Have you been feeling tired or anxious as restrictions ease? You’re not the only one. In this article we explore why there’s been a spike in stress and what you can do about your post lockdown exhaustion.
Post lockdown exhaustion
Over the past eighteen months, our lives have been turned upside down. There was the initial stress of being in lockdown; the back and forth of when and where to wear masks; the political debates; the financial worries; the stress and fear that accompanied it all. And now, we’re faced with post lockdown exhaustion.
You might have spent the time in lockdown, looking forward to the moment when you could get back to socialising, hugging loved ones and resuming your normal life. We have now been invited to resume our lives the best we can, but many of us don’t feel the same way about things. We might have previously taken small social engagements in our stride: meeting a friend for coffee; going to a favourite yoga teacher’s class at our local studio; hugging our loved ones. Suddenly these have turned into a big deal. One social event can leave us feeling exhausted and have us crawling under the duvet. We are all so tired post lockdown, so what is going on?
Your Comfort Zone
After a prolonged time of being at home, it is normal that ‘our normal’ has changed. The way we spend our everyday lives becomes our comfort zone, and so once we stopped socialising, that became our normal and socialising has literally become a big deal. Yet, this feeling of lingering exhaustion seems to go deeper than this. Firstly, we need to recognise that whilst many of us are feeling our way back to our normal lives, we are aware that the pandemic is not yet truly over. A quick glance at the news reveals that cases are on the rise, and yet, we want to get back to a semblance of the safety and security we felt before the pandemic. Things still feel uncertain and feelings of exhaustion are a normal response to stress.
Stress, exhaustion and your nervous system
The current combination of hyper vigilance as cases of the delta variant continues to rise and the demand of resuming normal life layered on top of a traumatic year means that you are probably not sleeping as well as you might. You might be sleeping for the same number of hours but perhaps the quality is not as restorative.
We might also be feeling a sense of grief at the loss of our way of life as we knew it. We might be meeting up with friends again, but it doesn’t feel the same. Others of us may be grieving for family members or friends. We may know those who are suffering with prolonged symptoms of Covid or whose lives have been impacted in other ways by the pandemic. We may keenly feel the sense of not being able to move around with the sense of freedom we once did, even though our ‘freedoms’ seem to have been returned to us. Our nervous systems may feel activated in our flight / fight / freeze response and we might find it more difficult to switch to a more relaxed state.
How to deal with post lockdown exhaustion
Here are five ways to help us renew our energy reservoirs and help us get over our post lockdown exhaustion:
1.Make time for feeling exhausted
Remember your body is reacting naturally to stress. Be honest about how you’re feeling with friends and family. If you know that going out is currently tiring, schedule in some quiet time straight afterwards or the next day when you can rest. You will gradually be able to resume more socialising, but don’t feel you need to over exert yourself. You will gradually get used to going out more but overscheduling, even at the best of times doesn’t serve you well. If you haven’t been sleeping well, or are waking up still feeling exhausted, why not try Lisa’s Sleep Recovery course?
2. Hydrate well, eat healthily, cut down on caffeine and sugar
We’ve all heard this before and they seem like dull advice, but when we’re feeling anxious or exhausted, caffeine can heighten the effects of exhaustion when we crash after feeling artificially stimulated. Instead, try eating fresh fruit, lots of green, leafy vegetables and why not try making a smoothie as a treat instead of a caffeinated drink?
3. Spend time outdoors
Spending time outdoors can really give you a boost. Studies show that time outdoors lowers blood pressure and reduces stress and you will also benefit from a dose of vitamin D. Of course, you might feel bored with the same walk you’ve done for the past 18 months, so why not spend time uncovering different walks or perhaps even take a short trip to somewhere you’ve not been or even take a trip to the seaside. You don’t have to go for any great length of time, and can of course choose to do so at a time when you know things will be quieter.
4. Limit news consumption
The news can make the most balanced amongst us feel filled with anxiety. Why not try limiting your news consumption, and maybe spend the time doing something you enjoy. Listen to a podcast, read or reread a favourite book. If the thought of meeting up with a friend is tiring, why not call instead? Research has shown that we feel a greater sense of connection on an audio call than one using screens and can pick up more emotional nuance too. So try going old school and cosying up for a chat.
5. Do some yoga
Yoga and meditation are all great to help you feel less overwhelmed and energise in a natural way. You can pick a class to suit your mood. If you’re feeling tired, why not try this class for the end of the day with Rakhee? A yin class is a great way to turn inwards. Norman’s Heart Opening Yin will help you to connect with what’s good in your life and remember gratitude is a great way to recover from stress. Have you considered starting your day the yin way with Andrea? If you need something more energising, how about Carlene’s Yang Yin Flow or Mimi’s Fluidity and Flow?