Quarantine Fatigue is Getting to All of Us
Greetings to my faithful BoomerGal followers.
Are you as fatigued as I am. All my friends are feeling and saying the same. Overwhelmed and under-loved. Way too much uncertainty. We all ask how do we move forward? Is the virus back in full force or is it not. Are we approaching a second wave, and if so, how severe will it be. Do we get our doctor appointments lined up, or hold off until the fall or winter months. How about that much needed hair style and should we be going to the nail salon? In my case, my BoomerGuy and I are cutting each other’s hair…hey, it’s not perfect, but I can tell you it’s quite acceptable under the circumstances. And the good news, my BoomerGuy gets to eliminate the pony-tail. Do we go sit in a restaurant that’s been officially “opened” or do we order take out and eat on our laps in the car, or do we continue to shelter and dine at home.
The statistics on the fatigue factor suggest a very high incidence and include the young all the way to us Boomers and seniors. In fact, our website designer is 20 years old and has sheltered in for three months and is a great testimonial to the fatigue factor, waking up with low energy and finding it increasingly difficult to get his motivation on track.
Several others have said they’re the most unproductive they’ve ever been. They’re tired all the time and they feel melancholy. They said exercising would normally make them feel more energetic and lively, unfortunately they feel sluggish and want to pretend everything we’re living through is fake, like being on a slow-motion roller-coaster.
I do want to acknowledge all these comments and the fact that our virus fatigue is real, however, as we always do here at BoomerGal, we focus on the positives and those things we consider truly inspirational that will not only benefit ourselves but others, as well.
I’ve had the pleasure of eating breakfast and lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, The Corner Bakery, www.cornerbakerycafe.com, this past week after they notified the public they were open for dine in eating. In the case of Starbucks, I had a delightful iced Chai Latte sitting on their patio overlooking a peaceful stream, made all the better because my BoomerGuy was with me. Our extraordinary automotive service team at Bird Family Tire and Automotive, www.birdfamilytireandauto.com, were open for business and helped us through several repairs and one emergency service. In anticipation of getting back on the travel wagon, we had our passports renewed at the local postal facility in Temecula.
The message here is that businesses are re-opening and other ‘essential’ businesses continue to operate on a daily basis. Everywhere we went, the people waiting on us were respectful and practicing all the appropriate guidelines: wearing masks, separating by physical distancing, and cleansing high touch-spot areas like counters and credit card displays. The noticeable common denominator in all of our experiences was extraordinary customer service—these businesses were excited to be open and serving their valued customers again.
My BoomerGuy and I always thank these business people for reopening and wish them continued success. However, we were quite surprised with their response when we asked how they were being treated post-lockdown. To our amazement, they said the public has been rude, impatient and condescending. It’s almost as though the businesses are being blamed for the shut down during this time. How terribly unfortunate by such short sighted and angry customers. Where is the kindness and mindfulness in our society. My suggestion to you is to practice both every hour of the day—it will make you a better person with a far better outlook on life.
I took the time this week to think of others, friends and family members. I wanted to help out a few friends by sending “thinking of you” greeting cards, one in particular to a girl friend located in a rather remote area of Washington State. And, I sent a “get happy” card to our 96-year old aunt Betty in Omaha, Nebraska who hasn’t been out of her house for over three months. Yes, people still like to receive hand-written cards and letters and are over-joyed when they go the mailbox.
The big “wow” was delivering a very decadent chocolate cake to the nursing home where my parents are residents. It is my father’s 92nd birthday and along with Father’s Day it was a great tribute since no one is allowed to enter the facility. I had the cake boxed up along with napkins, paper plates, plasticware, and a few other goodies and had it sealed with a special note attached asking the staff to deliver it to my father and to make certain they indulged by having a piece of the cake, as well. You would have thought we gave them a million dollars. When I called my mother, it just so happened the entire nursing staff was in the room delivering the cake and singing that old familiar song, Happy Birthday to my father. There is no question the fatigue factor is a big part of their lives, but on this day, the staff actually sounded happy and exuberant—how could they not with delicious chocolate cake tickling their taste buds. LOL. How special these people are to give so much in the way they care for my parents and the other nursing home patients. They are our first responders and deserve a huge thank you.
With all that as a backdrop of positivity and inspiration, I am afraid to say, however, this coronavirus fatigue is a real thing. At the outset of the pandemic back in February and March, only a short 3+ months ago, we were all pretty vigilant about practicing good hygiene. The threat was new and urgent so we were highly motivated to do everything that was recommended by the local, state and federal authorities in addition to the guidelines set forth by the CDC and NIH.
