Updated: Aug 31, 2020
I’m Tired. I imagine you are tired too.
Clients, partners, friends, and family, I hear similar stories on each call: lack of motivation, low energy, lack of passion, difficulty engaging, exhaustion. The fatigue is related to Zoom and being ‘on’, too much time with family, lack of time with friends, missing travel, constantly changing information, content overload.
I’m a rule follower. I may challenge rules, but I do like to follow process and to know what is expected of me so I can deliver on those expectations. All rules are currently open to interpretation and your interpretation may differ greatly from those with whom you typically agree. Parents are trying to navigate what is best for their families, their childcare and their children’s education. Teachers who WANT to teach, have to consider the risk factors not only to themselves, but to their families if they return to the classroom. Rules in one community may be completely different from rules in another.
I am suffering decision fatigue about meals, shopping, college protocols - even how to get my hair colored. It’s all exhausting.
I make it a point to keep up on the latest information, yet it seems to change daily; sometimes multiple times each day. In my business, I try to help others navigate the merits of a change of scenery, social interactions, gratitude for jobs, but also wanting more, and engaging in difficult conversations. On boundaries, I have recently changed from using ‘work-life integration’ to saying ‘working / not working’ as our two states of being; advising that you need time ‘not working’ in order to be more productive when you are.
When we are together in an office, we gain energy from the people around us and feed off of their productivity. We take cues from others as to how hard to work, when to take a break or walk away, or when the day is done. ‘At home trying to work’ introduces new complexity in walking away from your desk, practicing self-care in terms of meals and breaks, and when you live at your office, exhaustion sets in. Without live interactions, the toolbox we typically rely on goes untouched. There is a fear of not working hard enough, not responding fast enough. Workers are burdened by the economic downturn to work as hard and as fast as they can to assure their value is recognized and contributions are noticed.
Is there an answer for the fatigue? I don’t have it. However, I am comforted to know I am not alone. I have been asked time and again if the person asking is the only one feeling the burden. The answer is a definitive no.
This perpetual state of fog will lift. Until then, I encourage you to share your tips of survival.
Work smarter, not harder.
Focus on productivity and daily wins.
Evaluate if the work is worthy of your night or weekend. Sometimes the break yields renewed vigor toward the task at hand.
Help each other where possible.
Prioritize self-care basics: nutrition, hydration, exercise, breaks, sleep.
Know you are not alone.