It’s official, we’ve had it with the pandemic. Just over a year in, and COVID fatigue has well and truly set in. Our mental health is at its most fragile, as we continue to struggle to come to terms with the effects of the ongoing pandemic. And while vaccine rollouts gain traction across the globe, a prevailing sense of uncertainly remains.

As a leader, it’s a difficult situation to overcome on a personal level – and having a team which looks to you for support and direction can make the challenge seem insurmountable. The good news is that it’s not – and while you probably already know this, sometimes, it’s good to hear (or read) it, so there it is.

But how can you overcome COVID fatigue and boost your team’s morale on those days when it all seems too much? Here are a few things to try.

Take care of yourself first

A strong leader makes for a strong team, so while you may be tempted to shove your needs aside in favour of tackling the issues your team is facing, don’t. Take the time to check in with yourself and practice self-care, in whichever form works for you. Making sure you get an hour of exercise in, or a quiet break to collect your thoughts over a cup of coffee can change your mind-set for the day, and will help you find the positive energy to guide your team effectively.

Foster your emotional intelligence

The past year has been tough on everyone and affects people in different ways. Acknowledge this with your team and treat them with empathy. COVID fatigue can lead to flared tempers between colleagues but leading with empathy will not only make them feel heard and understood, but should also encourage each team member to respect the other’s situation and raise morale.

Communication is key

Whether you’re working from the office or remotely, communication in times of crisis is more important than ever. Being there for your team and ensuring your messages to them are clear is key to overcoming the dreaded feeling of uncertainty. Zoom fatigue is also very much a thing, and we’ve all been at it for so long that it’s no surprise. Be open with your team and ask for their preferences when it comes to methods of communication – you may find that one platform works for some but not for others.

Finally, remember that we’re all in the same boat. We’re all tired, and we all have our down days. Cut yourself (and your team) some slack when these come about, and do everything you can to focus on what comes next. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even on the days it seems too faint to matter.

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