It’s now official, this lockdown in Greater Sydney will extend in its current format through to the end of September(at least). This is a long time for us all to be couped up in our own households and restricted from social interaction.
If you are really feeling it this time around, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
Recently, Lucy Brogden, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission stated in an interview that what we are experiencing is “pandemic fatigue”. Yes, it is a real thing.
I hope you’re sighing with relief that you realise now that it’s not just you who has felt tired, low in energy, restless… But let’s have a look at all of the symptoms of Pandemic Fatigue, as well all experience it in different ways:
- Low in energy
- Difficulty looking forward to tomorrow
- Not wanting to be with others
- Increased use of alcohol or other substances
- Lack of enthusiasm for things you would normally enjoy
Have you experienced any of these feelings or behaviours recently?
I know I have. And I’m guessing you might have too.
There is good news here, I promise.
Firstly, we can feel relieved that this is a common experience. It’s not just our own reaction or experience but a normal reaction to stressful circumstances after thinking that we were all on the better side of the pandemic, then being thrust into an extended lockdown.
I was explaining it the other day, using a running analogy. Imagine that you are at the end of your 10km run and mentally you know you only have 1km left. You start to look towards the finish line and are mentally preparing to stop. Then suddenly someone slaps another 10km on your run. It impacts everything because mentally and physically you were preparing to stop, rest and be able to recover. But now you have to keep going and you are basically back at the start. For us in an extended lockdown it’s as if the run keeps extending and now we don’t have a specific end in sight. No wonder we’re tired!
The second good news in all this is that there’s a name to these feelings and behaviours that we’re experiencing. There is nothing wrong with us, with the way we’re reacting or dealing with this situation. It’s a group of feelings and behaviours called “Pandemic Fatigue” and it’s real.
Being able to name our experience does two great things:
1. It allows us to feel more distanced from it(the experience), so we don’t feel that it’s internalised and
2. we can talk about it more easily with others.
So now we know what our experience is: It’s a type of fatigue.So what do we do now?
- It’s important to acknowledge Pandemic Fatigue if we recognise some of those behaviours and feelings as our own experience recently, and
- It’s important to include specific activities that will help you to manage and overcome these feelings. The Mental Health Commission suggests the following in order to do this:
- Identify & practice self-care strategies that work for you (as you know I can’t tell you often enough! Self-care is key :))
- Take a break (do things you’ve been putting off)
- Follow facts (news) from trusted sources (and I would add limit your intake of this)
- Reach out to those who may not have connections
- Keep kids communicating – Let them know it’s okay to be worried and talk about it
I know that we are restricted in our activities, but you can do ALL of these activities while adhering to the lockdown restrictions. If you want further reading or information on self-care, check out these related posts:
Coping tips, Coronavirus Pandemic panic
One year later, how are you managing the changes COVID made?
What I’m discussing with my clients right now
So, stay on your self-care routine (or get back on it if you’ve stopped) and consider implementing one or more of the suggested actions outlined above.