Lockdown Fatigue Syndrome!
We are in week 9 of the COVID Lockdown. It has been a rollercoaster for us all. These are indeed, unprecedented times, the like of which we have not witnessed in our life time. I know for myself, when the talk of the virus first started, I was convinced that it was just the flu, then Italy locked down and I was filled with horror. That could not happen here, surely?
Then other countries followed Italy’s lead. I was in denial that I was in the at risk group, until the ‘shielding’ letter came through my door. Reality certainly hit me then. But, humans adjust. As a global community, we adjusted and continue to do so.
Life was about to change…
I accepted that life was going to be different for the foreseeable. I used Zoom to connect with friends and family. I set up dates in my diary to ensure that I knew that time was passing. I offered free sessions in therapy and free documents that I had created about anxiety, until the hosts of the Facebook sites banned this process. I set up a virtual coffee morning in an attempt to do my bit but after 6 week realised that I was just talking to my friend!
My exercise routine went online, great until I badly pulled my hamstring! But even this meant that I adapted just like everyone else. I signed on for various courses, using my time for CPD and even a portrait course. I am occupied and lucky enough to live in house with a garden and a family that I get on with.
Why So Tired??
My basic needs are met and I know this is not the case for so many. Yet, I am tired. I awake each morning with tired eye sockets. I keep thinking of when I can next rest. I am tired. I believe that this tiredness is a manifestation of Lockdown and am calling it Lockdown Fatigue Syndrome.
Fatigue is more than just feeling tired. According to Skybrary (1) :
There are three types of fatigue: transient, cumulative, and circadian:
a)Transient fatigue is acute fatigue brought on by extreme sleep restriction or extended hours awake within 1 or 2 days.
b)Cumulative fatigue is fatigue brought on by repeated mild sleep restriction or extended hours awake across a series of days.
C) Circadian fatigue refers to the reduced performance during nighttime hours, particularly during an individual’s “window of circadian low” (WOCL) (typically between 2:00 a.m. and 05:59 a.m.).
Sleep deprivation is a major contributor to any mental health condition but I am sleeping! I am having uninterrupted sleep, I go to bed by 10;30 and get up at 7:30am, every night including the weekends. I look after my Circadian Rhythms and eat well and not too late. I walk and get lots of fresh air.
Lack of Stimulation
My thinking is that I am lacking stimulation. Too much time with the same ( all be it lovely family), in the same house and the same walks is making me feel fatigued. I have taken all of the below actions recommended and still feel beyond tired. Healthline recommend (2) :
- drink enough fluids to stay hydrated
- practice healthy eating habits
- exercise on a regular basis
- get enough sleep
- avoid known stressors
- avoid a work or social schedule that’s overly demanding
- take part in relaxing activities, such as yoga
- abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs
I have spoken to others and we all come up with the same self diagnosis. Lockdown Fatigue Syndrome does exist. It is like having sensory deprivation inflicted upon you daily. I know that we can exercise and get outside but basically we are limited at the moment and the fact that the end line is lacking in clarity adds on even more pressure and requires more positivity of focus.
I know we need to do this but I am tired! I know that I could be in a far worse situation but that does not help with fatigue! Pointing out this indisputable fact just adds on another layer of guilt. I am just sharing how I feel. I am not asking to be fixed just trying to understand the many different strands of what Lockdown means to many people. I am looking forward to greater social interaction and a change of scenery!
Seek Help Now if You Need It!
Some of these tips may be useful and certainly if you feel that there is an underlying medical or mental health issue, then seek medical advice, even in COVID Lockdown. Don’t leave it!
Online therapy & Coaching works well. Don’t put off seeking help until Lockdown is over if you are really struggling. Reach out & be heard. We all have a story to tell.
Laura Morrissey Online Coaching & Counselling
- Fatigue: https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Fatigue