Quarantine Fatigue is real

It’s not just about Mental Health during COVID-19

Experts say it will be another 12-18 months before life might go back to what it was like before the pandemic. In the meantime we are all at risk of Quarantine Fatigue and concerns grow about Mental Health during COVID-19.

The concerns are justified. We already know that loneliness is as bad for health as 15 cigarettes per day. It increases the risk of depression and suicide. What is less obvious, is that it carries physical health risks too, increasing all-cause mortality, especially from cardiovascular disease.

So what is Quarantine Fatigue?

It’s a mixed bag of symptoms that seem to be a precursor to the health outcomes associated with loneliness mentioned above. It can manifest with a variety of symptoms and can be different for each individual. According to the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms can include:

  • Irritability
  • Stressed
  • Anxiety
  • Eating more
  • Eating less
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of motivation or productivity
  • Having racing thoughts
  • Or just being on edge in general

So as much as the primary concerns are infection and mental health during COVID-19, there are a wide array of both mental and physical health risks for us to all be conscious of and actively manage during this time. This situation is not going to improve soon and with our healthcare systems understandably overwhelmed most of us will have to do more self-management that we may have been used to previously.

I think I have Quarantine Fatigue, what can I do?

As with all things at Hippocrates Lounge we need to break things down into your lifestyle and daily behaviours so that you can measurably work towards your health goals. Here’s a 3-step plan to get on top of your Quarantine Fatigue:

1. Figure out how Quarantine Fatigue is affecting you and define your health goals

Get clear on the main way Quarantine Fatigue is affecting you. Is it mentally? Is it sleep? Is it appetite? Note them down in order of priority.

Then think about why you want to do something about it. What would happen if it got worse? What would that stop you being able to do? What would happen if you achieved it? What would that enable you to do?

Answering these questions amps up your motivation to address it thoroughly.

2. For each of your goals, consider how you can use nutrition, exercise, mental health, sleep and relationship strategies to tackle your Quarantine Fatigue

For any symptom of Quarantine Fatigue that you are experiencing, there are lifestyle and behavioural changes you can use to manage it. Let’s say you have difficulty sleeping. You can look to prioritise basic sleep hygiene including having a regular bedtime. But you can also: reduce your caffeine and processed food intake; make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime; and use relaxing breathing techniques in bed.

3. Break your Quarantine Fatigue plan down into a daily habit checklist and monitor your progress

With your action plan now clear, you should create a daily checklist. Keep this in your pen-and-paper journal or your favourite note-taking app to keep yourself accountable.

Finally, check-in with yourself every week or month to review how your Quarantine Fatigue symptoms are progressing. You can continuously refine your plan until you figure out what works for you to stay in optimal physical and mental health during COVID-19.

Sounds too much like hard work?

We know it’s not always easy to follow through on health goals. Luckily, there’s an app to help you do all of the above efficiently and easily. We’ll be releasing it very soon. Sign up here to be the first to know!


If you enjoyed reading this, make sure you sign up here to get all of Dr Dilraj's latest blogs straight to your inbox