having a brain fog," Gardere said. 

And yet, treating burnout is relatively simple, he said — take frequent screen breaks, go for a walk, connect with friends and family, and get some rest.

"Taking naps, taking a rest, taking a few minutes to get up from the computer, being able to shift some of the workload and designate work as much as they can, being able to have a better work-life balance and getting more sustaining relationships through romance, by being able to connect with their children and with the family," Gardere said. "And really looking at mindfulness as a way to be able to center oneself and to try to remove yourself from the particular fray that is causing the burnout."

The American Psychological Association study found you can have feelings of fatigue and burnout no matter what you do for a living. The trick is recognizing it early and attempting to do something about it before it goes on for a long time.

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Important Resources

RELATED: How the Coronavirus Pandemic Can Attack Your Mental Health 

As the COVID-19 pandemic escalated in the United States, public health authorities in New York and New Jersey promoted mental health resources available to anyone who is having a hard time coping with the anxiety, stress, and dread brought on by this terrifying scenario.