Lockdown fatigue – yes it’s a thing!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

It is true! There is a legitimate reason we have been feeling a little less motivated to do……well, anything during this third and (hopefully) final lockdown. We can blame the winter months, the cold dark nights, the short days and lack of vitamin D. But if like me, you have had a bit of a nagging feeling that can only be described as irritability accompanied by a big dose of ‘can’t be bothered’, you are not alone!

Personally, I just can’t describe this feeling in any other way. All these things I wanted to do, despite lockdown (within the guidelines), but- I just could not be bothered. Would I say I was depressed? Isolated even? – No! So, what was/is it?

What is lockdown fatigue?

In basic terms, fatigue is linked to energy. We need to move to recharge. The result being- the more we do, the more we feel like doing. It is both physical and psychological.

Why has this happened?

The world stopped. Whether we have been able to continue to work or not, there is no way around it- we have become less physically and mentally active. For those working from home, the commute ‘stimulus’ has gone. For me, that journey between work and home helped me to ‘switch off’ at the end of the working day. Being at home all day means that work and home life tends to merge a little. As it happens, I don’t mind. I love my job. But, whether we mind or not, this is still a change which can contribute to lockdown fatigue.

Even if you are still working ‘in office’, the stimulus in your downtime has reduced, significantly. No matter how busy we feel in a working day. This can actually create a sense of loss over time, which our bodies respond to a little like grief. This is why some people may report feeling low, or experience bouts of depression.

If you have been furloughed, and find you are not working, that lack of daily routine can really amplify those feelings.

What does it look like?

Reduced motivation, lack of sleep, anxiety, difficulty focusing – the list is limitless really. It will impact people in different ways.

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

What can I do about it? (Here comes that annoying positivity vibe)

  • Try to rationalise how you are feeling as ‘normal’, given the situation we are all facing (easier said than done!),
  • Plan for post-lockdown,
  • Plan a social (virtual) gathering, even if you can’t be bothered (go on, force yourself – you may enjoy it),
  • Move your body-even a short walk. Get your recommend 20 minutes of natural daylight each day,
  • Eat right, stay hydrated, (Yes- all that usual stuff),
  • Also, think about what gives you a sense of wellbeing! See: What is wellbeing, anyway?
  • Finally, accept that sometimes you just need to eat the cake. Have a little indulgence now and again. Give yourself a break!

But the most useful advice I can give: create a routine that is healthy for you, both mentally and physically. Only you can prioritise your own health. Do your best to stick to it- if you break the routine one day- it doesn’t really matter. You are human. Finally, remember- we are almost there.

If you feel you need to talk to someone, please contact the Samaritans. Please contact your friends and family. You never know who may be feeling alone.

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