Life today can feel like a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. That’s how Churchill described Russia’s intentions in 1939, and it feels like history is repeating itself.
Of course, foreign meddling in our elections isn’t the only burden we’re carrying — that’s so 2016. Plowing forward in a pandemic amidst the avalanche of doom-and-gloom reports, misinformation, and other relentless stressors is exhausting.
So while one of the signature traits of COVID-19 is fatigue, you don’t have to be infected with the virus to feel perpetually tired.
The good news is that once you’ve eliminated medical reasons for your weariness, you can take a few easy steps to give your fatigue a rest.
The Rundown on Emotional Exhaustion
There are many flavors of fatigue, from the physical kind that comes from vigorous exercise to mental fatigue from a concerted effort, like doing taxes. Neither of those forms of fatigue necessarily saps your ability to sleep or leads to prolonged exhaustion.
If you’re feeling tired all the time and wondering why, since your work and social life seems a lot more low-key these days, then what you’re dealing with is emotional exhaustion.
And it’s not just you — that feeling of being physically tired or numb is affecting people worldwide. Scientists from Harvard and Ohio State have dubbed this particular strain of emotional exhaustion crisis fatigue:
… a phenomenon that occurs as the body attempts to adapt after feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
Having used up the surge capacity that got us through the initial phase of the pandemic, the perpetual loop of stress chemistry released from being in fight-flight-freeze mode takes its toll. And if you’re stressed during the day, chances are your sleep is shot, too.
That’s the Catch-22 of crisis fatigue. Break the cycle by taking action to improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
Fight Your Fatigue
Pre-COVID-19, we had routines and regularly left the house for work and errands. This provided both reliable stimulation and daily exposure to sunlight — both of which researchers say stabilize circadian rhythms. Reinstating a daily routine that includes time outside can make a profound difference.
Additionally, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and limiting sleep-busters like naps and alcohol also set the stage for better rest.
And then there’s sleep itself: make it sacred with a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. Blue light is like sunrise, so no screens an hour before hitting the hay. Instead, make relaxation part of your pre-sleep regime by trying deep-breathing exercises, meditation, reading by lamplight, or taking a hot bath.
Running on fumes has run its course. Take back your night and catch some Zs to put the zip back in your step.
- Crisis Fatigue and the COVID-19 Pandemic | Psychology Today
- Feeling tired during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here’s how you can improve your energy and motivation levels | ABC Radio – AUS