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'It's summertime, and we're stuck indoors:' Psychiatrist weighs in on coping with COVID-19 burnout

Getting social interaction, even if its not in person, can be a balm for feelings of anxiety, Dr. Scott Hoopes said.

BOISE, Idaho — Ask almost anyone around the Treasure Valley how they're dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as the virus stretches into its fifth month in Idaho, and you will get variations on the same answer. 

We're sick of it. 

From stores and businesses closing down, to the list of restrictions, to needing to remember to slip on a mask when you step outside, the pandemic is taking a toll even on those who have escaped becoming seriously ill.

“The biggest thing I think we’re all tired of is being confined, wearing the masks,” said Boise resident Melvin Harvard when KTVB's cameras caught up with him downtown. “It’s summertime, and we’re stuck indoors.”

Other Boiseans echoed his words.

“We’re all tired of being cooped up, and having our lives restricted,” said Chris Anton. “We don’t see this thing ending anytime soon.”

“I gotta admit, it’s been going on longer than I thought it would and it’s been more of a roller-coaster ride than I thought it would be,” Eric Tania agreed.

According to Dr. Scott Hoopes with Live Well Psychiatry in Meridian, a few months can begin to feel like forever. And the uncertainty that many are grappling with gets old fast, he added.

"People are feeling tired, they’re feeling fatigue, they’re feeling burned out, they’re feeling anxious about the future - what it’s going to look like, what we’re going to be doing," he said.

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Hoops says getting some form of social contact can be a balm for those feelings of anxiety. For many of us, the way we interact with our friends and neighbors has changed, but even a Zoom call or distanced visit is better for your mental health than scrolling through Facebook for the 100th time, the psychiatrist said.

"Be outside and social distance, but it’s a reasonable thing to get together,” he said. “Let’s get together, let’s talk and laugh and have fun, complain and gripe – fabulous! That’s going to help us all.”

Anton has spent his time hiking and biking in the Foothills, and says he has seen more people out and about lately. 

All three residents KTVB talked to said they are going to continue to be cautious until more is known about the COVID-19 threat.

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Harvard said his uncertainty will likely last until scientists come up with proven treatments or prevention.

“Now I think we’re at the point where we just want to see this end," he said. "Until we get a vaccine, I think we’re gonna be on a rollercoaster ride.”

“I hope we’re beyond the halfway point," Tania said. "I don’t know. It’s kind of a coin toss right now.”

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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