‘At times I just want to block the world out and stay in bed’
Does this sound like you? Sometimes ‘it all’ becomes too much and you may be feeling exhausted and unmotivated. Explore the various types of fatigue that could be impacting your life.
Often we can simply be physically tired. There are many causes behind a lack of physical energy such as poor lifestyle choices: lack of sleep, unhealthy eating, neglecting to exercise, over-exercise, or drug/alcohol abuse. Chronic illness may also be the cause, such as depression, diabetes, obesity, or heart disease. Changing your habits, or getting treated for your illnesses should help restore your energy.
But there are other forms of fatigue you may not be aware of, that could add to your exhaustion.
Social fatigue is when you feel emotionally overextended and exhausted by social situations. It’s referred to as a ‘people hangover’ and not only introverts, but extroverts who thrive in company can also suffer from this. While socialising can be a positive and enjoyable experience, too much, and with too many expectations, can be taxing. This isn’t limited to in-person socializing; hours on social media and texting can also cause social fatigue.
Emotional fatigue is a state of feeling emotionally worn-out and drained as a result of too much stress in your personal or work life, or both. People experiencing emotional exhaustion often feel like they have no power or control over what happens in life. They may feel “stuck” or “trapped” and overwhelmed by everything. This can be a sign of burn out and requires urgent attention.
Compassion fatigue is the physical and emotional exhaustion from being exposed to the trauma and pain of others. It’s the stress you feel when you are helping others or want to help those in need. It’s often referred to as “the cost of caring”. It may lead to you feeling detached or numb to others, feeling hopeless or powerless, irritable, angry, sad, and no longer able to enjoy activities.
Think about all the changes you’ve had to absorb in your daily life over the past two years.
In so-called “normal times”, most of us can deal with some change, even if those changes are disruptive or disastrous. That’s because we have a certain amount of physical and mental capacity or reserves to draw on for survival in stressful situations. Because the pandemic is ongoing and impacts every part of our work and home lives, we haven’t been able to replenish our reserves to deal with stress, and therefore any change, whether big or small, can be difficult to cope with.
Although the internet has allowed us to access a world of knowledge, the “data smog” that bombards us every day from all sources may be making us ill by interfering with our sleep, concentration, and immune systems. There is too much information to read, let alone absorb, remember, understand, and apply which causes stress, tension, lack of concentration and mistakes.
If you have sore, strained eyes, more headaches than usual, and you’re suffering from poor posture or increased neck and shoulder pain, you’re probably suffering from technology or digital fatigue. Sleep deprivation is a key factor in digital fatigue, since an excess of screen time (and a lack of much else) can suppress the ‘sleep’ hormone melatonin, disrupting our circadian rhythms (or sleep patterns), and reducing REM sleep. Much of it is to do with the blue (or high energy visible) light emitted by screens, from phone to laptop to television which affects our melatonin supply.
Knowing what is causing your fatigue is the first step. The next step is reaching out for help. LifeAssist is here to help you identify and support you in making positive changes to help you get back on track.
Written by LifeAssist