Combatting Quarantine Fatigue

Whether you’re still working at home or spending every weekend social distancing, chances are you’re burning out on quarantine. We don’t blame you—it’s hard to maintain a work-home balance when your office is also your kitchen. If you’re finding it hard to focus and motivate yourself, you’re not alone, and you’re probably suffering from quarantine fatigue.

Luana Marques, PhD, describes quarantine fatigue as “exhaustion associated with the new restrictive lifestyle that’s been adopted to slow the spread of COVID-19.” While it looks different for everyone, common symptoms of quarantine fatigue include:

  • Anxiousness
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Low motivation and productivity
  • Boredom
  • Loneliness
  • Frustration
  • Social isolation

Simply put, quarantine fatigue adds a whole lot of stress into our lives, which is the last thing anyone needs right now. So, how do you deal with it?

Practice Mindfulness

Best described as “living in the now,” mindfulness is practiced by focusing on the present moment with acceptance and purpose. Turning your awareness to your thoughts helps you learn how to manage them when anxious or panicked. In fact, research suggests practicing mindfulness shrinks the amygdala, which is the portion of the brain that drives stress response.

Learn how to practice mindful thinking, and try it out during a break in your workflow. You’ll walk away with a clearer mind and a stronger focus. Some people find it helpful to record their thoughts for reflection—consider keeping a mindfulness journal.

Connect with Others

Staying in touch with family and friends is more vital to our mental health than ever before. Humans crave interaction, and for almost a year, we’ve been struggling to safely maintain social relationships. Talking through your feelings and worries with others can ease some of the burden on your shoulders. Reach out to loved ones via text, phone call, or video chat.

Set a Routine

It’s easy not to go to bed on time when “going to work” means walking downstairs, but being sleep-deprived harms your mental health, immune system, memory retention, and energy levels. Try to develop a routine for your weekday and consistently stick to it. With so much uncertainty to deal with, having a steady schedule offers an element of control within our chaotic lives. If you find yourself straying from a general schedule, try getting more specific with an hourly planner.

Make Time for Yourself

Whether shopping, bowling, or getting a manicure was your stress reliever, you might not be so keen to spend your “me time” in public spaces anymore. Spend your free time bringing a little joy to yourself, and do something that makes you happy. If you aren’t sure what that is, take the time to try different hobbies: painting, gardening, or taking relaxing and lavish bubble baths.

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