Hands up who else has been feeling exhausted with a big fat capital E since, well, ooh, around this time last year? If so, we reckon there’s a decent chance you’re dealing with a classic case of Lockdown Fatigue – that is, continual, unwavering exhaustion caused simply by existing in a pandemic. Oo-er.
And you’re absolutely not alone, because a survey by Revvies Energy Strips found that 37% of the nation felt that since the start of the coronavirus pandemic they were more tired than they’d ever been before. Whilst Marks & Spencer revealed sleep-related searches on their website were up 270% in the past year, whilst bedding searches were up 100%. It’s abundantly clear that our energy levels have taken a battering, we’re beyond lethargic and honestly? We’re desperate for a better night’s sleep. So we spoke to life coach Grace McMahon to find out exactly what causes Lockdown Fatigue and how we combat it.
What causes Lockdown Fatigue?
Grace says: “The main reason is the emotional strain of the pandemic and the coming in and out of different levels of lockdown. Constant worrying or overthinking is mentally draining for us, and will cause us to feel even more tired throughout the day.”
“There’s also the upheaval of our routines which can be stressful in itself. We might have some more freedom during our working day from being at home which might see some sleeping in the day, having a lie in or going to bed a bit later which can confuse our body clock and mess up our sleeping habits. The emotional strain and lack of using up energy sources can make the quality of our sleep suffer, causing us to feel more fatigued. And not to mention the possible extra responsibilities we have had to take on like homeschooling, additional jobs to keep our finances on track or just keeping the house in order whilst we’re always there. “
“But feeling this way is completely normal when faced with a large number of stressors. As humans, anxiety is a normal response to uncertainty and unfortunately it thrives on this. Right now we’re facing more stress, more often. It is completely normal to be feeling irritable, down and exhausted when there is so much going on around us.”
And who’s most likely to suffer from it?
Grace’s answer? Everyone. She says: “As this response is totally normal, it is likely affecting anyone and everyone to some extent – children, adults, workers (from home or key). There may be some who are experiencing more extreme levels, for example any parent working from home, homeschooling their children and running a household is likely to be feeling the exhaustion a lot. There may be those people who are adapting to new work environments, emptier schedules or just missing the gym/pub. Either way, this is not what we are used to and we have little inclination of when it might end which is draining for us all.”
How do we cure it?
Grace says that there are a few easy steps that will boost our energy levels throughout the day, these include…
Hydration: “It’s key in boosting energy levels but right now it can be the last thing on our mind. We might be getting through whole days without a sip of water, winding up at the end of the day feeling parched. Try drinking some more water (extra tip: it’ll make us need the loo more often meaning we’ll have to get up more often, getting us a little closer to our step goals for the day).”
Routine: “Even if its not the usual day-to-day, build a routine for now. Not only will it help us stick to sleeping habits and improve our quality of sleep, but a routine can give back a sense of control in these uncertain times and help the anxiety to simmer. When building a new sleep schedule start with your wake up time, as consistently getting up at the same time everyday, will lead you to feel consistently sleepy at the same time.”
Move: “Make sure to get out of the house, even if one day it is literally just to take the bins out. Do some star jumps in our morning coffee break or take a walk at lunch time, anything to get the blood pumping and those endorphins bouncing.”
Be kind to yourself: “At the end of the day, we are in a pandemic facing mega restrictions and it is hard work to keep going some days. That is ok. If energy is not on our side we can do some things to boost it, but we can also allow ourselves to take a break.”
Image in feature from @all_who_wonder via Unsplash.