Home-Blog-Quarantine Fatigue is Real. Here’s How to Cope
Quarantine Fatigue is Real. Here’s How to Cope
It could be at least another year before everyday life returns to normal due to COVID-19, so it’s important to find ways to adapt to current circumstances.
Routines and schedules are helpful. If yours have been disrupted, try to find new ones.
Make personal time for yourself while also connecting with friends and family.
Try to allow time for physical exercise and maintaining your diet while staying away from less healthy vices.
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It’s been more than 2 months since self-isolation and shuttered businesses became the norm in most of North America due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there’s talk of gradual re-openings in some areas, we still could be more than a year away from life returning to normal.
As “quarantine fatigue” takes root, experts say it’s worth checking in with yourself and others to deal with this uncertainty in a healthy way.
“A lot of people describe being really fatigued at the end of the day,” Mary Fristad, PhD, ABPP, a psychologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Healthline.
“This is due to so many reasons. One is we’re all experiencing so much change and unpredictability in our life,” Fristad explained. “A lot of people are feeling very anxious, particularly if they’re having financial difficulties, which so many people are. The extra demands of getting through the tasks of the day, when suddenly parents are supposed to be working from home and also providing education for their children, add up to an exhausting schedule for many people.”
How are people holding up?
Melissa Wesner, LCPC, a licensed clinical professional counselor and founder of LifeSpring Counseling Services, told Healthline that while there are some commonalities to the way people are responding to the pandemic, individual responses can vary.
“There are some situations that are similar across the board and other responses depend on each person’s unique life experiences,” she explained.
“For example, many people who work from home at a computer are reporting fatigue and eye strain. Even people who would not identify as extroverts are reporting missing the opportunity to physically be with friends, family, and co-workers.”
While phone calls and video chats provide a much-needed social outlet, Wesner says that these seemingly paradoxical interactions — socializing while socially distancing — don’t completely fill the void for many people.
“I’ve heard several people say that they are starting to struggle because they’re missing human interaction, physical presence, and hugs,” she said. “These individuals have commented that online communication with friends ‘just isn’t the same.’”
Jessy Warner-Cohen, PhD, MPH, a senior psychologist with Northwell Health in Lake Success, New York, adds that the pandemic makes it difficult for people to hit their optimal level of stimulation.
Warner-Cohen pointed to the Yerkes-Dodson Law, which states that people need a certain level of stimulation in order to be most efficient. Understimulation results in lowered motivation while overstimulation can cause a lack of focus.
“There is an overstimulation from constant information influx and uncertainty as to what will come from this information, and this is tiring,” she told Healthline. “There is also fatigue associated with a lack of stimulation. Not having a change in environment is difficult. People are both in an understimulated and overstimulated state, and both can result in negative impacts on mood.”