DeAnna Giles – Opinion Columnist
Many people are getting sick and dying in America. We have been hit harder by the coronavirus than any other country in the world.
As we approach the one year anniversary of the two week quarantine, COVID fatigue has become a problem amongst many and continues to diminish any hope for a normal future.
One year later, people are tired of wearing masks, staying at home due to restrictions on gatherings, being away from family and friends, and having to socially distance ourselves. This type of burnout is what experts are calling COVID-19 fatigue, which can lead to careless behaviors.
I certainly have fallen into that category a few times. For me at least, the pandemic raised a lot of uncertainty about the way of life. Going with the flow was not something I was used to, but rather forced into, due to the many changes that occured on a constant basis.
Not knowing when I would be able to see my friends, travel, or even just go to the movies was unsettling. Just the thought of not having to wear masks every place we go, I felt was too far to imagine. I realized this is the time we have to be okay with where we are in life, appreciate the things we have, and acknowledge our new normal.
On the other hand, I thought the timing of the pandemic was slightly ironic because I, like many, imagined it lasting a few months, not an entire year. I imagined the pandemic would end with my spring semester until everything was shut down for the summer.
“For many, if you have increased isolation from loved ones, co-workers and people who you used to have bonds with, burnout and fatigue can make you feel like those things aren’t really worth it anymore,” said American Medical Association news writer Sara Berg.
This raised concerns for my peers around me. It was scary hearing about my friends or family deciding not to celebrate an accomplishment, a birthday, or even a holiday amid the pandemic. It seemed as if all hope for a normal future was lost and unreachable.
“I was finally allowing myself to go outside my comfort zone and meet new people, go to new places and do new things. When the pandemic hit, I felt like I took ten steps back and just like everyone in the world, my anxiety was cranked to the max,” said Junior Kulle Hassan.
I am sure my peers would agree that the pandemic hit everyone the same yet differently. Many, myself included, were not able to work during the pandemic, not able to continue the hobbies that became our way of life, and required us to pause valuable in-person gatherings.
“The pandemic has changed my social life drastically. Even though I would consider myself an introvert, I still like to socialize when I have the chance. The pandemic has removed any opportunity to do that,” said Senior Joshua Slaughter.
Even though my normal commitments ceased to exist, studying for the GRE, family and the Holy Bible kept me company. Strangely I feel as if I have mastered the ways of the pandemic. I socially distance myself, wear a mask everywhere, and sanitize every place I go. But this does not take care of the communication that is a huge part of our life.
While COVID fatigue is floating around, there has also been a little positivity rising from the pandemic. When you have not picked up a hobby, you are given time to care for yourself whether that is mental, physical, or psychological. Because of the pandemic, I was able to learn more about myself and my tendencies in certain situations.
Thankfully, my peers felt the same way. “The pandemic did give me a positive perspective on those who are in my life. I learned to treasure and appreciate the times with people more” said Slaughter.
“Being stuck at home allowed me to face my emotions head on, and work through my insecurities. It also allowed me to get closer with my family” said Hassan.
It is nice to hear how COVID fatigue fails and instead, we grow as individuals. One thing still remains, we are constantly masking up. And the burning question on everyone’s mind is, “When do we get back to normal life?”
The COVID-19 vaccine raises hope for any signs of normalcy but it will take months to get the shots to those who need them and will accept them.
Nonetheless, we made it through the year of the pandemic, and continue to question the capability of normalcy in 2021.
The pandemic has outstayed its welcome and the time of masking up needs to expire. With “hopes of seeing the inside of a classroom again or even the smiles that have long been hidden underneath masks,” said Hassan, it is time for normal to be normal again.
COVID fatigue has impacted many lives and there is only one way of getting around it, maintain hope that things will get better.