People of all ages are experiencing lockdown fatigue due to the COVID-19 virus. This is negatively impacting people’s mental health to varying degrees as life is no longer predictable and we are unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel. People are missing out on previously enjoyable activities, they are unable to connect face to face with loved ones, some people have lost their jobs, children are isolated from their friends and the elderly have never been as alone as they are now.
To maintain good mental health, we can benefit from adapting to this present circumstance and find the good in our day-to-day activities, even if they are restricted to the home and a couple of hours of exercise away from home each day can do us the world of good.
Symptoms of Lockdown fatigue
- Anger and frustration – becoming short-tempered
- Lack of Self Care i.e. not showering or even getting out of pajamas for days at a time
- The inability to sleep of too much sleep
- Anxiety about the future
- Lack of motivation
- Becoming introverted and communicating less with our loved ones both in the home and via media such as telephone, facetime calls, Facebook, and the various other platforms out there.
So, what can you do to cope better with staying safe at home?
- Designate playtime activities that are interesting and challenging, for example: hide items around the house or garden that are rewarding to the children.
- Teach children to prepare meals and other household tasks that will foster independence later in life.
- Read stories and/or make up your own storybooks from your own family experiences.
- Help your child to connect with friends via skype/zoom, the computer is not only for education, work, or gameplay.
- Make homemade products for the children, for example, homemade playdough, there are many recipes online.
- Teach children how to play board games and get them away from the computer/phone/tablets.
Parents, Couples, and Singles
- Have a date night once a week after the children have gone to bed. Delay your meal until the house is settled, set the mood with candles and nice food, and reconnect with your partner.
- Read that book you keep saying you will read; you now have the time!
- Take time out for yourself, going for walks, doing some home gym, YouTube a Zumba or Yoga class.
- If you are working from home, get up at the normal time and prepare as you are leaving the house, sometimes a short walk before commencing your work for the day assists with separating home from work life, repeat the same at the end of the day.
- Make time to get together with friends via Skype/Zoom so that you can share your day and see them. Many people share a meal in this way which feels very inclusive. There are also a number of Apps in the App Store where you can share watching movies together or going for a virtual walk with a friend.
- Movie share = My Watch Party Walking App = Walk with You
Our Older Generation
- Call friends and family over the phone, if you’re tech-savvy make sure you facetime as much as possible.
- Reading books and keeping the brain active with crosswords, finding a word, and sudoku puzzles.
- Get a jigsaw puzzle and enjoy creating something new.
- Spend time in your garden, either sitting and enjoying the fresh air and if you’re able to, prune your shrubs and trees, most of all enjoy your environment.
- Have a bubble buddy, someone to come and share a meal with you and have a laugh with.
- Go for a few short walks per day, you don’t have to have your 2 hours of exercise all at once.
- If you are feeling confident about leaving the house, go to the supermarket and select your grocery items.
While there is a multitude of things that we can do at home, the current narrative is not reflecting this in therapy at present. Take charge of your home life, make it the best life possible and ground yourself by being outdoors when you can! Your mental health will improve, and you will get through lockdown much easier, in fact, you may foster closer relationships with the people around you and you may learn to slow life down and find more enjoyment than you ever knew possible.
If you need help to bring about positive change, the clinicians at Mind Up are more than happy to assist you in creating a plan that is tailored to your unique circumstance.