Exhaustion, anger and fatigue are normal reactions to sustained COVID crisis, say health officials

Are you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed or even hopeless through this pandemic? Health experts say you are not alone and relief is on the horizon.

Psychologists working with the state’s Department of Health say not only are those feelings normal, they are also part of our natural coping process and moving on to the next phase might be closer than you think.

Halloween does not stop because of a pandemic.

“Right now we all need to find any joy we can,” said Kale Ellis. “It’s been a rough year.”

Coronavirus might be scarier than ghosts for some. Ellis says that means Halloween parties this year are out of the question.

“You don’t want to get all your friends sick or in the hospital because I wanted to throw a party,” he said.

While Champion Party Supply in Seattle has reopened for business, crowds do not look like they used to.

The store’s owner says most parents told her their Halloween plans would look different this year. She says some even nixed trick-or-treating all together, but avoiding all celebrations was not an option.

“Something to break up the monotony is nice,” said storeowner Victoria Champion.

Seven months, that is how long our world has been turned upside down thanks to the pandemic. The grief, frustration and even anger many of us feel is normal according to psychologists.

“The level of burnout an exhaustion with this whole process as a disaster is certainly affecting people,” said Dr. Kira Mauseth.

Mauseth is part of the state’s Behavioral Health Strike Force Team. Over the past few months, she says data reveals most of us are at our wit’s end and bordering on depression, but she adds our brains cannot continue grieving continuously and change is soon to come.

The strike team predicts the next stage for most in processing this crisis is not far off. Mauseth says once people can accept their new way of life and what has been lost due the changes, our grief will soon turns towards healing and a sense of resilience over the chaos that has consumed so many.

“Focusing on hope, recognizing for 2021 that even though there will be challenges, it will get better,” she said.

She says the process is not easy but we will learn to cope more easily even if it begins with something simple like dressing up for Halloween.

“We have the built in mechanisms to become adaptable and reorient ourselves,” she said. “Those are the skills we all have to bear and that’s usually the outcome.”