How are you?
Yeah, how are you?
How am I? Well, to be honest with you. I am tired. Yeah, I am tired. It’s been 15 plus months that I have been in semi or full lockdown conditions and I am just tired.
- I’m tired of being positive.
- I’m tired of being upbeat.
- I’m tired of all the million and one the recommendations of what I can do to get ahead and be ahead in this pandemic.
- I am tired of social distancing.
- I am tired of hearing people complain.
- I am tired of the debates around the vaccine.
- I’m tired of the conspiracy theories.
- I’m just tired.
What about you?
I’m not being extra. I am admitting that I am fatigued. I am not talking about normal fatigue that happens after physical or mental exertion or to some of us who have debilitating illnesses. I am not talking about a general feeling of lethargy, exhaustion or low levels of energy.
I am talking about two types of fatigue – acute fatigue and chronic fatigue.
Acute fatigue is a temporary tiredness, such as fatigue during or after exercise and lack of sleep, that happens on a normal basis. About forty five percent of healthy individuals occasionally report feeling acute fatigue.
Chronic fatigue is long-term fatigue and tiredness, that occurs for a period of six months. Normally about 11 percent of individuals in the general population experience chronic fatigue.
As I said before, it’s been 15 plus months that we’re in this pandemic situation. That’s longer than six months, which means that a lot of us are probably suffering from chronic fatigue and we are not aware.
Studies show being fatigued is heightened by the presence of three psychological factors
- Depression, which is severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness.
- Anxiety and stress. When we are stressed, our body is in overdrive and constantly produces adrenaline. This in turn exhausts our body and makes us fatigued.
- Grief – when we lose loved ones and are dealing with the shock, the sadness, the depression, the despair and the loneliness.
Some of us are depressed.
Some of us have different levels of anxiety and stress.
And by now, most of us could put a face to a name of those who have passed with covid-19.
If you don’t feel buoyant, if you’re not excited about life, if you are lethargic and you don’t want to exercise, believe you me, I understand. Maybe you are like me. We’re suffering from chronic fatigue.
What does it chronic fatigue look like? Here are some symptoms
- Blurred vision
- Chronic tiredness or sleepiness,
- Concentration is low – maybe you’ve been looking at that screen of the computer for the longest while and can’t get anything done. Maybe you find yourself gazing at the television and not really looking at a show
- Decline in your physical capacity after you exercise.
- Higher levels of inaccuracy,
- Impaired decision-making,
- Impaired judgment,
- Inability to complete tasks,
- Inability to pay attention to what’s at hand
- Lack of enthusiasm,
- Loss of appetite.
- Low motivation.
- Mental or physical capacity is depleted
- Moodiness and high irritability
- Muscle weakness,
- Poor concentration,
- Short term memory problems,
- Slow reaction time,
- Sore or aching muscles,
If you have more than one of these symptoms, check yourself. You may be fatigued.
Today I can say that I am fatigued I am tired. It’s been 15 plus months and we’re in a lockdown situation, a semi lockdown, and it’s affecting me. I realize that I’m suffering from chronic fatigue..
I’m sharing some tips to deal with fatigue. I have tried some of them and some of them work sometimes and some of them don’t work at other times. I keep playing with them to see what can keep me from feeling less fatigued or make the effects of being fatigued less impactful. See what works for you.
- Ask for help – This is not a time to be Superman or Superwoman. This is a time when we need each other. So please ask for help.
- Chat with co-workers, family and friends – Check in with everyone because we can all potentially suffer from fatigue, though some of us may not be able to name it.
- Chat with team members – Those of you in leadership positions and if you are a supervisor or manager, encourage these discussions with your team members. Talk about your own fatigue so that you can give team members permission to talk about theirs.
- Drink lots of water. Recommendations are that men drink 3.7 liters of water a day and women 2.7 liters a day. You can flavor the water with fruit or vegetables to make it more exciting.
- Eat differently – Eat more of foods that are high in protein and less of foods that are high in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can add to the feelings of lethargy.
- Exercise – One of the symptoms of fatigue is that you don’t want to exercise. You need to push through and get some exercise. You don’t have to do it all at once. You could do five minutes throughout the day. For example I want to do fifteen push-ups today, – 5 in the morning, 5 at lunchtime, and 5 before you go to bed. Get that blood pumping.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Most of us use alcohol to relax and unwind at the end of the day. While alcohol can be used as a sedative and a sleep aid, studies show that for some people, alcohol increases wakefulness, especially in the second half of the sleep night. Each of us needs to look at our pattern and ask ”Is alcohol helping me to sleep at night or is it helping me fall asleep only to get up later on in the night?”
- Reduce your stress levels – Indulge in your hobbies. I’m reading and listening to relaxing music and meditations on YouTube, especially at night when I am sleepless. Video chat with friends. Take lovely long showers or baths.
- Take a walk in nature. Some of us are in lockdown and can’t do this. If you live on a compound, walk around the compound. If you live in an apartment, find a little space in your apartment. If you have a porch, try and go outside.
- Take frequent breaks – Those of you who work and have deadlines take frequent breaks and don’t sit at your desk for extended periods.
- Take a mental health day / hour. – Take a mental health day if you can. If you can’t then each day build in some mental health time that you spend alone taking care of yourself. You listen to music or pursue a hobby. You can take this time as you commute. In this time turn off all of the pressures of the world
- Watch out for addictions – Around the world there has been a spike in addictions, both alcohol and other drugs.
That’s all I wanted to share with you today. We have been under these lockdown/ semi lockdown conditions for a while. At times, we have been unable to go outside and take our walks. We have been unable to socialize.
Today is a particularly tough day for me because I feel like I’m at the end of my wits.
Now having shared with you I feel a lot better. I can breathe. maybe you can share how you feel with someone too.
I realize that I needed to write this.
I needed to admit that I was not doing well and that I am suffering the impacts of chronic fatigue.
I hope this also really helps you.