Our Lives Have Changed
Back in December, did you get a little bit excited to start the new “Roaring 20s” ? That seemed to be the common theme for New Years Celebrations. This was supposed to be one for the history books! Well, in a lot of ways, it did make history, didn’t it? Our lives have changed. While we were excited for a new era, we were not prepared for Quarantine Fatigue. For many of us, we are not only seeing the effects of a pandemic, but intense civil unrest. Many cities and states are still under tight quarantine, while others are having to enforce strict curfew. Congratulations! While this may not be as exciting or enjoyable as we have all hoped, we are actually a part of history right now.
While parts of the country have eased up on their quarantine rules, many cities’ numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to grow. The doors of thousands of companies are either still closed, or permanently shut due to the hit our economy has taken. While you may have found yourself a new routine of changing into your ‘day-time pajamas’ to do work from home, eating three breakfasts and then taking a nap before your next zoom meeting, there is no doubt that this is not ideal.
What is Quarantine Fatigue?
At the end of your day, do you find yourself utterly exhausted, drained and unable to think straight, despite not even leaving the house? This is what experts are calling “Quarantine Fatigue” and it is not only real, but it is becoming a problem. Quarantine Fatigue refers to the lack of physical or emotional energy that many people are feeling due to the effects of being stuck at home for the last few months.
What does Quarantine Fatigue Feel Like?
Some people describe their current feelings with any number of the following, very real symptoms:
- Actual Physical and Mental Fatigue
- Lack of Focus
Do any of these check a box for you? Have you noticed some of these feelings since you started staying home more? It’s very normal, and you are most certainly not alone.
Why Do We Feel This Way?
Social Distancing is lonely.
We are social creatures. For most of us, we need social energy to feel connected. For men and women with immuno-compromised family members or friends, it has been particularly difficult as they can’t even visit their parents or loved ones. Social distancing is just that: distant. Though some restaurants, bars or outings in some cities are beginning to open up as we approach “Phase 2”, a lot of people are still afraid. Add in the latest developments in civil unrest and curfews, and some men and women are even less inclined to leave their homes.
Stress is Higher Than Ever
The usual stressors of life have been magnified dramatically since we went under quarantine. Unemployment rates are the highest they have been in 90 years. Let that number sink in. We are the most unemployed that we have been since The Great Depression. If you are one of the millions who have been laid off, furloughed or whose companies have gone bankrupt, this is a terrifying time. Worrying about your rent, mortgage or car payment can be so nerve wracking that it is exhausting.
If you have children, you now have the added bonus of having them home with you all day and not at school. You also are responsible for making sure they are doing their classwork, attending THEIR zoom meetings and not going crazy being cooped up. If you are doing this while you are unemployed, it may be an okay distraction, but if you are working from home while dealing with this, it can be truly draining.
There is TOO Much Information
Could there really be too much information? Absolutely. If you follow the news, you are being beaten over the head with updates, terrifying statistics, rising charts and fearful info. Not just about the quarantine, but about protests, questionable politics and tragic stories. It is everywhere. Even browsing your Facebook page, you will be hard pressed to find discussion not related to current events.
What Can We Do To Overcome Quarantine Fatigue?
During this time, it is easy to fall into bad habits, or negative mindset. While it may be awhile before life is anything like it used to be, you cannot let your body, mind or spirit deteriorate in the meantime. Here are some suggestions on what you could to reduce your overall frustrations during quarantine:
- Focus on Fitness – For many of us, boredom may lead to snacking which may lead to unhealthy eating and a few extra unwanted pounds. Change out of those day time pajamas and put on some workout clothes! Go for a walk around the neighborhood, do some yoga or maybe take a quick bike ride. Anything that you can do to get up and get moving can help you to feel more energized.
- Call Loved Ones – Social distancing is not ideal, but neither is isolation. Today, call up a few friends or loved ones that you haven’t spoken to. FaceTime or Zoom with them. Laugh out loud and gripe together so you can feel heard. Make sure they know that they are loved!
- Turn off the News – We get it. Things are rough. People are in pain and everything is a mess. Do you need to see more? Take a break. Take a breath. Allow yourself to escape for a minute. Maybe grab a book you haven’t finished and settle into a bath. It’s okay to take a media break. It may help you to decompress!
Quarantine Fatigue and Recovery
If you are in recovery, this can be an exceptionally trying time for you. Support groups and meetings have become digital. Your therapy is likely now on telehealth. Isolation is not good for your recovery. As the stressors of quarantine fatigue begin to bear down on you, the desire to drink or use may get stronger than it has been in the past. We stand with you and remind you that this is not the time for relapse! Whatever you have held onto during your recovery, revisit this. Call a support person or loved one and talk it out. Ask for help! We are all in this together, and when this is over, you will need your health!
In This Together
Try to remember that you are not alone. More than ever, we need to do our part to stay together in this difficult time. We must celebrate and support one another, even from afar. Together, we can overcome anything thrown at us and make a better world.
Please read this words to yourself, and keep them close to heart:
“You are living through a pandemic and a historical revolution – please do not beat yourself up if your mental health is not the best right now”.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or relapse, please reach out to us at (877)-RECOVERY or 877-732-6837. Our team of addiction specialists make themselves available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.