Lockdown Fatigue – Tips on Making it Through
Lockdown Fatigue. Turns out, it is a real thing and this time around a lot of us are feeling it. Big time.
So, what is lockdown fatigue? Safe to say, the last eleven months have thrown us into a rollercoaster of emotions. As a worldwide community, we are experiencing the ups and down of life in a whole new and very draining way. Furthermore, the root cause feels so desperately out of our control that we almost feel like we have no choice but to keep up the pace of how things are moving. We are in a constant state of adjusting. The routines that we rolled our eyes at before now feel like a blissful memory as our brains and bodies struggle to create our own new ‘normal’.
As you can imagine, this is a lot to take on!
The result? lockdown fatigue causes feelings of unease, confusion, despair and a lack of motivation. Then maybe, the next day you have positivity, hope and a sense of peace only to watch the news and go back to the unknowing again. Layer on top of that the anxiety of financial concerns and worries about the health of loved ones and all in all, it’s pretty exhausting.
If this feels like you, the first things to know is that this response is in fact a perfectly normal response to this level of stress. Honestly, it really is! Feeling this way in this current climate is truly reasonable. So, let’s not fight against it with denial and repeating ‘I’m OK!’ over and over in a bid to combat it. For years we have heard the phrase ‘It’s OK to not be OK’ in regard to mental health and right now, we need to honour it.
Luckily, there are things we can do to help.
Help Lockdown Fatigue With a Good Routine
As humans, even if we don’t want to admit it we are creatures of habit. Our bodies and minds thrive when they have a cycle that feels effortless and predictable. We feel more grounded, focused and in control. Furthermore, this helps reduces stress. The last year has seen lots of disruptions to our lives creating a feeling of lockdown fatigue. Maybe, give these a try!
- Have a set time for waking up and getting up. It’s so easy to linger in bed when you have nowhere to go to but as you may be discovering, it does very little for your motivation and energy levels.
- Create a morning movement routine. Whether it’s 10 minutes of yoga or going for a short walk, have something to physically do to get your body moving and those endorphins flowing!
- Have a morning ritual. That cup of tea when you first wake up, meditation or even simply a morning shower! A little something that just makes you feel good, nourished and cared for to start the day.
- Have set meal times. This helps your body create a stress-free rhythm to your days. Also, it ensures you are taking your breaks if working from home. Lots of us are guilty of this!
- Bedtime is as important as waking up time! Just because you may have nowhere to go in the morning doesn’t mean you can deny your body the sleep that it needs! Have a set time that you turn off the TV and start to wind down for sleep. Maybe even create a lovely evening ritual that makes it feel even better!
Limit Your Screen Time to Prevent Lockdown Fatigue
This is easier said than but, so worth doing to help prevent lockdown fatigue. If you work on a computer all day then try and make sure you do not then switch straight over to looking at your phone or the TV. Have a break, go for a walk, phone a friend or enjoy a little move around on your yoga mat. Maybe put on your favourite music and just have a rest of your eyes. You have earned it! Of course, we all know that time outside has an amazing effect on our physical and mental health so make sure you get out and embrace it every day!
See if you can interact socially differently to how you do at work. If you spend lots of time on Zoom during your working day, maybe pick up the phone and chat with a friend. We are social creatures by nature, this isolation is tough so do what you need to do to keep contact with those you love.
Separate Work from Rest and Play
This last year we have seen our homes turn from our place of sanctuary to our offices and schools as well. More than ever it is now tough to separate work from rest as they happen in the same place! This lack of separation is a key contributor to lockdown fatigue.
- Create a specific workspace. If you can, have a specific place you can define as your workspace. Even if it just a seat at the kitchen table it helps not just you but also anyone else in your home recognise this as your work environment.
- Take breaks. Chances are you probably used to break up your day with going to get lunch or even just driving to and from places but now, it’s all in one place all the time. Don’t skip breaks! Set an alarm and make sure you take them! Stand up, move around, get some fresh air if you can and take some time out.
- Don’t work past your normal work hours. If work finishes at 5 pm when you are in the office, close those emails and end your day at 5 pm at home too. This is an essential boundary that means you then have time to look after yourself properly.
- Make time for fun and self-care. Schedule it into your diary if you need to but make sure you make time to do something that brings you joy!
Be Kind to Yourself
So many of us are now wearing more hats than normal. We have our normal jobs but are now also teachers and carers on top. Finding doing the best you can at your job while also teaching maths to a 6-year-old, entertaining a teenager and making sure everyone is fed, clothed and watered stressful? Well, that’s because this juggling act is bonkers. Come on, it’s insane really. Fact is, this is the normal job of multiple people and you are doing the best you can to make it work. Give yourself a giant pat on the back for being an epic multi-tasking ninja. Give yourself some praise for making it through another day. You did it you amazing human! Now, rest because you know you got to do all again tomorrow right?
- Instead of writing a to-do list, create a DONE list. Honestly, it feels EPIC listing all the things you have achieved instead of focusing on what you have left to do.
- When things get overwhelming, take time out. Two minutes or even thirty seconds to step away from what you are doing and take some deep breaths can make all the difference.
- Have a cry. Yep, you read that right! Feel like it’s all about to bubble over? Shut the door, punch a pillow and have a good cry! It’s therapeutic, cleansing and is most likely the release you need. You do not have to have it together 24-7. Let it go!
What Feeds You Affects You
We mean this in multiple ways. First the obvious – eat well. It can make all the difference to you feeling both physically and mentally well. Eat well and move often has been our mantra through lockdown and although it can be tough to commit to, really has had a positive effect.
However, it is not just what you eat. What thoughts, words and feeling are you being fed too? Annoyingly, this can be even harder to monitor but again, can make a huge difference to prevent lockdown fatigue. If you are having a day where it all just feels too much, do yourself a kindness and don’t watch the news. Do not scroll through your phone and read articles that feed your anxiety and worries. You do not need to know it all, all the time. Perhaps, commit a day a week as a totally screen-free day? Or limit your news source to a specific time so you do not have the bombardment from all places.
If you need support during lockdown, there is support. Helplines are available 24-7 and are a lifeline when you need. Such as British Red Cross, Anxiety UK, CALM, and Mind.
Ultimately, do what you need to do to get through. Lockdown fatigue is real and if you have days when it feels more real then look after yourself. Maybe some of these things resonate with you and work! Perhaps some of them don’t, and that’s OK. Create your own toolbox of techniques that ensure you are able to look after yourself.
You are worth your time.
You are worth your own care.