Remember back in March when people were just starting to work from home and social distancing became a thing?
We were all “OMG! I’m going to have so much time!”
All around me, people were kicking off new hobbies, decluttering their homes, heading back to uni, starting on new career paths… It was like this exciting opportunity to reinvest in our lives while we hid away from the anxiety of the pandemic.
But now? We’re still at home and we’re tired. We’re run down, we’re anxious, we’re depressed, we’re stressed, we’re unmotivated, we’re exhausted. And it’s such a big and widespread problem, it’s got a meme and it’s got a name: COVID fatigue.
I’ve got it. Have you?
There’s no end in sight, and it’s a problem
When we’re struggling in life, we often look to the future when it’ll be done.
Having a hard week? All I need to do is make it to Friday.
Feeling stressed? Just 6 weeks until your next holiday.
Getting annoyed with stakeholders on your major project? All good; launch is set for 3 weeks and then you can move onto something new.
But the end of COVID? The end of those endless Zoom calls? The end of social distancing? The end of lockdowns and activity restrictions? The end of border closures and isolation from family? Yeah, there’s no date on that yet.
And this lack of an end date, the lack of an ability to plan for resuming lives and life plans, seeing family and escaping on holiday somewhere new, is making things hard. Trying to remain positive is tiring and stressful. And its COVID-fatiguing.
Leave COVID fatigue in winter
Spring has sprung
The grass has riz
… and summer’s just around the corner.
The warmth and bright days of summer tend to have a light-hearted feeling about them. There’s Christmas and New Year’s parties, barbeques with friends, beach days and family time. It’s a time of freedom, almost. But it’s probably going to be a bit different this year.
To help you leave (most of) your COVID fatigue back in winter and feel more positive as we enter Spring, here’s some tips to keep you going.
Focus on the seasons
As seasons change, we naturally reimagine our lives. Perhaps our summer will be filled with good food, evenings with friends at trendy bars, or barbeques with the family. We reorder our priorities as we hit milestones through the year and the weather changes.
And with these reimaginings and the reaching of milestones, we find new bursts of energy and lightness.
While there’s no end date for COVID yet, we can still look to the changing seasons and reimagine our lives. Take advantage of this natural tendency to look forward with hope. Focus on the timeframe of the season, not the virus, and set your goals around them just as you usually do.
Make time for the fun stuff
We all know this, but that doesn’t mean we always feel the energy to practice it. We must take care of our minds and our bodies every day to boost our moods and immune systems.
Read a chapter of a book, enjoy a coffee in your courtyard, call a friend or dance around your living room. Incorporate these fun activities into your everyday routine and make them habits. And, if you find you’re always putting off the activities you love, schedule time in your calendar every day for them and give yourself a gold star for making them happen (or use a habit-tracking app if you’re too grown up for gold stars).
Get out and about
When you’re working from home, take your lunch out on your balcony or in the neighbourhood park. Go for a walk around the block (preferably by a river or through a park) in your coffee breaks. Soak up the sun (from beneath your sunscreen) and get your fill of some vitamin D to help relieve stress and boost your mood.
No, it’s probably not the right time to plan a lavish trip to Spain, but you can still make plans for the future and ensure you always have positive things to look forward to.
Reach out to friends to set up dinner dates or catch up for a walk. Find COVIDsafe events near you and buy a ticket. (I’m going to Van Gogh Alive! Can’t wait!) Or maybe even set goals to learn a new skill, build a new business or change your career.
Whatever you do, make sure you have plans to do something fun at least once a month – ideally more often if you’re able.
Embrace radical acceptance
Now this one’s probably the hardest of the bunch, but when we accept that there are things we can’t change or fix, we learn to accept them as part of life and can start to work around them. By accepting the changes COVID has forced upon us, we can stop fighting against it in our minds and instead create new perspectives, habits and routines that fill our lives with the lightness we need to continue.
Many of us feel more stable when we have a routine. If you’re having difficulty setting your routine in the work from home world, check out my free downloadable worksheet for tips on structuring your day and improving your focus.