Tired? No problem – be kind to yourself

I think that many of us are really struggling with fatigue at present even though we are staying at home nearly all the time. It never feels right to be tired when you don’t seem to have done a great deal, does it? I am always irritated about how tired I feel after a day spent mostly travelling. I have just sat on a train for hours reading or even napping, yet I arrive home completely drained.

The reason, of course, is that mental effort can be a great deal more tiring than physical effort. A long walk or run will leave your muscles aching but you also get the boost of all those wonderful endorphins released into your body. Strong emotions, stress and anxiety are far more wearing, and can bring negative effects along with them. Those of us with mental health conditions may be more familiar with this – some of us experience this kind of fatigue almost every day.

Anxiety and stress can take over your whole existence, and right now there is a great deal to be anxious about. The news, as ever, is full of the most shocking and negative stories, and who can fail to be upset by daily counts of those who have died. There are some good news stories, and it is perhaps a measure of how serious this situation is that the press seem to be going further out their way than they often do to track these down and report them. But the overall mood is still very tense, and is likely to remain so for some time.

You will find this tiring, if not constantly then at one time or another. This is entirely normal, but if you are not used to it do not worry or be too hard on yourself. You would have to be superhuman not to have some anxiety at present, and you will get tired. Berating yourself for this, as I still do every day, will only make things worse.

One of the benefits of lockdown is that many of us may find we have more time to rest, relax and do things that we enjoy. That is the best response. We are unlikely to experience time to ourselves like this again.

I remember when I finished my university exams, I had 3 months before I started work. I knew then that this would be the longest break from work I would likely have until I retired, and so it has proven up to now. This is a similar time. Try to fill your life and your mind with good things and activities and thoughts that you enjoy. Do not look back at the end of this and regret the opportunities you missed. It is good for you to do things that you enjoy – you are not being selfish.

And if you are tired, rest. You deserve it and there is nothing wrong with you.

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