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In brief

Beware the burnout: aftermath of Covid-19

après-covid santé
Ante Hamersmit on Unplash

After a month of lockdown, we are slowly but surely reaching the end date. Even if the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over, we are gradually injecting hope back into our lives, and with it, the desire for change. Changing our ways of thinking, our choices as consumers, rethinking our priorities, (finally) making environmental conservation our main aim, having more solidarity, taking time for ourselves. Lockdown could give these hopes more precedence among us.

“This is a period in which we all have time to think about yourselves”


Doctor Nicolas-Marie Delrue, a psychologist, based for two years in Cap d’Ail, confirms the psychology behind the sudden desire to change. “This is a period in which we all have time to think about yourselves. We can benefit from this by making decisions about things which are no longer important to us. Be careful to make sure it doesn’t lead to feelings of guilt or unnecessary pressure on yourself if you can’t keep this commitment once lockdown is over.”

You should avoid putting extra pressure on yourself at all costs during this challenging period. “With social distancing, there is the possibility of a collective desire amongst us all to go back to our old ways,” said the psychologist. “But will this happen?”

Aftermath of Covid-19: a new source of anxiety?

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If someone were to have the answer to this question, they would have to be a fortune teller. However, certain individual responses to the end of lockdown can give us an idea. “[the end of lockdown] could be a new source of anxiety. How do you face this problem? Are we going to be able to go back to work so easily? Lockdown could have equally caused a real level of trauma for some people. On top of that, if our workload increases when we go back, it could be difficult and raises questions about experiencing a burnout.”

However, Dr Delrue reassures that “the end of lockdown can have positive effects such as the sense of renewed freedom, less boredom, feeling useful again. But we’re not quite there yet.”

Five psychological stages

During this lockdown period, albeit being a unique situation, there are five psychological stages according to recent studies. After the announcement of these measures caused initial panic and anxieties, there was an adaptation period during which we come around to the new lifestyle. Then came the “survival” stage.

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“It was then easy to get hung up on the time, and a certain weariness kicked in. But with the announcement of a ‘release date’, the 4th phase has started, and we are experiencing feelings of acceptance,” explains Dr Delrue. “And the 5th phase will take place about a week before the release of the lockdown, the relief stage.”

Be aware of your emotions and express them once a day

There are specific tools you can employ to overcome these negative stages. “First of all, it is necessary to become aware of one’s emotions and express them once a day, whether it concerns your family, the what-ifs, working from home, etc… Also, keep the anxiety at a bearable level. To do this, I recommend creating schedules, to keep the rhythm of life before this as much as possible. And pick up a physical activity, go walking, to get outside if you can. Finally, don’t always check the news. Listening to the key updates is quite enough; there’s no need to spend your days watching the news channels continuously.”

Let’s keep waiting for those better days and what could be your new lease of life!

  • Anonymous listening and speaking number to support the residents of the Principality: in case of mental distress or simple need to speak, call 92 05 55 00.
  • For mental support in France, call 0 800 130 000.

Claire Guillou

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