6 Tips for Overcoming Coping Fatigue

It’s no secret that these are challenging times. We are adjusting to a new normal, while grieving the old normal. In many crisis situations, we get a jolt of adrenaline that carries us through the crisis. This is different. We’ve made a lot of adaptations, and there are more to come, for an uncertain amount of time.

In situations like this, Gerard Florio, Ph.D., Clinical Health Psychologist at Glens Falls Hospital, reminds us that it is important to do all we can to minimize the effects of coping fatigue:


1.  Accept your emotions

  • It’s ‘normal’ to experience some degree of distress in unfamiliar, unpredictable and uncertain situations
  • Accept your emotions, battling them only boosts them

2. Check your thinking

  • Don’t ruminate over how hard things are
    • ‘I’m totally overwhelmed; This is terrible; This is horrible; This is unfair’
  • Quiet your inner critic
    • ‘You can’t handle this; You’re not strong enough’
  • Affirm your coping strength and success
    • ‘This won’t last forever; I’ve been through other tough spots and survived; I can feel anxious and still deal with the situation; I’m strong enough to handle what’s happening right now; My thoughts and feelings don’t control my life, I do’

3. Stay in the moment

  • When you’re consumed with what may or may not happen in the next several minutes or months, take a step back and take a deep breath
  • Think about one moment, task, or experience at a time

4.  Accept the reality of imperfection

  • We are in uncharted waters – no one knows what to expect, and there isn’t a lot of guidelines on how to handle situations that arise
  • Remind yourself that doing the best you can will help
  • Practice self compassion
    • Self-compassionate people aim just as high, but they also recognize and accept that they can’t always reach their goals

5.  Calm your body, calm your mind

  • Eat well
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Exercise
  • Make time to unwind: Listen to music, read literature or poetry, do puzzles, play games, watch comedies, engage in your hobbies
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Meditation
  • Prayer

6.  Stay connected to others

  • Isolation makes thing worse
  • Helping and talking to each other reminds us that we are not in this alone