Have you noticed your energy is zapped during lockdown? Do you feel groggy or lethargic, even though you’re actually doing less than before we stayed indoors? Trust us, you are not alone in this!
Here’s why we may be feeling more tired than usual during the pandemic:
Even if you feel like you have taken the lockdown in your stride (or are even enjoying some aspects of life at home), it’s taken up a lot of your brain’s processing energy.
Adjusting to a new situation is really taxing on our minds, which feels secure and comfortable knowing our weekly routine. The uncertainty is playing havoc on our brain’s energy, even if it hasn’t made you aware of it!
The human brain is so intelligent because it is there to keep us safe and out of harm’s way (which is why it tends to focus on the negative, dangerous aspects of life – it’s just trying to protect us). Right now, it’s feeling quite helpless in preparing you for any ‘dangers’ lurking in the future because, who knows what the future holds?
Our poor minds are working x10 harder in the background, so is it any wonder we are feeling wiped?
The best advice we can give to this is to check in with yourself, ask yourself how you are feeling or maybe try to journal it down. It will give your mind the chance to process the situation. Also try to rest your mind as much as you can by meditating or going for your daily walk without checking your phone or chatting to anyone. Simply live in the moment for 10 minutes each day to give your mind the chance to catch up.
- Lack of routine
If this wasn’t enough for your brain to focus on, it’s also getting a little bit panicky without our usual 9-5 routine. Even if you can’t stand the rigidness of our weekly routines and rituals, our brains thrive on knowing what is coming next. It feels protected, and like that’s one less thing to worry about.
Take lunch breaks as an example. Your brain feels the need to kick you when our next food intake is coming. What time will you eat? What will you eat? Where will you eat? Usually, in a normal working or school environment, your brain doesn’t need to focus on this micro anxiety because lunchtime is always scheduled into our days, with our packed lunch ready or numerous shops or cafes open to us. Without this structure, our minds are free to panic (whether it makes you aware or not), which again takes up a lot of emotional and mental energy.
The best way to combat this is to have a daily structure or routine, even if you are off work or school. By getting up at the same time, eating at the same time, exercising at the same time each day, our brain will ease up and relax, which should help your energy levels increase.
- Lack of sunlight
We are very fortunate that we are still allowed outside once a day. But think of your normal routine, would there ever be a time you only left your house or stepped outside once a day?
Our bodies need sunlight to survive – it’s a huge source of natural energy and hormones. We weren’t designed to be inside all the time, and this has a huge effect on our energy levels.
Of course, we need to be careful during these strange circumstances, and not everyone has the luxury of a garden. But we would recommend standing outside as much as you can, or opening your windows to receive fresh air and natural light. Taking Vitamin D supplements could also help you, but make sure you look into this before deciding.
- Broken sleep patterns
During unusual or stressful times, it is normal for our sleep pattern to be disrupted. We may be going to bed later and sleeping in, without the need to commute to work or school. We might be sleeping more during the day and then struggling to get some shuteye at night. Or maybe we are trying our best to get a regular sleeping pattern, but our minds just won’t switch off once we hit the pillow.
Trust us, this is all normal. But sleep is so incredibly crucial to our well-being. We recommend focusing on getting enough sleep during the night, our natural time to be at rest. Try to have a slow, relaxed transition from awake to asleep – by having a structured bedtime routine. Getting up at the same time each morning will also help you to get back into the swing of a normal sleep pattern. This is easier said than done, we know, but please give it a go and see if you feel better for it (we think you might!).
This might sound daunting, but please don’t worry. Our brains are wonderful machines, and it will pull through this. By following some of the steps above you might feel an improvement on your energy levels, but also listen to your body. If you feel like you need more rest, do it. Try not to feel guilty for taking it easy – we are in a global pandemic after all! If that’s not a good enough reason to relax, what is? You’re doing great. Keep going.
If you are struggling to cope, you are not alone. Text HECTOR to 85258 to get instant mental health crisis support from a trained (and lovely) volunteer.
More helpful information from the HH blog…
If you are feeling the pressures of the pandemic, take a look at our article here.
Feeling anxious? We got you.
Need other coping methods during lockdown? Take a look here.