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Quarantine fatigue – Is it real and how to cope with it?

If you are feeling sleepy and lethargic throughout the day or experience sudden mood swings then what you have is quarantine fatigue.

Many people have reported being extremely drained out by the end of the day.

The first few weeks of #quarantinelife were manageable. We were like, let’s get comfy in our pajamas, have some fam time and binge on Netflix; Just a matter of a few days. But as we enter lockdown 4.0, our morale has hit rock bottom.

While some people can be finally out of quarantine others are still stuck at home. Lockdown 4.0 is slack and pliant but it will be a few more weeks until life becomes normal.

Things are getting difficult as all we want is to go back to our pre-pandemic life and this exacerbates the quarantine fatigue

Is Quarantine fatigue real?

Yes, quarantine fatigue is real.

Experts believe everyone is experiencing quarantine fatigue in their own ways. if you are immensely exhausted, battling erratic mood swings, feeling irritable, anxious, and stressed.

Dr. Jugal Kishore, the heads of Department of Community Medicine at the Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital, conducted an online survey titled ‘Depression and Corona’, and its results were predictable.

“From the responses, we have received so far, over 30 percent show signs of depression. This is a very high rate. The people reporting symptoms come from all walks of life,” he says.

Several large firms such as Tata Steel and Mahindra have hired mental health professionals to help their employees cope up with this unexpected crisis.

Several people are forced to work from home and stuck in lockdown reported feeling depressed about the whole situation.

The head of human resources at Lupin, Yashwant Mahadik, who has hired a mental health professional, said “Social isolation has become a challenge across industries. After a week or so (of working from home), people started to miss the office routine.”

According to a survey by Indian Psychiatry Society (IPS) the number of cases with mental illness has risen by 20% since April. The survey also points out that people have been living in fear of losing their jobs and businesses due to lockdown resulting in mental distress.

Why Quarantine fatigue? 

Quarantine fatigue stems from the burden of lockdown and social isolation coupled with a fear of what’s next?

With COVID-19 pandemic we went into the crisis mode and strictly followed the lockdown rules but unlike other crises there is no end in sight with COVID-19. As time passes our physiological response to crisis diminishes, which messes up with our tolerance.

While other calamities and emergencies unite and connect us on the human level, COVID -19 disconnected us wherein the only way to survive it was to isolate ourselves from others.

To top it all, financial concerns and economic instability are a prime reason for anxiety and stress amongst people.

People are worried about their jobs, business, and the future. Even with lockdown 4.0, several establishments like gyms, restaurants, schools, malls, colleges won’t be able to function. Non-essential personnel is urged to work from home, curfews will be observed and people in red zones have to stay put a little longer.

How to cope with quarantine fatigue? 

Quarantine fatigue is real and everyone experiences it differently. Being patients, acknowledging the issue, and understanding is what we need to overcome Quarantine fatigue.

Let’s look at a few ways you can overcome Quarantine fatigue.

1. Maintain a routine

We know this kind of sounds obvious and repetitive but keeping a fixed routine will really help you. A routine will give you a sense of control in an otherwise uncertain scenario.

Wake up and sleep at a fixed time. Keep to designated working hours, just because you are working from home does not mean you are always working or working at uncertain hours. Log off from your system at a fixed hour every evening, take a break, watch a movie or something comic, or read a book.

Routines were a fixed part of our life before. Earlier, we had greater control over our life. We had fixed schedules of work and relaxation; times when kids would be at school but now everyone is at home; routines are messed and everything is chaos. Following a routine will help you bring some normalcy.

2. Practice Self-care

Invest some time in self-care; do some yoga or meditation, a long relaxing bath, or any other rejuvenating activity.

Work on your physical as well as mental health. Adopt a healthy habit, squeeze some exercise in your routine, reconnect with your hobbies, or search for one.

A new normal with a new you can be rocking for all you know.

But first,

Get out of that pajama!

Put on something nice. Dress to kill as they say.

Try it, Even if it feels silly. this small activity will raise your spirit and mood.

3. Accept the negative

The whole COVID-19 situation is emotionally taxing and anxiety-producing. Accepting negative emotions helps lessen the strain. Talk to a friend, a family member, or a mentor about your fears, stress, and anxiety.

Repressing these feelings will indirectly affect your mood and health. Remember you are not alone and if you are experiencing severe mood swings try seeking professional help.

4. Keep a journal

The COVID-19 lockdown wasn’t something any of us anticipated. This experience good or bad will be something we will talk about for years to come.

Start writing a journal. Note important news; Pen down your own feelings, thoughts, and experiences; share stories and encounters of people around you.

Evaluate your life and things you would like to change in your life.

Imagine reading this journal after a year or years to your grandkids, and who knows, the next diary that makes it big, like Anne Frank’s diary of a young girl, might be yours.

5. Accomplish small goals

Ever since the lockdown started experts, mentors and everyone was encouraging us to spend time in self-development. Social media was abuzz with people showcasing new things they learned.

Being productive helps to quell unease and feelings of helplessness. But our advice to you is don’t overwhelm yourself. It is not a race, if you don’t feel like doing it don’t do it; takes things slowly.

Set small goals like cleaning a closet or completing a half-read novel. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and that will make you happy. Happy is good in these times.

6. Make new friends

No, we are not crazy, and

Yes, we know you cannot go out.

But there is no stopping you from making new friends.

We have been in touch with friends and family. Now try to connect with people outside your sphere.

Talk to people whom you know and are acquainted with like that guy from the accounts department or the lady from human resources.

If you have kids, connect with other parents; learn how they are dealing with this extended vacation. New people will bring in a fresh perspective and newer experiences.

7. Be stimulated mentally

Be updated with what’s going on in the world but at the same time distract yourself.

These days most news channels and media is continuously updating us on news regarding Coronavirus. It is important to stay updated but don’t get too involved.

Keep yourself distracted from the pandemic related news by reading a book or watching a movie.

8. Hail, technology!

While we locked our doors to the world outside, technology became a window to the world.

Imagine if this lockdown would have been imposed on us ten years back, things would have been really sad and depressing. (Gives you creeps right?).

Use technology to your advantage and as creatively as possible for work and leisure.

Remember, ‘This too shall pass ‘

This famous Persian adage tells us about the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition.

Nothing in this world is permanent, they always change with time.

Covid-19 has wreaked havoc in our lives but remember like everything else humans have faced, this too shall pass.

Author avatar
Nutritionist Fatema Arsiwala
A Qualified Nutritionist with more than 10 years of experience. She loves to write and help people make healthier choices. A mother of two lovely kids and consulting nutritionist, she is also a co-founder of Snack Aart.

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