Overcoming COVID-19 Fatigue in Older Adults
Have you been feeling more tired, anxious, low in motivation, difficulty focusing or making decisions? This could be related to ‘lockdown fatigue’.
According to the Australian Psychological society, lockdown fatigue has been described worldwide as a state of exhaustion caused by the long-term effects of COVID-19 and the changes it has caused to every aspect of your life. It is a state experienced when people have had to come to terms with a virus that has affected every aspect of their life, including their freedom, and which has continued for months, sometimes with no end in sight.
The good news? We have the tools to manage it, we just need to put them into action. One of the strategies recommended by the Australia Psychological Society is exercise.
It might sound counter-intuitive, as when we feel tired and unmotivated, exercise can feel like a chore. However, being active regularly increases energy-promoting and mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin so that over time we feel better. This also helps the body and brain to better manage stress. If we are better able to manage stress, we can better manage the impacts of COVID-19 on our lives.
We encourage you to be active every day while staying-at-home – in way or another, either by doing an activity like cleaning or gardening, or by walking in your backyard or neighbourhood (keeping a safe distance from others), or by joining live online exercise classes. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day, which can be spread out in different activities and times of the day.
Make it social: call family while going on a walk and engage with other participants in the live online exercise classes
Set a routine: Try to schedule regular times for engaging in physical activity. For example, aim to go for a 10 minute walk at 9am, an online class at 11am, and do some gentle stretches at 3pm. This keeps your body moving at regular intervals throughout the day.
Be kind to yourself: Accept that you may feel more tired, less productive, or less motivated than usual. That’s okay. Try not to be critical towards yourself, as this can generate more stress.
Seek additional support if you feel that you are struggling with lockdown fatigue, or with coping with any aspect of COVID-19.
This article is for informational purposes only. Consult your local medical authority for advice.
Helpful Links and Resources:
Lifeline Support Hotline: 13 11 14