Pandemic Fatigue: 5 Reasons Why Young Families Are Hit Harder
Updated: May 3
While progress is being made and the vaccine is rolling out to a neighborhood near you, the COVID-19 pandemic is still here. It impacts people all across the country (and the world) and changes what most of us know as normalcy. And the end point is not well-defined or even known yet.
Because the pandemic has been going on for almost a year, it’s easy to feel “pandemic fatigue.”
That can be especially true for younger families, whether you’re a couple just starting or having small children at home. Why are younger families hit harder by pandemic fatigue, and what can you do about it?
1. Shifting Expectations
The holidays may be behind us, but they undoubtedly hit most families hard in 2020. If this was your first year as a married couple, your first year living together, or your baby’s first holiday season, it may have been even harder.
You might have still tried to make things feel comforting and traditional. But, your expectations had to shift if you weren’t able to see your family. Trying to plan Zoom meetings or keep things “normal” can be stressful, especially during the holidays.
If you find that you’re still trying to keep things as normal as possible for your family, you may need to relax your expectations a bit to reduce your stress.
2. Keeping Your Children Safe
If you have young children, especially infants, you know the importance of keeping them safe. As a result, you may have had to isolate yourself and your little family more than usual. If you’ve had to keep your new baby away from family members and friends, not only can it feel heartbreaking but exhausting all at once. I can also cause unforeseen rifts to develop between family members. Sometimes out of nowhere and others times, exacerbating a pre-existing situation.
3. Keeping Your Elders Safe
Another reason you might be feeling fatigued by the pandemic is having to keep the older individuals in your life safe. You may not have been able to see your parents or grandparents in months, except for phone calls and video chatting.
Everyone needs a support system. Feeling like yours isn’t there (even though it’s no one’s fault) can be incredibly draining, especially if you need help or advice.
4. Financial Issues
It’s not uncommon for young families to have financial struggles to begin with. Whether you’re still paying off student loans or medical bills from just having a baby, money can be tight.
The pandemic has caused millions of people to lose their jobs or work less. For families with financial struggles, that has only added to pandemic fatigue. Worrying about how you’re going to make money or having to pick up extra work somewhere else can cause stress on your household and leave you feeling burnt out.
5. Keeping a Routine for Your Kids
If your children are in school, another area of fatigue can come from trying to give them a routine. Most schools across the country have been using e-learning platforms or teaching classes virtually. Some have returned to in-person learning, with precautions in place.
No matter what your child has had to do, you’ve undoubtedly had to play a lot of new roles as a parent. You may have had to become their teacher for a while, find childcare for them without warning, and help them understand what is going on in the world while assuring them they are safe.
It’s hard to pinpoint who has been hit hardest by this pandemic, and the reality is, everyone has been affected somehow. But, if you’re only starting, you might be feeling the fatigue caused by the pandemic more than others. Don’t forget to practice self-care as often as possible, take breaks, and find ways to reduce your stress.
If you’re struggling, reach out for help. Lean on your support system in whatever way possible, or feel free to contact me to set up an appointment. Again, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Until we get there, you don’t have to continue to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here.
To learn more about how counseling can help you on your parenting journey, please click here.
BRINGING BABY HOME: A NEW PARENT WORKSHOP IS GOING VIRTUAL!!!! A workshop for couples who are thinking about or planning to have a baby, who are expecting a baby or who have children already. Based on years of research and experience and developed by the Gottman Institute, this 12 hour workshop is designed to repair communication skills and jump start your relationship with your partner. For more information, please click here.
Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has a private practice in Cranford, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.