Understanding Quarantine Fatigue And How To Cope With It

If you have been feeling completely drained and exhausted at the end of the day while staying at home during this pandemic, you may be experiencing something that is known as quarantine fatigue. And yes, it is a very real condition. 

We have all been tucked away safely at home trying to do our bit to flatten the curve and to try to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our communities. Most of the country has entered into its second month of lockdown and it has brought on a whole new set of emotions and feelings. 

We have willingly given up some of our freedom, shut some of our businesses, and done our utmost best to abide by the rules set forth by the CDC or local government to try and defeat this invisible enemy, all of which takes great discipline and perseverance. It’s no wonder we are exhausted at the end of the day. There are talks of lifting a few lockdown restrictions, but the sad reality is that it is going to be a very long time before life returns to the normal we know, which is why it is important to find new ways to combat quarantine fatigue. 

What Is Quarantine Fatigue And Why Does It Happen?

Quarantine fatigue is described as:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Stress eating
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling unproductive and unmotivated
  • Feeling on edge or nervous in general

From the moment the first cases of the virus started popping up around the country, it has been a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions, and the operator is not there to shut it off. The turbulent ride has been on repeat for the past two months, day in and day out, and we have not the slightest clue of when it will end

At first, it was panic that set in, and most of us were guilty of going a little overboard with the groceries, thinking that it was the end of the world as we know it. Once we got over the initial panic and stocked up on our quarantine snacks, we shifted into a new phase. Some were excited to work from home in pajamas, others were excited to take up new hobbies and enjoy the quality time with their family, and for some, it was the perfect opportunity to reflect on life and contemplate a better future. But the novelty of it all has worn off fairly quickly. There is only that much baking and cleaning one can do. 

There are some who have found positivity in the chaos, and while it has been nice to see the community clapping at night, singing from balconies, and spending more time together; when you factor in work, your obligations, health, finances, and family, that’s when things really start to hit home. We are tired, scared, anxious, and completely out of comfort zones at the moment. But most of all it is the lack of physical human contact, the uncertainty, and repetitiveness that leaves us feeling fatigued, unmotivated, unproductive, and emotionally drained at the end of the day. 

How To Cope With Quarantine Fatigue

The isolation and whirlwind of emotions can tempt us to go back to pre-COVID-19 habits, which could be devastating. To help ease the strain on healthcare systems and to save lives, especially our immunocompromised and older relatives, we have to adjust to the new norm and keep our distance for a little longer until the CDC or local government advises otherwise. While we may not know exactly when that may be, there are ways to cope with quarantine fatigue in the meantime.

Live One Day At A Time

Instead of counting the number of weeks you have been in lockdown and how many may be left until you are allowed back into society again, try just focusing on one day at a time. Counting down the days just adds to the anxiety. Focusing on these present 24 hours and the goals you want to complete today makes the situation more manageable.

Set up a few goals for the day like waking up early, showering, getting dressed, and eating a healthy breakfast. If you are fortunate enough to be working from home, motivate yourself to finish at least two important tasks for that day. Once the workday is over, close your laptop and wind down by doing things that help you relax like reading or watching some feel-good TV shows. 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

This pandemic didn’t come with a rule book on how to do things properly in isolation. Everyone is dealing with the situation differently and now is not the time to compare lives on social media or beat yourself up about the things you should be doing. If you have completed all your tasks, fed everyone, cleaned, and can’t bring yourself to bake another banana bread, it is ok to just catch your breath and do nothing at all. Right now all that matters is surviving, not thriving. Don’t feel guilty because you spent the day binge-watching Tiger King. If it helped distract you in a positive way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the methods you use to cope. 

Work Out

Exercise at home to beat quarantine fatigue!

One of the best ways to get over quarantine fatigue is to keep yourself active. You don’t need a gym or a park to get a proper work out either. Whether you prefer yoga or cardio you can exercise in the comfort of your own home without any equipment. Getting some exercise every day does the world of good for your body and mind.

Studies have shown that working out can be just as powerful as antidepressants because of the phenomenal effect it has on the brain. Regular physical activity is a proven and effective way to reduce muscle tension, boost the immune system and endorphins, and improve your overall health. With so many free workout channels on YouTube, all you need is a little motivation to get started.

Remember That This Is Temporary 

The very nature of our world is change. Everyday things are constantly changing. From the air we breathe to the very cells in our bodies, change is always happening and it is no different when it comes to the obstacles and challenges in life. The world has faced many pandemics before and while most of us may not have been alive to experience them, those who were around found a way to overcome it.

Everything is temporary and even though we feel like it will never end, it will. Things may not be the same as before but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. We need change to adapt and grow. Keep reminding yourself that things will get better and that we will all come out of this current situation stronger, kinder, and more resilient.  

Stay Connected

Speaking of previous pandemics and change, the one thing we do have in our favor at the moment is technology. We live in a world where we can see our friends and relatives every single day without ever leaving our homes. A video call may not be able to replace a warm embrace, but in the current situation, it is still a valuable resource that keeps us connected to the outside world.

When quarantine fatigue strikes and you feel alone, pick up the phone and video call your best friends or a few of your relatives that you have a strong bond with. You’d be amazed at how a simple phone call can make you feel. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have much news to report at the moment, which could make the conversation a bit dry, but there is a quick fix for that. Organize a virtual game night with your friends, or set up a video call with your pub quiz buddies and play a round or two of virtual quizzes. Doing this a few times a week will make quarantine feel a little less isolated and is a great way to distract your mind from the pandemic for an hour or two.

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