Pandemic fatigue is real – NJ expert tells you how to deal with it

Did you enjoy the days earlier this summer when life felt like we were emerging from the coronavirus pandemic?

Garden State mental health professionals are witnessing another wave of so-called pandemic fatigue, now that COVID measures and conversations about masks and restrictions have many wondering if they are close to knowing another round of isolation and fear.

“It’s like suddenly having to run a half marathon after completing a marathon,” said Dr. JD Friedman, clinical psychologist at Baker Street Behavioral Health, based in New Jersey.

Residents of New Jersey have been urged for months to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to see a light at the end of the tunnel, Friedman said. And now, with a significant fraction of residents fully vaccinated, it looks like the fight against the health crisis has taken a few steps backward.

Again, he said, people experience a loss of control and predictability. The next school year, residents recently learned, will begin with K-12 students wearing masks indoors – a move that was not expected at the end of the last school year.

“The curve that this presents can be very demoralizing for people, and that’s what we mean in our practice,” he said. “It can really take a toll on people, it can increase their anxiety levels, it is definitely a stressor that will affect them physically.”

Friedman noted that not all people with pandemic fatigue need professional help. It’s a problem of mind and body that people can try to solve on their own – it might be easier, he said, for people who are vaccinated.

“It’s still summer, you can still go out, move. Take care of your body, take care of your relationships,” Friedman said. “Basically stick with it, because that’s really the name of the game at this point.”

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]

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