Feeling low, feeling slow.
We’re starting to feel tired, really tired. A lethargy.
No motivation, no energy, feeling less able or interested in doing.
A lethargy caused by weeks and weeks of slow, constant, background (and foreground) stress.
At the start of the pandemic, people were reporting not being able to sleep, anxiety and whirling thoughts around our heads were keeping us awake at night, and waking us up early — and the lighter mornings didn’t help either.
We’ve moved on from the initial panic, through a period of slightly calmer times — where we’ve started to adjust, and figure out how this is working. We were more able to make jokes about the quarantine, and spent time socialising with our friends on zoom, regular pub quizzes, lots of video calls.
Our routines have settled in a little more, but equally, we’ve relaxed some of the structures we might have put in place, or standards we held ourselves up to.
Now, however, we’re entering a new phase, a fatigue.
Even if we haven’t been significantly impacted by the quarantine, the small background stress has been building up, we count the days, 40, 50, 60, and we look ahead and see there’s no real immediate change on the horizon. This is becoming the normal. This is the point where we need to keep going, keep pushing on our routines and habits, not forget the exercise and diet, not give up on the regular check-ins with our teams.
For those of you who’ve dealt with depression before, you possibly recognise the symptoms: feeling heavy, sleeping in, low motivation, withdrawing from social activities, eating less well, exercising less, just not engaging as much as you did. For those of you who haven’t ever dealt with depression — this is what it can feel like.
Often we associate stress with high energy: anxiety, racing minds, not able to sleep — but prolonged periods of stress lead to an emotional (and physical) exhaustion. And right now, that’s what we’re feeling. Tired, drained, lethargic.
It goes to show how we’re all on a continuum of mental health — it isn’t some sort of strange affliction that only a percentage of the population have, but something we all have — just like physical health, and things affect it positively and negatively. It’s quite a realisation, but an important one to make. And just being ‘aware’ of your mental health is not enough. You need to put things in place to actively maintain it. Most of us maintain positive mental health by simply doing the things we do every day: seeing friends, going to work, eating, living. But since ‘the great pause’ came along, those things aren’t as available as they used to be, aren’t the same as they used to be.
It’s important to remember, this isn’t your fault, you’re not doing anything wrong, and you’re not weaker or less of a person by feeling these things, you’re dealing with a huge amount, even if you’re not in a bad place.
But it is also important to recognise the feelings, and try to put things in place to help flatten your very own curve, and flip the decline into something more stable.
Simple motivational techniques.
Doing things you enjoy.
Talking about it.
It’s basic stuff, but when you’re low, it can be harder to make sure you’re doing them.
We’re here to help you tackle it together.
We’ll be writing a guide on tackling lethargy and low mood on Leapers this week.
Stay tuned, stay well.