Disaster fatigue

By Dr. Rick Vance

Like you, I hoped we would be further along in the recovery from COVID-19 by this time. This morning’s report from the Centers for Disease Control, tells me that we are not. 

This public-health disaster has deeply affected people around the world.  For more than five months we have been trying to live in a reality that is characterized by constant change and uncertainty. 

Research shows that early in a disaster cycle, people tend to pull together.  There is a spirit of community and unity that draws people together.   

Do you remember earlier this year, how people supported one another?  People were getting to know their neighbors. 

Eventually though, stress built up, optimism wavered, and discouragement and cynicism set in.

With this in mind, I believe it is time for us to look at the coping skills we are using to navigate this new reality.  In an article published by UC Davis Health, writers discuss this current reality where people are saying; “… they don’t care if they get COVID-19. They’d rather risk getting sick than stay home or be careful. Others have simply stopped listening to health leaders and science.”

They suggest that we have the ability to help ourselves if we develop coping skills that include:

  1. Exercise: Even a simple walk will help
  2. Talking: Talk it out with a trusted friend
  3. Constructive thinking: Be compassionate with yourself and others
  4. Mindfulness and gratitude: Live in the moment and be thankful for the blessings God has given you.

We are living in unprecedented times.  We are all susceptible to the stress that accompanies this type of disaster. It is important to remember that we must care for ourselves and care for those whom God has placed in our pathways.

Utilizing Wesleyan accountability groups such as the Class Meeting and being open to Christian conversations, we can begin to navigate the obstacles of COVID-19 fatigue. 

Through it all remember John Wesley’s words; “The best of it all is, God is with us.” 

If you need resources during this time, please let us know.

The Rev. Dr. Rick Vance, director of the Center for Men’s Ministries

General Commission on UM Men




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