the fatigue is real

Photo credit: matthew-henry-6x-hVXXiBxs-unsplash

So… we’ve been at this virus thing a while now, and we’re getting worn down. The initial adrenaline has worn off – as it should. We were not created to live with an enduring adrenaline rush.

We embraced the novelty of our new realities, using creativity and technology to survive, but that has gotten old too. Now, the isolation, the confinement, the messes, the unknowns, and the losses are accumulating… and they add up to a whole lot of tired. I began to make a list of some of the exhaustion culprits.

Zoom Fatigue

When we use the same platform for everything (work meetings and one-on-ones, socializing and virtual parties, family events, church services, online classes, doctors’ appointments, and maybe counseling too), we have no context changes and we. sit. way. too. much. In addition, the audio lags, “frozen” visuals, and mute-mistakes create mental agitation. The self-view ensures ongoing self-criticism, and the home-background-view can cause social comparison. The lack of eye-contact (do I look at the screen faces or at the camera?) and the group direct-staring is abnormal and relationally draining.   

Information Fatigue

I don’t know about you, but I’ve gone from reading voraciously and talking constantly about every single coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detail to not wanting to see another C19 chart, graph, statistic, comment, or hand-washing video. My head is full of contradicting, ever-changing, anxiety-raising, conflict-causing (mis) information, and I don’t have the energy to input more data into my brain.

Decision Fatigue

It seems that all previously simple choices have become overly complex and complicated. Going to the store for groceries now requires consideration of all the safety features and evaluation against the risk of catching the virus or – even more concerning – the possibility of passing it on to someone else. Is it safe to get my hair cut or go to the dentist? Do I wear a mask? How can I support local businesses and those in need?

Uncertainty Fatigue

I say “I don’t know” or “Nobody knows” a lot. So many plans are on hold with no clear direction in sight. We write events into the calendar in pencil, hold anxiously to job hopes, and worry about the economy. When will we get back to the way things were before? What will be the new “normal”? How will our world be forever changed?  

I could go on and on…

  • Isolation Fatigue
  • No-Alone-Time Fatigue
  • Messiness Fatigue
  • Boredom Fatigue
  • Worry Fatigue
  • Fear Fatigue
  • Room (house) Fatigue

They say the first step to healing is naming the pain. It is helpful to realize just how much pressure is landing heavily on our shoulders each day. Our world is crazy-different than it was only a few months ago.

When I recognize the effort I am putting into getting through each day, I can give myself grace when I can’t see through my brain fog, when I am grumpy, or when I cry for no reason. I can also more easily encourage myself to rest, take a break, or ignore the “should-do-list.”

I can also give that same grace and encouragement to others.

What is causing you fatigue? How can you give pressure-lifting grace and encouragement to yourself or to others?

14 thoughts on “the fatigue is real

  1. My wife and I agree. We see a lot of this as the same as Cross-Cultural fatigue ie Culture Shock. We moved overseas in 2007 and were tired for the first 6 months. A lot had to do with all of the learning the new culture presented. And that culture was an English speaking culture. So much was tied up in “How we relate to others. How we express our thoughts and opinions at work. How shopping is different. How clothes were different. Not seeing our friends of long time except talking on the phone or occasional. Meeting neighbors. What things around are similar yet different. Shopping with different shopping hours.” People in America are living now in a different culture than is their previous normal. They just didn’t have the choice, nor have they had cross-cultural training to identify it. My friend’s best advice when going overseas was EEFF — “Expectations are your Enemy and Flexibility is your Friend”. This is true of where we are right now as well.

    • Yes! I remember also being tired so very early in the morning after first moving to a new country. After a while, we realized how exhausting everything new was for us – and then we could also help others with their transitions. We also talked about using our “flex powder”. 🙂 But, this is the sad reality of many people today: “They just didn’t have the choice, nor have they had cross-cultural training to identify it.” I’m hoping this post can be a resource. Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

  2. Thanks for writing this. I saw the title and felt understood. It should be obvious that everyone is feeling this way, but I suppose with the isolation, it’s easy to feel alone in this. I plan to take some time today to name my particular fatigues and start praying about them. Thanks again!

    • Isn’t that crazy? The isolation or sense that we alone feel this way only adds to our fatigue. Making this list helped me. Praying for you today as you process your own list. May God give you grace and rest. xxoo

  3. Thank you for reminding us that the fatigue is real. Not just me being unhappy with my circumstances or unwilling to do life differently on zoom yet again. No-alone time is real, no face-to-face contact is real, sick-of-sitting-in-my-room for all calls all day is real. And you’re right-saying it out loud helps. Admitting this isn’t what we were created for–all this isolation–helps a lot. Owning the hard makes it easier to live in the hard. Thanks, friend!

    • Yes. I found myself telling a lot of people – “It’s not you” or “Your being tired doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.” Simply making this list and recognizing these truths began to lift some of the weight from my shoulders. Thanks for taking time to read! Really encourages me. xxoo

  4. I add the no physical contact fatigue. So hard to not get from or give hugs to family and friends. I really do miss that.

    • Oh, yes, that is one I’ve heard a lot also. So important and needed. Would you believe I heard that wrapping your arms around yourself for a “self-hug” actually triggers some of the same endorphins as a hug from someone else? =) Love to you. I look forward to when I can give you a real hug again.

What do you think? Qué piensas?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s