Staying at home for over a year now has led to many of us feeling a sense of exhaustion and burnout. It's what has been dubbed as quarantine fatigue or exhaustion from being locked indoors for a long period of time.
Even though restrictions have largely eased since the strict lockdowns a year ago, many people remain hesitant to go outdoors due to the lingering threat of COVID-19, the spike in infections, and new virus variants.
But for those who are itching to get a feel of nature again, Dr. Beverly Ho, who leads the Department of Health's communications arm, said you can still do so as long as you exercise caution.
Here are some ways on how you can deal with quarantine fatigue:
1. Use open spaces, exercise outdoors
When heading out, Ho said it's best to choose open spaces to minimize the risk of contracting the virus.
"Now we are able to actually go out, probably use the open spaces that are available in your neighborhood," she told Summit Sandwich Sessions.
"If you just want breathing space, air, makalabas lang physically sa bahay, then we suggest doing outdoor physical activity ng mag-isa... Exercise and physical activity, that should help relieve our stress," she added.
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2. Maximize online tools
Staying indoors doesn't mean disconnecting from friends and loved ones. Ho encourages people to make the most of the online tools available to stay connected even while in quarantine.
She also appealed to the public to limit trips and social events for the meantime given the surge in COVID-19 cases and the threat of new virus variants.
"We're at a critical juncture now and we're asking everyone a little more patience. Let's maximize all our online tools," she said.
3. Socializing? Assess the risks
Dr. Ho admitted that people are tired of the pandemic which is why there have been lapses in the observance of minimum health standards.
"Tao lang din, napapagod. We see certain breaches or lapses," she said, noting that in deciding to socialize, one must weigh the risks.
"At any point in time, just reassess 'What risk am I putting myself in?'" she said.
Data gathered by the DOH according to Ho showed that the spike in COVID-19 infections in some healthcare facilities was due to virus transmission when people eat out together.
"Because interacting with other people will require us to remove our masks. The recent spike in healthcare facilities is actually driven by this behavior--kumakain together," she said.
While it is best to stay in your bubble, Dr. Ho reminded the public to always observe minimum health standards--wear face mask and face shield--should one decide to go out to meet other people.
"If you are actually meeting your friends and you will still actually be in your gears and you won't be gathering unmasked that's also possible," she said.