Signs You Are Experiencing Quarantine Fatigue and What to Do
Back in March, the world looked a lot different than it does now. Millions of workers were abruptly pushed into remote work and had to learn a "new normal" as they tried to adjust to their new situations. Working remotely, coupled with government restrictions to isolate people to slow the coronavirus spread, has led many people to develop a condition referred to as quarantine fatigue.
What is quarantine fatigue?
Four months ago, the phrase "quarantine fatigue" would have probably sounded like a weird concept out of a medical thriller story. Unfortunately, today, it's a very real issue affecting many people. A person afflicted with this condition feels "done" with isolating and restricting themselves from socialization. They have become emotionally depleted during this extended period of time being isolated from others. Living the same schedule, day after day, is also a contributor to someone developing this condition.
Quarantine fatigue doesn't impact everyone the same way, but emotional stress is at the center of this condition. It could stem from a loss of income, isolated work conditions, or a lack of human companionship.
What are the signs of quarantine fatigue?
Quarantine fatigue can emerge in different ways, including an inability to engage in normal activities as they did pre-pandemic. Feelings of loneliness and a disconnect from the outside world tend to occur. Common symptoms quarantine fatigue is present include:
- Experiencing increased irritability
- Suffering anxiety
- Feeling tense
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Eating too little or too much
- Having a lack of motivation
- Experiencing reduced productivity
- Losing focus and concentration
- Having social withdrawal
Quarantine fatigue symptoms can evolve into escalated conditions, including depression. The Society for Human Resource Management recently conducted a survey and found the coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on the mental well-being of workers. The survey, comprised of 1,099 employees, found between 22 percent and 35 percent of U.S. workers have experienced symptoms of depression since the pandemic started.
Techniques to help cope with quarantine fatigue
Many people initially enjoyed the "break" from routine work schedules, but after months of quarantine, the appeal is lost as feelings of enjoyment start to turn into ones of helplessness. For those afflicted, it begins to feel as if this pandemic will never end. If you think you are suffering the effects of quarantine fatigue, try the following techniques to help combat these feelings.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, walks in nature, or anything else that gives you a sense of calmness and happiness. Achieving mindlessness is a great coping technique.
- If anxiety increases, try to focus on deep breathing exercises as a relief mechanism.
- Focus on positivity in ways that bring joy. Try watching comedy movies, reading uplifting books, or listening to fun podcasts and favorite music.
- Take breaks during the workday. Make a concentrated effort to get outdoors for a few minutes every day for a brisk walk and, if the summer heat is too much, try doing stretches on your living room floor to relieve tension.
- Reimagine your workspace. Give yourself separation between work and leisure by fixing up your home in ways you have always wanted to.
- Reach out to colleagues. We're all in this together, make an effort to connect with others.
- Scale back on round-the-clock news and social media monitoring. Limit your exposure to COVID-19 discussion, just learn what you need to know and move on to another task or leisure activity.
Right now, we have to do what we can to stop the spread of COVID-19, but that doesn't mean it is easy. If you've got to spend the majority of time in your home, for the time being, be sure to put an emphasis on allowing yourself to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. This can be difficult to do when work and personal time are in the same space but putting a focus on taking care of yourself can help mitigate the effects of quarantine fatigue.