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Holiday Health Tips For COVID-19 Fatigue

Don't give into the temptation to throw a festive get-together.

If COVID fatigue has made exhaustion your constant companion, you’ll need to be on-guard for feeling worse during the holiday season.

Although vaccine hopes have lifted spirits, the pandemic continues to take a mental health toll on stressed Canadians; a recent poll found that half of Canadians are fed up with the restrictive lifestyles we’ve endured.

Some people may despair at the predictions that 2022 will be the year the world finally gets back to normal. This weariness may tempt those pushed to their limits to engage in risky behaviour, like in-person Christmas parties with friends outside your household bubble.

“Then the response becomes, ‘Why not enjoy my life now? I can’t just hang in there, so I’m just going to live for today,’” psychology professor Dr. Rheeda Walker pointed out, in a recent Yahoo interview. “Everyone is really trying to find a way to manage, and the holidays seem to provide an easy opportunity to kind of get back to some sense of normalcy and to have some relief. Watch the video above to find out Walker’s advice for managing your COVID fatigue this winter, while keeping celebrations joyful and safe.

Being intentional is at the heart of Walker’s wellness tips, along with guidance shared by many mindfulness experts throughout the last nine months. This spans everything, from intentionally limiting your intake of overwhelming media coverage, as suggested by the University of Calgary’s Dr. Glory Ovie, to planning virtual get-togethers with with families. As infectious disease professionals have stated, online holiday parties are the safest way to spread yuletide cheer (without spreading viruses).

Laptop screen with family video chatting online on the occasion of Christmas celebration
Laptop screen with family video chatting online on the occasion of Christmas celebration

Holidays like Christmas make being intentional about boundaries especially important when people we love aren’t social distancing or have different comfort levels with closeness than we do. In those cases, Walker recommends firmly and respectfully refusing to meet up with others.

“I appreciate that you think so much of me that you want me to be included in this family event, but for this season, I hope you understand that I really need to do what I need to do to stay safe and healthy for me and for the people in my home,” she says as an example of a polite way to turn down an invite.

And getting creative about why you love the holidays can expand your at-home festivities, too. Focusing your energies on spectacular light displays, thoughtful local gift-giving, and feeling cosy as heck are all worthwhile pursuits that are sure to boost spirits.

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