Pandemic Pressure: Is anyone else exhausted?

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Sophie Coffey
Sophie Coffey
A self-confessed shopaholic with a severe bookshop obsession.

Is anyone else utterly drained?

I’m not referring to the typical term-time tiredness either. That familiar weariness is brought about by jam packed days commencing with early mornings and concluding with late nights. 

Every student has had those days of slumping into school or college, already counting down the hours left before we can stumble back into bed. This often occurs following a late-night cramming stint or an evening training session. More recently, it is tumbling down an inevitable black hole of TikToks  (we’ve all been there!) that has been to blame for the bags under our eyes. 

The inevitable reasoning and causes behind our tiredness were clear. Subsequently we responded to them accordingly by scheduling in an early night or swapping study for the sofa. The undeniable facts of the situation ensured we never felt the need to defend our lethargy.

A different form of fatigue

However, our current tiredness reflects a uniquely different form of fatigue. 

This is a type that has been victimised by first weeks and then months spent on edge. It is a type that is fed by a bottomless pit of negative news coverage and morbid mortality rates. And it is a type that we are only now beginning to recognise the effects of.

An unhelpful side effect of the invasion of COVID-19 to our world has been that many media outlets, or supposed experts, are insistent that we demonstrate our gratitude for our new slower pace of life. 

There is no question that many of us have evaluated our previous lifestyles. And we have resolved to take some of our lockdown lessons with us as we progress. But frankly, I can’t imagine that when I tell my future children about the pandemic, I will be extolling its virtues and benefits before anything else.

How to explain our exhaustion

A consequence of the encouraging of our ‘new’ quieter lives, is that we are now denying that the presence of exhaustion can still linger in these new lifestyles. 

We no longer face the physical exertion brought about by long days of study and extracurriculars. As a result we are struggling to rationalise our tiredness. 

Remember, it is not that long ago that we asked ourselves how we could possibly be tired when our most exciting daily event was taking the bin to the front wall! It is a logical assumption and question. But it is borne from the belief that exhaustion has merely physical causes.

The source of this present tiredness is a unique stress. It settled on the shoulders of our world at the same point that COVID-19 tightened its far-reaching grip. The impact is not a physical exhaustion, more a mental strain that keeps going.

We are all in the same rocky boat!

There is absolutely nothing about a contagious illness invading our country and drastically changing our plans that is normal! But, it’s okay to not be sure how to deal with it. And it’s okay to find yourself stressed despite a break from your usual activities. That is about as normal as it gets right now! 

We tend to increase our hours of shut-eye to alleviate stress. However, in this instance there are other actions we can take that will have more beneficial impacts.

How To Combat Pandemic Exhaustion

Switch off

There is no denying the importance of keeping up to date in the current climate. But it is absolutely okay to take a step back from this disheartening influx of info occasionally. Staying informed does not mean suffocating yourself in morbid mortality rates. Keep a watchful eye on your media consumption and do not disregard the value of an occasional digital detox.

Look after your lifestyle

We have established that this exhaustion may not be the typical type. But ensuring that you are getting the recommended 8 hours of shut-eye a night where possible will still help. Eating a balanced diet will also provide great nourishment – although we definitely deserve a treat every now and again! Equally fresh air and exercise are renowned for reducing stress and improving your mood. Try to fit in a walk outside or even a run if you are feeling particularly enthusiastic!

Keep in contact with friends and family

For many of us, our socialising habits were among the things we lost during lockdown. Thankfully now that restrictions are easing it is possible to meet up with friends and family again. This is a great way to refresh your mental health but in order to maintain your physical health and protect our progress it is so important to stick to the current guidelines. Even if you still can’t see loved ones, there are still lots of ways to stay connected to them.

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