Author: Dr Meg Arroll Category: Health, Mental Health, Well-being

Being in lockdown can leave you tired, lethargic and fatigued, find out why

It’s not unusual for people to feel tired, lethargic and fatigued in a situation such as the coronavirus lockdown. There are numerous reasons for this, including disruption to daily routine, reduced physical activity, comfort, boredom and stress eating, lack of natural light which affects the production of vitamin D – all of which disturb our circadian rhythm leading to poor sleep quality. In addition, in these troubling times, there are heightened levels of anxiety, stress, depression and emotional exhaustion.

Research commissioned by Healthspan, the UK’s leading vitamin and wellness brand, found that even in times of relative stability, 62% of Brits claim their minds are running ‘a mile a minute’ and 83% feel like they have constant internal chatter. Three-quarters of respondents in this poll reported that they had so much on their minds they struggled to switch off at night, resulting in poor sleep at least three nights out of seven. Furthermore, two-thirds of those questioned felt less able to handle whatever was on their mind after a bad night’s sleep, before the current coronavirus pandemic.

The recent announcement of a UK-wide lockdown in the wake of the Coronavirus has been shown to only increase levels of worry – researchers at the University of Sheffield and Ulster University surveyed 2,000 people in the UK and found a spike in depression and anxiety on 23 March after the Prime Minister’s announcement of a lockdown. Between Monday 23 March and Friday 27 March, 25% of women and 18% of men exhibited clinically meaningful symptoms of anxiety, 23% of women and 21% of men reported symptoms of depression, and 15% of women and 19% of men said they were stressed.

Woman resting and feeling tired during lockdown
It’s not unusual to feel tired in stressful situations


Try to keep to a set daily schedule

Taken together, it’s unsurprising that many people feel fatigued amid the lockdown, but just as there are numerous reasons for this tiredness, there are many ways to combat the unpleasant effects of self-isolation measures. Try to keep to a set daily schedule with regular wake, bed, meal, rest and exercise times. Make use of the one outdoor exercise excursion allowed to get some vitamin D and top this up with a good quality supplement such as Healthspan’s Super Strength Vitamin D3 Peppermint Oral spray*. Rob Hobson, Healthspan Head of Nutrition says “Low intakes of vitamin D have been shown to cause tiredness, fatigue and low mood. Vitamin D is also one of a collection of nutrients that help to support your immune system to function properly” which is vital during an outbreak.

Mindset is also incredibly important in negating feelings of tiredness and low mood so take a moment each day to shift your headspace from an energy-depleting fight-or-flight response to a calmer perspective by reminding yourself this situation is temporary.

Right now, with constant news reports it may seem that the lockdown will be never ending and the path ahead unknown, but it will end, and we will emerge into the world once again. In addition, we can use this time to take important learnings from our experience to move forward with. In psychology this is called ‘post-traumatic growth’ whereby difficult situations and experiences give rise to increased self-awareness, knowledge, self-efficacy and empathy. So, look for the lessons and what you can take from this experience to shift your mindset to combat feelings of fatigue and stress and energise your days.

Finally, find humour and light-heartedness in each day by making sure you take your ‘laughter supplements’– this can be whatever brings a smile to your face such as silly cat videos on YouTube, a comedy boxset on Netflix or organising a ‘dad joke’ competition with friends on WhatsApp. Laughter boosts mood and can give us respite from intrusive and negative thoughts.


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