Recovering from any illness can take a toll on an individual’s physical and mental health – yet those who have been afflicted with the COVID-19 virus may experience the effects of the disease long after the initial recovery. Many individuals suffer from mood changes, poor sleep, anxiety, or depression in the post-COVID period (Wion Web Desk, 2021). Not to mention, the characteristics of daily life during the pandemic can aggravate these effects, as individuals are forced to adjust to working from home, social distancing, and concerns about the health of those around them (Spencer, 2020).
Any counsellor working in the aftermath of COVID will need to pay sufficient attention to the effects of post-COVID fatigue, and the burden it can place on the mental well-being of your clients. To understand how to deliver effective support to your clients, here’s a closer look at the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health.
The Mental Health Effects of COVID Fatigue
For many people with COVID-19, fatigue is a common symptom that can linger for weeks or even months after a patient has made a full recovery (WebMD, 2021). The symptoms of COVID fatigue can range from the physical to the emotional, with the effects leaving a lasting impact on one’s ability to manage daily activity (NHS, 2021).
In addition to physical difficulties, the pandemic has also resulted in worsening mental health outcomes due to the psychological toll of isolation, unemployment, and financial stress (Collier, 2021). For those dealing with the lingering impact of COVID fatigue, managing these circumstances is made all the more difficult. When managing a rare situation like COVID, people may experience stress, anxiety, and depression as they adapt to difficult changes in their circumstances (Quebec Health, 2021). Those with a professional counsellor diploma should be mindful of the psychological impact of the pandemic when treating clients in the post- COVID period.
Symptoms Your Clients May Experience
In working with clients recovering from COVID-19, it’s important to understand the kinds of challenges they may be facing. When it comes to the physical symptoms of COVID fatigue, clients may suffer from nausea, sleep problems, reduced appetite, and low energy (Quebec Health, 2021). The feeling of exhaustion can also have a significant impact on a client’s psychological state, as they may experience a loss of pleasure or interest in activities that they usually enjoy (Quebec Health, 2021). The isolation and inactivity that fatigue provokes can lead to greater anxiety or fear, negative thoughts, or a feeling of panic around mentions of the virus (Quebec Health, 2021).
Professionals with counsellor training are responsible for promoting the physical, mental, and emotional wellness of their clients. That may entail working with clients who are suffering from an inability to concentrate, or find difficulty in carrying out daily tasks. Some may also be avoiding anyone from outside the home. In those cases, it’s your job to find proactive solutions to help clients overcome mental and emotional obstacles in their daily lives.
How a Professional Counsellor Diploma Can Help
When working with clients suffering from the effects of post-COVID fatigue, it’s important to carefully listen to clients, assess their situations, and help them find successful ways to readjust to daily life. A community can be a valuable support network during these times (Berg, 2021). Many clients may feel isolated while suffering from fatigue. In that case, encouraging clients to connect with those around them can be a productive tool to rebuilding social contact (Berg, 2021).
To initiative activity, motivate clients to create a schedule that can encourage them to participate in their daily routine. With COVID fatigue, clients may lose momentum in their life and the feeling that they are growing (Berg, 2021). Whether it’s carrying out a simple task or changing clothes on a daily basis, a schedule can help clients feel that they’re experiencing some sort of change throughout the day (Berg, 2021). A professional counsellor should assist clients in implementing these strategies and creating goals to set their lives back on track.
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Berg, S. (2021). What doctors wish patients knew about pandemic fatigue. Retrieved from https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-doctors-wish-patients-knew-about-pandemic-fatigue
Collier, S. (2021). Could COVID-19 infection be responsible for your depressed mood or anxiety? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/could-covid-19-infection-be-responsible-for-your-depressed-mood-or-anxiety-2021041922391
NHS (2021). Your Covid Recovery: Fatigue. Retrieved from https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/managing-the-effects/effects-on-your-body/fatigue/
Quebec Health (2021). Stress, anxiety and depression associated with COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/stress-anxiety-and-depression-associated-with-the-coronavirus-covid-19-disease
Wion Web Desk (2021). Fatigue, PTSD, depression and more: Here’s how to fight post-Covid problems. Retrieved from https://www.wionews.com/science/fatigue-ptsd-depression-and-more-heres-how-to-fight-post-covid-problems-390332