Lockdown or pandemic fatigue– Ways to Cope

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Dr. S.N Aravinda

National, 21 July 2021: Lockdown fatigue is the term that experts call the exhaustion that people are facing after the varying degrees of lockdown imposed in the city from March 2020. As the lockdown has led to people suffering stress and uncertainty, loss of jobs and social connection, there is a kind of emotional fatigue that has set in. It is a feeling of being constantly tired or lethargic caused by the emotional impact of the pandemic and the consequent lockdowns. Although many people are unable to identify the reason behind their fatigue, this is a feeling shared by many across all ages, be it adolescents who are unable to play with their friends, teenagers who are adjusting to the online style of learning, working professionals who are feeling burnout, or the elderly who are trying to adjust – regardless of what they’ve been up to that day.

How do you know if you are suffering from pandemic fatigue?
If you feel exhausted throughout the day for no apparent cause, are not getting adequate sleep, tend to dwell too much on the future and uncertainties associated with it, are finding it difficult to focus on the tasks at hand and have given up on trying to maintain a routine, you may be suffering from pandemic or lockdown fatigue.

Ways to beat this Lockdown Fatigue
In order to beat the fatigue and ensure that your health is looked after, the first step is to acknowledge and accept that you are undergoing a difficult emotional experience and that we are all going to have to go through the uncertainty. Instead of seeking to control the future, it is important to focus on the things you can control on a daily basis.

You need not suppress your emotions: Amidst all the professional and personal work, one should take out some ‘Me-time’ where they can do anything that keeps them calm and relaxed. Similarly, try to maintain your earlier daily routine as far as is possible.

Beat the fatigue: Stay motivated and active because regular exercising has been irrefutably proven to fight fatigue and boost your energy levels. That doesn’t necessarily mean being at the gym or going to a marathon. Instead one can simply go for a walk around the neighbourhood or practice yoga at home and that would be sufficient.

It’s better to avoid sleeping during the day as it will make it harder to fall asleep at night as your energy levels will be the same. Try to burn excess energy through the day to make it easier to fall asleep at night.

Keep mobile and laptops away while going to bed at least two hours prior so that your mind is not distracted or engaged by the apps on the phone. Blue light can affect your sleeping cycle.

Maintain social connections, virtually. This will let you maintain relationships and engage with close ones rather than being isolated by yourself, which can contribute to feeling disconnected.

Pick up your favourite habit or hobby like reading a new book, learning a new recipe, up-cycle your furniture or simply call a friend. As hobbies and habits tend to increase the interest levels in oneself and keeps one engaged.

Aim to drink at least 1.5 litres – and ideally 2 litres – of fluids per day as dehydration causes the mouth and nasal passages to become dry and can disrupt sleep.

Try to eat regular healthy meals throughout the day and avoid unnecessary undernourished and junk food in your diet. As refined carbohydrates found in white rice, pasta and bread, potatoes, cereals, biscuits and cakes tend to be quickly absorbed and usually have an effect on your hormones and may cause us to feel drowsy.

Since stress and anxiety can play havoc with your energy levels. It’s better to adopt relaxation strategies such as breath work or mindfulness meditation in order to reduce those variations in your energy levels.

Create a defined routine in your daily life hence you enter your day knowing there is an agenda to be accomplished

Hence therefore, with fear, worry, stress and uncertainty surrounding all of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be hard to keep a positive attitude. But following and practicing these simple methods one can save himself from feeling lethargic and getting carried away with all the corona pandemic chaos.

Article by Dr. S.N Aravinda, Consultant – Internal Medicine, Aster RV Hospital