10 Tips to Manage Lockdown Fatigue

lockdown fatigue
Picture of Brendan Byrne

Brendan Byrne

Brendan is a Majellan staff member and a Melbourne based writer

Many people are missing their old way of life and are frustrated with restrictions and the unpredictability of lockdown. It’s common to feel tired and unmotivated when your usual schedule is disrupted, so it’s important to create a routine that nurtures your mental health. Here are 10 tips to improve your daily life! 

1.Breathe deeply and exercise

Tiredness and a lack of motivation are two common feelings during lockdown. Exercise is often the last thing people feel like doing. The following strategies can help motivate you to become more active:

✔️ Focus on deep breathing – Shallow breathing can contribute to anxiety and lethargy. Breathing from the diaphragm improves mood, and our physical threshold, creating a solid foundation to build an exercise routine.

✔️ Make a plan – Start slowly and build up gradually; if you haven’t been exercising, start with a 10-15 minute walk each morning, and gradually increase this to 30 minutes per day.

✔️ Exercise with friends – Reaching out to friends is a great way to stay connected and assist another person in improving their physical health.

2.Get dressed – clean your space tidy your room

There is no getting around the fact that lockdowns are a struggle, and resilience is required to maintain the daily schedule. Cleaning your room and getting dressed unclutters the mind, maintains a sense of dignity in your space and appearance, and supports a routine that can sustain a healthy lifestyle in lockdown.

If these duties begin to feel too tedious, this could be a signal that you are feeling overwhelmed and should perhaps reach out for professional support.

3. Start a new project

Starting a new project can help us to remain positive while in lockdown. While you don’t need to take on a major home renovation, start with a simple project. This could be a new puzzle, reading a book, enrolling in an online class, or cooking a few new recipes each week. Share your successes and failures with friends and family.

4. Consume less news

It’s important to stay informed, especially when rapidly changing rules can dramatically affect our daily lives. However, prolonged exposure to negative stories can release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Physical symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and depression can result from habitual overconsumption of news. So, how can we effectively manage our news consumption?

The first step is to observe how the news is affecting your mood. This can be done by taking note of your mental state before and after watching a program or reading articles on websites. If you are more agitated, make a few small changes.

✔️  Schedule a block of time to watch the news and don’t watch other news outside this period.

✔️  After watching a news program, exercise! Raising your heart rate through fitness rather than worry is a great way to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and to lift your mood.

✔️  If you are feeling overwhelmed even during a scheduled news session, it is preferable to talk to a friend or family member and ask them for a summary of the news.

5. Add structure to video calls

Video calls have been a useful way of staying connected, but most will have experienced a call that has felt ‘crowded’, especially when there are numerous participants. It is difficult to know when to speak and we often end up talking over one another. It can be disheartening which can add to stress and isolation. Creating a set of questions in which every person is given time to share experiences can help. It might seem unnatural, but it is important to remember that unlike a dinner party, a video chat is not a natural setting, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Topics for discussion can be as simple as the best and worst things that happened that day, and whether anyone felt God in their lives. If an individual’s low moments seem to outweigh the good, it may be a sign that he/she needs support.

6. Pray and meditate

Researchers have found over a third of Australians are praying more during lockdown. For those who would like to pray more, some ways to enrich your prayer life include:

✔️ Reflect on the Readings from a Sunday Missal, your parish website and then use the Sunday Reflections from the Majellan media website – make it a short liturgy of the word. Make up your own prayers of the Faithful – conclude with the Our Father and maybe other favourite prayers.

✔️ Bread4today is a free app produced by the Redemptorists that offers a daily prayer or verse that can be downloaded on Apple, Android and Windows.

7. Travel (in spirit) 

While we may not be able to get on a plane and hop around the globe, there is nothing stopping us from travelling (in spirit) within the confines of our own homes. Choose a country that you would like to visit and then dedicate an evening to cooking the cuisine, preparing drinks, and playing music from that country.

8. Create memories

During lockdown it is easy to fall into a dour mindset of endurance and survival. Why not focus on something more meaningful, like growing closer to your loved ones and creating long-term memories that can be cherished?

In ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, Viktor Frankl had a similar insight as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. His outlook was tragically optimistic – no matter what terrible injustice was done to him. For Frankl, finding small moments of beauty, and being kind and generous to others preserved his sense of meaning and gratitude, even in the most despairing situation.

9. Explore support options

Many people are struggling with no regular income, but financial help is available: If you are stressed and in need of financial assistance, these links may be relevant!

✔️ Services Australia: COVID-19 disaster payment

✔️ Services Australia: Pandemic leave disaster payment

✔️ Connecting communities: Local services that provide grants, accommodation, help with bills and food.

10. Seek professional advice

It’s okay to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, seek professional support. Psychological therapies can be done online, or remotely, via phone or videoconferencing. They are an excellent option if you’re self-isolating, or worried about attending a clinic in person.

Importantly, be assured that for most people, the anxiety will be temporary, especially once this current virus crisis has been contained.

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