Source: pixabay

Source: pixabay

Lit Column: We All Have Pandemic Fatigue

“Without the ability to gather as a community, visit with our loved ones, or to even take our time while we shop, the future can feel gloomy”

By Saara Itkonen, chief librarian at the Creston Public Library

We’ve just passed six months of living through the COVID-19 pandemic and, perhaps, like me you are feeling tired and low and frustrated with all the restrictions on our daily lives. Without the ability to gather as a community, visit with our loved ones, or to even take our time while we shop, the future can feel gloomy.

At the library, we have seen patrons express their frustration with safety protocols and their disappointment that some services aren’t available during the pandemic. We’ve also noticed that staff members are having difficulty remembering things (I’m probably the worst at this) and are often a little more distracted than normal.

But, given that we are all operating in crisis-mode, all these feelings and behaviours are actually quite normal. On September 20, Dr. Aisha Ahmad, a professor of political science and global affairs at the University of Toronto tweeted:

“The six-month mark in any sustained crisis is always difficult. We have all adjusted to this “new normal”, but might now feel like we’re running out of steam. Yet, at best, we are only ⅓ the way through this marathon. How can we keep going?”

Dr. Ahmad, who has worked in a variety of disaster zones around the world, continues:

“This is my first pandemic, but not my first six-month wall. So what can I share to help you? First, the wall is real and normal. And frankly, it’s not productive to try to ram your head through it. It will break naturally in about four-six weeks if you ride it out. Of course, there are things we have to do. Work. Teach. Cook. Exercise. But just don’t expect to be sparklingly happy or wildly creative in the middle of your wall. Right now, if you can meet your obligations and be kind to your loved ones, you get an A+.”

You don’t just have to take Dr. Ahmad’s word that we will get through the dark times of this pandemic. We also need to remember that the world has been through pandemics before. And if, like me, you are comforted by reading about how people coped with difficulty in the past, and continue to do so in the present, here are some books that you might be interested in:

– The Great Influenza: the story of the deadliest pandemic in history by John M. Barry (available in hard copy, e-book and e-audiobook)

– Pale Rider: the Spanish flu of 1918 and how it changed the world by Laura Spinney (available through Inter-Library Loan)

– Flu: the story of the great influenza pandemic of 1918 and the search for the virus that caused it by Gina Bari Kolata (available through Inter-Library Loan)

– Pandemic 1918: eyewitness accounts from the greatest medical holocaust in modern history by Catharine Arnold (available through Inter-Library Loan)

– Very, Very, Very Dreadful: the influenza pandemic of 1918 by Albert Marrin (available through Inter-Library Loan)

– The Spanish Flu Epidemic and its Influence on History: stories from the 1918 – 1920 global flu pandemic

– Influenza: the hundred-year hunt to cure the deadliest disease in history by Jeremy Brown (available through Inter-Library Loan)

Of course, you may also be exhausted by the constant barrage of information and disinformation about our current pandemic. If you would like suggestions for reading to distract, comfort, and/or entertain you, our library staff are here to recommend titles for you. The library is now open for browsing and borrowing of materials during the following service hours:

Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ongoing Programs:

– Let’s Make Music with Ellie Reynolds – Tuesdays @ 10:30 a.m. on Facebook Live

– Family Storytime with Saara Itkonen – Thursdays @ 10:30 a.m. on Facebook Live

(facebook.com/crestonlibrary)

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