Your “Daily Symptom Checker”
The infamous daily symptom checker used by the University of Miami never ceases to remind us that we are living through a very uncomfortable historical moment. Paired with eager staff at every corner of campus ready to check your email and snazzy wristbands that never repeat twice, it becomes almost impossible to ignore. For most, it feels like the world as we know it changed overnight with little to no warning, and many of us are still adjusting. Due to the pandemic, most of us have become hyper aware of the physical symptoms we exhibit each day, but what happens when these symptoms aren’t physical?
Almost a year in, many students are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by what is known as “pandemic fatigue”. Signs of pandemic fatigue include, but are not limited to:
Lack of motivation
Falling behind in school
Feelings of depression and isolation
Anxiety and stress
Disregard for COVID guidelines
Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
Alcohol and substance abuse
Overeating/not eating enough
In the midst of monitoring our physical symptoms, we often neglect our mental and emotional well-being. Checking in with yourself daily and analyzing your symptoms that don’t come in the form of a cough or a fever is crucial, and knowing how to cope with pandemic fatigue in a healthy way can make a world of difference. So, how do we combat pandemic fatigue so that we're good to go?
Seek out mental health resources
As pandemic fatigue starts to wear us out, tending to our mental health is critical. Talking to someone about the challenges we face can relieve some of that burden off our shoulders. Here at the University of Miami, students have access to the resources they need to overcome this, but it only helps if we take advantage of what’s available to us. The Counseling Center is a huge resource found here at the U with services such as individual/group/couple therapy, crisis assessment, after-hours phone support, psychiatric consultation, referrals, outreach to student groups, and so much more. No concern is too big or too small. If you or a friend find yourself becoming overwhelmed at any time, there is always someone to help.
Connect with others:
While connecting with family and friends in person can sometimes pose some challenges, having meaningful interactions with people is still paramount. One way we can do this is by staying in contact. In our current age of technology, communication barriers are significantly reduced. From phone calls to facetimes, staying connected to the people we love is something that we can do from almost anywhere. Taking advantage of this can help relieve feelings of isolation. Another way to stay connected is to attend school events and activities. From open mics on the Lakeside Patio to tours of the Lowe Art Museum, there is always something to do on campus. Attending these COVID safe events is a fantastic way to switch up your routine, while not putting yourself or others at risk.
Create a schedule for your day:
When having limited access to the world around us, it can often feel like the days start to blend together. Our routines become more mundane, and we only dabble in consistent activities that provide us structure. Creating a schedule tailored to your individual needs can be the first step in pulling yourself out of this rut.
With more time than ever on our hands, staying inside often leaves us vulnerable to the seduction of extra screen time. With so much happening in today’s climate, the information overload given to us by the hands of the internet and social media can begin to take a toll on our mental and emotional well-being. Having intentional periods of log off time cannot only help you develop a healthier relationship with your phone, but can also help you connect with yourself and the people around you.
Taking care of your body is a vital part of self care. From moments of mindfulness to physical activity, staying active and in tune with your body is a fantastic way to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Something as simple as taking a 20-minute walk around campus can improve your mood and put you in a better headspace. Visiting the Herbert Wellness Center is another amazing way to stay active. With an outdoor and indoor facility with amenities including a 25-yard swimming pool, an indoor jogging/walking track, a spa and two saunas, tennis and basketball courts, a juice bar, and so much more, the Herbert Wellness center is free to students who attend the University of Miami (just remember to bring a towel).
Get some fresh air
Students at the University of Miami have had the privilege of being able to attend most classes in person. However, with COVID-19 cases on the rise, some of us have opted to attend online classes either by themselves, or in conjunction with our in-person classes. When your classes are online, it can be easy to lock yourself in your dorm for days on end, only leaving to get food. When this happens, getting out and about is a good way to break this cycle. Minor changes, like attending a class by Lake Osceola or moving from your desk to a glider, can pull you out of a routine that feels repetitive.
Follow COVID-19 guidelines
There is no better way of kicking pandemic fatigue than kicking the pandemic itself. As pandemic fatigue sets in, many people find themselves slowly starting to disregard COVID guidelines (not social distancing, going to large gatherings, not wearing a mask, not getting tested, etc.). COVID is a tiring issue to constantly be worried about, but doing your part in slowing the spread brings everyone one step closer to business as usual. These guidelines aren’t fun for anyone, but when we attempt to return to our normal way of living prematurely, we prolong the amount of time we need to follow them. The main goal is keeping everyone safe. Be consistent, get the vaccine as soon as you're able to, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
Click (here) to receive more information about the COVID-19 vaccine provided by the University of Miami.
Don’t lose hope
During plaguing times as these, it is important to remember that this is a temporary moment. Depending on the passage of time and understanding that this too shall pass, we can meet these moments with love and courage. You have survived every single one of your worst days, and for some of us, those days come more often than not. Your decision to keep pushing is a testament of your strength. Being kind to yourself and recognizing that doing your best looks different each day is the best way we can all make it out together.
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REPORTER: Nevaeh Williams.
THE CITY, Gravity Magazine, 2021.