IMAGE: ZOHRE NEMATI | UNSPLASHTips for quarantine fatigue during COVID-19Quarantine fatigue is the latest phenomenon happening all over the world, after months of restrictions and social distancing. People are reporting states of lethargy and low motivation. Here are some actionable steps to help if you too are afflicted by Libby PerkinsWhy are we experiencing quarantine fatigue? From my vantage point as a therapist and wellness consultant, quarantine fatigue is a very natural response to the many intense and extreme conditions humankind is facing right now – such as loss of freedom, disconnection from loved ones, uncertainty around money, work and survival. Plus access to limited resources and other things.

Sometimes though, fatigue presents as a coping mechanism. A layer of protection, to dull out deeper feelings beneath, such as fear, anger, frustration, sadness, grief and despair. Experiences of lethargy, heaviness and feeling unmotivated sit like a blanket over these other sensations that are perhaps more difficult to process, especially in close proximity to others, where there is conditioning that these ‘shadow’ feelings are bad or impolite and should not be expressed.

The first step in shifting any feeling is to make contact; to allow space and time for our awareness to move towards the experience. To sense how the presenting fatigue feels. There may be a certain place in the body that the lethargy feels most prominent. So lying down and resting the palms of the hands on that area, breathing, connecting, and being with the deeper layers is a self-loving choice. From this place insights often arise.
IMAGE: BROOKE CAGLE | UNSPLASHFor some people, fatigue will be a call to deep rest. It can give permission to make choices towards gentle actions of self-care. Actions such as self-massage, baths, gardening, creativity (such as music and art), to cook and nourish the body with healthy food, do gentle yoga, meditation, read books, sleep more, etc.

For others, increased awareness and contact will lead to the layers underneath, and their calling to make wise movements. Perhaps to take action. Maybe to allow momentum and energy to release in ways that best resolve these states. As an example, if fear, sadness, grief or distress are present, then perhaps some conversations with loved ones or a therapist would help. Also, journalling and making art and music can support. Hold an intention to explore ways through the feelings and directly address the states that are arising in gentle ways.

For some people, more dynamic experiences of anger and frustration live under the fatigue. These are often triggered by deprived liberties and unmet needs. Once again, conversations with loved ones or a therapist can help circulate the energy. Also physical activities such as walking, running, swimming, dancing, and online gym/ yoga classes. Creativity can support making sense of and integrating these more intense feelings.
Loving contactLike all feelings, quarantine fatigue requires loving contact.

It is a natural human experience calling for your attention, to access the wisdom that lays beneath. Quarantine fatigue is another invitation from life to embrace yourself as our own best friend. Listen to yourself and make movements in the right direction for your very individual and unique healing.

Sometimes this will be a surrender to rest more; other times it will be a calling to circulate old stuck energy through movement and activity. For most of us it will be a combination of both, requiring listening each day and choosing wisely.

There is an ancient creed from a Vedic text that says, “for whom, when and where”. This is a reminder to each of us that in every moment we are living a unique experience that requires space and awareness to ‘know thyself’. And to then move in the most self-loving and self-realising ways that we have skills for. Quarantine fatigue is no exception. Everything brings an opportunity to deepen into self-love.
Libby Perkins is a yoga teacher, therapist and wellness consultant based on the east coast of Australia. She offers 1:1 sessions to support people through times of adversity and change. Libby is the author of 108 Days 108 Ways – How I Save the World
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