Since the quarantine began, many people have been using social networks to narrate unusual life changes while in isolation. One is the more extraordinary occurrence of vivid dreams. Another phenomenon many have also reported is increased fatigue.
First, we need to understand where exhaustion comes from. The most obvious source is physical activity. When you run a marathon, and your body needs to rest to replenish its energy. But there is also mental tiredness. Several scientific articles have already shown that there is a strong relationship between stress and exhaustion in humans and other animals. This might explain why, even if locked inside the house without making a lot of physical effort, we can feel the body give that lock. As our routine changes radically, stress is inevitable. It is estimated that the human body can take up to three months to get used to abrupt lifestyle changes.
This anxiety disturbs sleep too. On social media, many people are reporting unregulated nights during the quarantine. The name of this is “sleep inertia” – that state in which we remain open and aware, but prolonged. To make matters worse, we no longer have contact with sunlight as we did when we were on the street all the time. Isolated people often stay in closed rooms, mostly lit by artificial lights (lamps, computers, and cell phones).
There are some things we can do to alleviate these symptoms. The first is to try to maintain a regulated routine: establish hours to wake up, work, eat, study, have moments of leisure, etc. Another measure is to try to stay physically active, even if at home. It is well documented that physical activity has benefits not only for the body but also for the mind. It is a great way to relieve stress.
Keep your routine flexible as well, so you won’t get bored. As we are almost always in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again is not a very good idea for your mental health. You can take the time to, for example, study new subjects, read a new book, play new games, or even watch a shower of bright comets from your window.
As the weather starts getting warmer, you could arrange with a group of friends to meet at a parking lot and catch up with each other while keeping a social-distancing protocol.