During the COVID-19 pandemic, we heard about people experiencing different kinds of fatigue, whether related to burnout, being unmotivated to follow pandemic restrictions or as a symptom of infection. But what exactly is fatigue?
Fatigue is not synonymous with tiredness. When one is tired, sleep helps. Fatigue results when cognitive, emotional or physical attentiveness is required for prolonged periods of time resulting in feelings of tiredness, exhaustion or lack of energy or desire to continue a task. It is not resolved by a nap.
Fatigue regularly includes difficulties in concentration, feelings of anxiety and increased distractibility. Medical professionals and researchers currently define fatigue by differentiating types of exertion: physical, cognitive and as it has more recently been conceptualized, social-emotional.
I am working with colleagues to provide a means for students with disabilities and their educational teams to understand the impact of fatigue, to advocate for appropriate strategies and programs and to moderate fatigue in educational contexts.
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