WATCH — Tips for dealing with pandemic burnout because the struggle is real

Published 2021-06-18 12:50

Expert shares tips for kids experiencing common problem


Oof. In case you’ve lost count, it’s been more than 450 days since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

And as you’re wrapping up your second school year in the era of COVID-19, you may find you’re feeling exhausted and unmotivated to finish up your last few assignments.

You’re not alone.

“Last year when we were online, I definitely had some motivation to do some stuff,” said Kirat Malhotra, a Grade 10 student from Calgary, Alberta.

“But recently, it’s like I’ve been trying to do my school work, but I’m always procrastinating.”

It turns out feeling like this could be a sign of pandemic burnout.

Zoom call between Alexia Sabau and her friend Kirat Malhotra.

CBC Kids News contributor Alexia Sabau called up her friend and classmate Kirat Malhotra to see if he’s been feeling any symptoms of pandemic burnout as they wrap up their Grade 10 year. (Image credit: CBC)

What is pandemic burnout?

CBC Kids News contributor and hawk-eyed social media user Alexia Sabau couldn’t help but notice #pandemicburnout and #covidburnout trending on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

On TikTok alone, the hashtags have received more than 189,000 views, with people sharing their experiences with pandemic burnout and tips on how they’re dealing with it.

“It is really, really normal to be feeling pandemic burnout,” said Lydia Muyingo, a PhD student studying clinical psychology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Three photos of Alexia wrapped in a blanket, looking sad and tired.

This week’s Hey Alexia, What’s Trending? episode is all about pandemic burnout, and Alexia’s re-enactments of what it might feel like are truly ✨the most✨. (Image credit: CBC)

Muyingo said pandemic burnout, also known as pandemic fatigue, has been brought on by the impacts of COVID-19 on people’s everyday lives.

This includes everything from having to do school online instead of in-person, being stuck at home for long periods of time or even feeling worried about catching the virus and not knowing when you’ll be safe.

Burnout isn’t a new thing

Since pandemic burnout is a relatively new experience people are having, research is still being done to learn more about what long-term effects it might have on the human body and brain.

However, burnout is something that people have experienced in other aspects of their lives, like work or school, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research on that might help us figure out what we might see in the long run.

According to Burnout and the Brain, a 2016 article by Alexandra Michel that was published by the Association for Psychological Science, some long-term effects of burnout include:

Photo of Lydia Muyingo.

Lydia Muyingo works with kids and teens who experience different mental health challenges. Muyingo shared tips for dealing with pandemic burnout with CBC Kids News contributor Alexia Sabau. (Image credit: CBC)

The good news is that these effects are reversible!

“Our brain is really good at repairing itself,” Muyingo said.

If we take some time to rest and relax, she said, we can actually fix and prevent these issues down the line.

Tips for combating it

Muyingo shared these tips for those who are experiencing signs of pandemic burnout:

Check out this week’s episode of Hey Alexia, What’s Trending? to learn more about pandemic burnout and how you can use this summer to feel better and go into the new school year in September feeling more like your old self!

TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Graphic design by Philip Street

About the Contributor

Alexia Sabau
Alexia Sabau
CBC Kids News Contributor
Alexia Sabau is an inquisitive teen who likes to keep up with the trends. The Grade 12 student is a youth ambassador with a passion for community building and motivation to make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels. She worked as a junior reporter for the Calgary International Children’s Festival and Shaw TV Calgary. Alexia is also a devoted Harry Potter fan who is excited to work her magic on CBC Kids News.

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