Why You’ve Been So Tired Lately, Even Though You’re Always at Home

Trust us: it's not just you.

By Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.
March 31, 2020

Living through the coronavirus outbreak of the past few weeks has made a lot of people anxious, regardless of whether they have diagnosed anxiety disorders. This is completely understandable: we have never experienced anything like this in our lifetime and there is no road map for dealing with a modern-day pandemic. Everything is so uncertain. We don’t know how many people are going to get sick, how this will impact us financially, and how long this will last. 

Right now, basically everything is an unknown — except for the fact that we should be washing our hands vigorously and frequently, and staying inside as much as possible. If you are fortunate enough to have a job that allows you to work from home, you may be putting in the same hours, but without the commute. And those Friday night plans you’re always tempted to cancel? They’re off the calendar for the foreseeable future. And yet, despite spending virtually all your time at home, you’re still exhausted. What gives? Here are three reasons why you may have been feeling especially fatigued lately.

We’re actually doing more

Sure, you can wear pajamas to the office now, and by “the office,” we mean your dining room table, but you have so many more distractions than you typically would at work. If you’re a parent, you may be juggling your own job with homeschooling your kids, or perhaps you’re taking care of a loved one who is sick. On top of that, you’re getting used to a new routine and trying to be as productive as you normally are, only under far different circumstances. 

Anxiety makes us tired

Fatigue is one of the less obvious, but one of the most prevalent symptoms of anxiety. All the constant worrying tires you out, but when it’s time to actually go to bed, your mind may be racing so fast that you’re not able to fall or stay asleep. Either way, you’re tired when you wake up, and then start the whole stressful process again.

It’s moral fatigue

Thanks to the pandemic, nothing is easy anymore. Even simple choices — like whether or not to go to the grocery store — have the potential to impact countless others (i.e. what if you infect someone in the store, or catch the virus yourself?). We now have to think through even our most mundane actions and their possible consequences in a way we’ve never had to do before. This is called moral fatigue, and it is truly exhausting. 

So if you’re constantly a little groggy, or having trouble concentrating throughout all this, know that there’s a good reason, and that you’re definitely not alone. Overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Try practicing self-compassion, finding ways to be hopeful, or spending even 10 minutes outside.

Outlier Disclaimer

This site is for educational purposes and not a substitute for professional medical care by a doctor or otherwise qualified medical professional. The information provided by Outlier Magazine is on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services.

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