If you have been finding yourself to be a little bit more tired in self-isolation, you’re not alone. According to a B.C. clinical counsellor, self-isolation can make you more tired than usual. You’re not being lazy, your brain is actually trying to process everything that is happening. 

Judy Colpitts is a registered clinical counsellor and certified health coach in Kelowna, B.C. who has been practicing in her line of work for over 30 years. 

With a particular interest in stress, Colpitts provided some insights as to why many of us are feeling drained while being in self-isolation in an exclusive interview with Narcity. 

Although most of us have been social distancing and self-isolating for a while now, you may find it hasn’t really gotten any easier. 

According to Colpitts, even if you are not acknowledging all the news that is going on around you, it still has a way of taking a toll on your body. 

For a large majority of people, daily lives and routines have been completely uprooted. Pair this feeling with the unprecedented time and people can begin to have feelings of anxiety and depression. 

“We are busy looking at what the outcome could be and we are thinking about different things. This stirs up a fear in our body,” said Colpitts. 

“It doesn’t have to be huge to create a fear in our system and afterwards we can feel very tired. After feeling the fear and anxiety, you may become physically exhausted.”

But it’s not just our minds that feel exhausted. Rather, every part of our body gets tired. 

From teeth grinding and headaches to weight gain and loss, stress can affect everyone differently and has the ability to tire people out. 

This could be the reason as to why you may be less inclined to go for a walk, try the new home workout, or even unload the dishwasher. 

“We don’t want to do things because we simply don’t have the energy,” she explained. 

Physical, mental, and spiritual exhaustion is also rooted in the fact that many of us may have lost a sense of routine. 

“The routine is now scrambled. And one thing we know about the brain is that it likes to stick to a familiar routine even if it’s not necessarily a good one,” said the counsellor. 

Reconfiguring and determining a new routine is important to get through this isolation.

If you are finding that you may not know what to do since your old routine is disrupted, a new routine can be formed with things you enjoy doing.

Something as simple as getting up and going to bed a the same time every day is a start towards normalizing the situation. 

This time may be harder for some people than others. 

For people who may identify as extroverts, social distancing and isolation can be quite difficult and have more of a negative impact when compared to someone who enjoys alone time. 

The biggest advice is to continue to socialize in a safe way. FaceTime calls, emails, letters, or a nice social distance walk all have the ability to recharge the body and mind and are ways to keep you feeling social, said Colpitts. 

While a stressful time, this pandemic can be seen as a time to recharge, rethink values, learn, and have fun.

“People haven't looked after themselves enough. The issue is that when we work, we don’t have time for anything and are exhausted and we literally neglect to care for ourselves,” explained Colpitts. 

“Coming from the pandemic there can be positive things.”

For many, this pandemic is forcing the average person to slow down and to do things a little differently. This free time can be looked at as an opportunity to be more relaxed and do things in our lives that we may not have otherwise had time to do. 

Whether it is trying a new workout or playing video games, we shouldn’t feel shame in how we are handling the situation and what we are doing with our downtime. 

When people are normally busy and are forced to slow down, they can feel guilty for doing things they like to do because they aren't filing their time with work or social occasions.

For people who are constantly on the go, downtime can feel like a chore. Doing things we like to do, no matter what it may be, is a coping mechanism and there is no one that is better than the other. 

Making shifts in lifestyle is difficult but Colpitts is optimistic that given the immensity of the situation, a shift in some of our core values may become common. 

“We need to appreciate that this is very stressful. Some people may not even notice that they are feeling stress because they have trained themselves to compartmentalize it,” said the counsellor.

“I’m optimistic that this quarantine will lead to people coming away with a shift in their values. This could be spending more time with family or just doing things we like to do.” 

If you're feeling burnt out, don't be so hard on yourself. The state of the world is exhausting us and that's okay. 

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