It could be at least another year before everyday life returns to normal due to COVID-19, so it’s important to find ways to adapt to current circumstances.
It’s been more than 2 months since self-isolation and shuttered businesses became the norm in most of North America due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there’s talk of gradual re-openings in some areas, we still could be more than a year away from life returning to normal.
As “quarantine fatigue” takes root, experts say it’s worth checking in with yourself and others to deal with this uncertainty in a healthy way.
“A lot of people describe being really fatigued at the end of the day,” Mary Fristad, PhD, ABPP, a psychologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said.
“This is due to so many reasons. One is we’re all experiencing so much change and unpredictability in our life,” Fristad explained. “A lot of people are feeling very anxious, particularly if they’re having financial difficulties, which so many people are. The extra demands of getting through the tasks of the day, when suddenly parents are supposed to be working from home and also providing education for their children, add up to an exhausting schedule for many people.”
With the comforting routines of day-to-day life disrupted, most experts suggest creating new routines.
Physical fitness is something that could fall by the wayside with gyms closed and people cooped up at home.
“A lot of people aren’t exercising, so it’s very easy to get into a sedentary lifestyle, which can contribute to not sleeping well at night, which contributes to fatigue during the daytime,” Fristad said.
To combat this, Fristad suggests sticking to some kind of routine or schedule, even if it isn’t as rigid as the pre-pandemic norm.
Virtual exercise classes are widely available in this new era of video chats. With spring weather taking hold, it’s also a good time to responsibly enjoy some sunshine.
“It’s also important to avoid unhealthy coping,” she said. “The amount of alcohol purchases has gone up dramatically since COVID-19 hit. It may be that people simply aren’t going out to bars or restaurants, but there is significant concern that some folks are turning to alcohol or other drugs as a means of managing their mood during this time.”
Fristad also emphasized the importance of finding time for yourself. Humans are social creatures, but many people have found themselves in households that feel more crowded than usual.
“It’s really important to maintain some alone time. It differs from person to person in how much we need, but we all need the ability to decompress,” she said.
While a global pandemic may not immediately inspire thoughts of gratitude, mindfulness is a useful technique during this trying time.
“It’s important to remember that people are resilient and that we have the ability to get through hard times,” Wesner said. “The pandemic and social distancing guidelines provide us with new opportunities to be creative, work differently, and come together as family, friends, colleagues, and community.”
Medical reference: healthline