COVID-19 has disrupted the way people and the world works. The pandemic has injected elevated levels of change, uncertainty, and anxiety into our lives. Lockdown-induced restrictions have forced people to limit face-to-face meetings and working remotely from home has become the new necessity. However, this is far from normal.
Dr. Lawrence Frank a professor of Public Health at University of British Columbia says, “Being social creatures, we have a certain tolerance for isolation and a need for it. But the need for isolation has certainly been met for most people and now they’re into a kind of overload.”
What people are experiencing is quarantine fatigue or isolation fatigue. Here are some practical suggestions for combating this.
Practice physical distancing, not social distancing
While everyone uses the term social distancing loosely, it really means maintaining physical distance. It is critical to be socially connected in these challenging times. While people are spending more time on calls and video conferences, it is also important to use these virtual settings to speak and bond on non-work items.
As per a Harvard Business Review study in 2020, “Isolation is a common problem for remote workers, so it’s more important than ever to come together. Try creating and participating in chat threads where team members can talk about common interests. Video calls are better to connect with colleagues, even just for an end-of-day water cooler chat.”
It may be good to calendarize a slot every day or week with colleagues (team members, peers, seniors, etc.) to share a story, joke or non-work agenda item.
Create a new routine for yourself
More time at home gives everyone an opportunity to craft a new routine. Make sure you include sufficient sleep time, a physical fitness routine, a healthy diet and non-work pursuit time in it to make the schedule wholesome. Putting this in your calendar will help bring in discipline around implementation. It is also recommended to create black-out zones in your calendar to give yourself time to reflect and rejuvenate without distractions.
Make a list
As per therapist Rachel Wright ,” It helps to make a list of things you want to do or would like to watch while you're in quasi-quarantine. Give yourself a bucket list of things—maybe there's a TV show that you've wanted to watch but haven't had the time, a project you've been meaning to start, or a skill you want to learn. Also, make a post-quarantine bucket list, or a list of things that you want to do once this is all over.” This helps give a sense of what we really want to do and at the same time presents something to look forward to.
The starting point is to acknowledge that things are different yet not necessarily worse. People are resilient and have the ability to adapt and face tough times. This is a good opportunity to be creative and work differently as an individual, professional and family person.