Now, here we are months later, and some of us seem to be losing that sense of immediacy and urgency by not allowing ourselves to be mindful of the basics and letting low motivation creep into our daily lives. Who can blame us. We get conflicting reports on the extent of the virus, we question the ethics and economic impact of the shutdown, the issue of masks or no masks, do we wipe down the groceries or not, physical distancing went out the door over these past two weeks with extremely poor social behavior, and unfortunately, the list goes on. The very thing we Boomers like and need to have in our daily lives is consistency, and that is sorely lacking at this point in time. With all this, we find ourselves nodding off and becoming complacent by bending the rules and halting basic health and safety behaviors.
Now that is a shame, but let’s face it we are tired and fatigued and frankly we’ve decreased our sensitivity to all the REPEATED warnings, and along with that the inability to process all the new information being thrown at us, and of course the haunting desire to return to some form of normalcy. In my book, I think they call that being human.
If you find yourself falling into the abyss, I have some helpful hints and ideas for you to follow that might just be the food to stimulate your inner self and get you to your new normal.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”
- Self-Care. One of the most important things we should be doing is reaching out to loved ones. Social processing is vitally important during this time of quarantine, and while it might be imperfect due to the distancing aspect, it is so helpful to talk with friends and family about what they think, what they are doing, and what makes sense for them. The more information you have from those close to you, the more tools you will have in your toolbox to combat the stress of fatigue. It’s called shifting your mindset from the negative and fearful to the positive and composed.
- Stay Relevant. Inasmuch as we Boomers and seniors have experienced a great many critical events in our lives, we’ve not been through anything like this, especially on such a global basis. We are pounded daily by the news media with seemingly conflicting stories and statistics on what’s happening. So, naturally, we tend to look at this event as being unsolvable, but it’s not. Learning with people helps us to process and positively reinforce responsible behaviors. Let’s face it we don’t like rules, but they have been put upon us by local, state and federal levels, so it’s up to us to turn safety practices into habits. Be diligent and do for yourself…wear your protective masks even if others don’t; don’t be embarrassed to don a pair of disposable gloves; be cognizant of physical distancing because it does work; use cleansing wipes whenever possible; and wash your hands at all costs. Read relevant, credible information from a few trusted sources and by your own volition come up with a balanced viewpoint on what to do. Make safety practices into habits by setting up visual cues, for example, I hang my face mask on my home door handle and on the turn signal of my automobile. They remind me to put it on before I leave. And of course my new go to purse is one of my favorite totes loaded with face masks, disposable gloves, cleansing wipes. The one time you’re not prepared you will need them.
- Keep It Simple. Keep your decision making simple. Being fatigued not only causes increased stress, but it can also bring about forgetfulness. Complex decisions require a lot of energy and we get even more tired when making those decisions, because we will most certainly over-evaluate the risk versus reward of those decisions. If you want to feel good about yourself and the advice you give to others, ‘keep it simple stupid’ and make smarter decisions about how to live your new normal.
- Your New Normal. Your new normal can now include venturing out. It appears most retail outlets, restaurants, and other “non-essential” businesses are reopening, under Phase 1 and 2 guidelines. I think that is vitally important not only for our society, but also our economy. But be mindful. Use those health and safety habits mentioned above when you do visit various establishments. I can assure you, there are many folks who won’t be so diligent so it’s up to you to be extra diligent to make up for their shortfalls. Also, if you walk into a business and it’s too filled with people or just uncomfortable, nothing is that important to have to force fit a situation down an overly crowded aisle. Back out and try another time. Remember…safety first. As Anthony Fauci, M.D. says: “No crowd is better than crowd, and crowd is better than big crowd.”
- Take A Day Trip. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loading your ice chest and taking the car with a full tank of gas on the road for a day trip. It doesn’t have to be with a specific destination in mind, just go explore and see where the drive takes you. Pull over and enjoy mother nature at her finest. Oh, and don’t forget to take your camera and/or cell phone and record your memories so that you can share them with family and friends. This is called breathing life into your soul, because you won’t have time to be fatigued.
“Only when normal things are not normal anymore
do we realize how special normal things are”
My BoomerGuy and I will have more on the Day Trip in our next blog. Get ready to be awakened with our sensational photo journal. Road trip dead ahead.
Boomers, stay safe and healthy and enjoy this Father’s Day weekend. It will be a different one as was Mother’s Day, but nonetheless we’ll create wonderful new memories. Happy Father’s Day to all you BoomerGuys out there and all our senior fathers whether you’re able to celebrate together or via social media.
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