Simple tasks like running to the shop for a packet of biscuits is suddenly an arduous task involving face masks, social distancing and hand washing. Working from home has made a lot of people lethargic and more tired than they have ever been, even if they were commuting long distances every week pre-Covid.
And the side effect of all of this is that we are starting to resemble zombies, except our limbs are not falling off thankfully! A year of living through a pandemic and its associated stresses has left us zapped of energy, feeling lethargic, overwhelmed, anxious and struggling to focus. Suddenly every day tasks that we used to do without thinking twice about are leaving us exhausted.
‘Pandemic Fatigue’, as the World Health Organisation has coined it, is becoming a danger to our long-term well-being. While positive news about vaccine roll outs (slow and all as they are) gives us some form of hope, it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people are struggling.
Let’s give ourselves a break. We are mentally overloaded from all our new routines which require extra brain effort, which in turn is having a detrimental effect on our energy levels. Is it any surprise we are exhausted in all fairness!
Gone are our stress relieving strategies such as the gym, spa treatments, seeing friends or getting away for the weekend. In their place we had Joe Wicks who tried his best to get us off our couches; banana bread, which Joe Wicks tried his best to help us work off and box sets (thankfully Joe Wicks hasn’t released any – not that I know of anyway!).
So what do we do to stay the course until we are all finally vaccinated and some semblance of normality returns, i.e. going to a department store to buy make up instead of ordering it online, taking a chance that the shade will suit, and hoping to God you don’t look like an Oompa Loompa when you put it on!
For now, unfortunately, it’s only small, simple things that we can do to help ourselves. There is no magic formula here or award winning advice that is going to go viral and make us all the happy go lucky people like we were 12 months ago (or 12 years ago in some of our cases!).
Right now it’s simply about coping. Take time to check in with yourself and reflect on how you are doing. Remember this irritated, impatient, angry person who is tired, anxious or stressed is not the real you. We are just responding to our current situation and these responses are normal and understandable during such a difficult time. And you are not the only grumpy mare out there wondering what is wrong with you! We’re all grumpy old men and women at the moment!
Breathing exercises are the simplest way to reduce stress and anxiety. I could have just said ‘breathe’ but in all fairness we are already doing that but try slowing your breathing. That way you are telling your brain and body that there’s no immediate threat and no need to stress.
Stop ‘doomscrolling’ and limit time on your screens. Anyone else got that twitchy finger that needs to jump from app to app on your screen? Stop listening to negative news…give yourself a break from the news altogether for a few days. Read a book, listen to music (I’m not suggesting we all start listening to whales but maybe take a break from Rage Against the Machine!) or purposely watch shows or movies that transport you to calmer times and places (Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer on Netflix would probably not be your best choice at the moment).
If you are lucky enough to live near a beach, and it is within your 5km radius, go there! Sounds like an obvious thing to do but living beside a beach myself, I find it is often the last place I go to. I’m usually up the woods at 7am with the dogs hoping there’s no morning stalker up there!
And while we’re all fed up of walking and running at the moment and some days we do well just to crawl out of bed…just do it (pity that battle cry has already been claimed!).
And while that little pinhole of light at the end of the tunnel feels like it’s a million miles away, remember it’s not. We’ve survived the last 12 months of uncertainty, anxiety and stress so Don’t Give Up…keep striving, keep pushing, keep going…we’ll all get there together.
If your job is causing you undue stress, or you are worried about job security or you lost your job during the pandemic then drop us your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, you never know it could be the positive move that will change your life. And as always stay safe and stay sane. Now go for walk number 44,532 of lockdown!!