The Truth Behind Quarantine Fatigue: When Adapting to the New Normal Becomes Tough

A year into the coronavirus pandemic, the impact of the virus infection and health safety precautions has been equally devastating. As the pandemic drags on, mental health issues continue to rise, more people lost their jobs, and countries worldwide are facing catastrophic death tolls. All these global scenarios have put extreme pressure on people staying at home.

In the first few months of quarantine, the stay-at-home policy provided people extra time to relax while spending time with the family. But as quarantine went on for the entire year, observing COVID-19 prevention measures has become a challenge. This led to what experts called, “quarantine fatigue”, a health and social phenomenon when a person grows weary of the health guidelines to stop the COVID-19 infection.

By now, you might be looking for ways to beat the feeling of hopelessness and weariness by trying new activities and reading wellness articles to combat boredom and loneliness. To help beat quarantine fatigue, here is a brief discussion about its dangers and ways to overcome it.

What is quarantine fatigue?

Quarantine or pandemic fatigue occurs in individuals who are growing weary or actively ignoring health precautions to curb the COVID-19 infection. As governments and health organizations continue to place restrictions on our daily activities, people lost their sense of urgency in handling the global health crisis, resulting in tiredness and impatience when following preventative measures.

Although there are still feelings of concern and awareness, people with quarantine fatigue suffer from loss of hope, as if following health measures is no longer effective in keeping their family safe from virus infection. As a result, these people ignore all health guidelines by spending more time with people and forgetting to wear masks and sanitize.

Some people find it hard to stick to health precautions as they begin to miss the normal routine. Following safety measures, such as wearing masks, maintaining distance, and washing hands have become too overwhelming. This led to feelings of eagerness to return to the old normal, thinking the virus has become invisible or nonexistent despite the evidence.

How are people responding?

Since the pandemic hit, several folks developed signs of unhealthy coping. It can take in the form of feel-good routines with long-term negative consequences. These include impulsive spending, constant smoking and drinking, and continuous avoidance of present issues.

Living a sedentary lifestyle at home is also another form of unhealthy coping. This leads to disrupted sleeping patterns and daytime fatigue. Meanwhile, alcohol consumption went up dramatically during this pandemic, as more people are turning to drugs or alcohol to manage their moods.

There are few similarities how people are behaving to the COVID-19 pandemic, while individual responses may depend on life experiences. For example, people working at home who go on long bouts in front of the computer screen are suffering from eye strain and physical fatigue. Even those who consider themselves introverts reveal they are missing opportunities to be physically close with their family, friends, and co-workers.

Following new rules can be a challenge for some. Adding extra steps to the normal routine sounds easy in the beginning, but constant changes in behavior and activity are extremely hard. This is especially true if no one close to you has acquired a virus, making the idea of wearing a mask unnecessary.

Although video conferencing apps and social media provided the need for social interaction, these platforms remain paradoxical, as they do not completely solve the human need for face-to-face interaction. People remain struggling as they begin to miss hugs, physical presence, and in-person human interaction. In fact, some people commented that online messaging is not the same as regular socialization.

Overcoming quarantine fatigue

As the normal way of life becomes disrupted, trying new routines can help ease the feelings of weariness and burnout during the pandemic. A great way to start is by overcoming unhealthy coping mechanisms. To beat this, try sticking to a set of schedules or routines. Joining virtual fitness classes or taking morning walks are activities that emphasize the value of having alone time.

This is a great tip for families who live in crowded households and have to deal with the same set of people every day. Having alone time provides means to decompress and let go of negative feelings. You may also try meditation, a low-cost technique to counteract the negative effects of quarantine fatigue.

Quarantine fatigue is real. It has become a health and social phenomenon that has been draining people since the pandemic began. Understanding its implication on one’s health and finding ways to solve it are great ways to stay committed to healthy habits and accept the new reality.    

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