By Michelle Udayamurthy, M.D.

As we reach the nine-week mark of social distancing and various stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, some of my patients report feeling physically and emotionally drained from being isolated, something behavioral specialists are labeling “quarantine fatigue.”

Even though the majority of us recognize the importance of staying home and following governmental  social distancing guidelines, we are all longing to return to our pre-pandemic lives.

You could say that many of us have “hit the wall.” And while much of the country is slowly reopening, we are nowhere near a “normal” routine. In fact, many experts say we may not return to a way of life we had before for quite a while.

We Miss Human Connection

We miss contact with other people. While a few weeks of separation may have felt tolerable, and  possibly welcomed, most of us have come to need more human connection.  When this started, we went into crisis mode, developing a sense of urgency to comply with the new rules of social order. However, this state of mind can be hard to sustain – hence, quarantine fatigue.

Tips for Dealing with ‘Quarantine Fatigue’

We experience quarantine fatigue differently, but one thing’s for sure: having healthy ways to cope is critical for our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Here are suggested tips for dealing with quarantine fatigue:

  1. Patience, understanding, and acceptance are key to managing quarantine fatigue. Try to think of your day in 24-hour increments, which allows you to take things one day at a time, look for ways to create newness in your day, or find ways to experience even a small sense of accomplishment.
  2. Be kind to yourself and recognize that you are not alone.
  3. If feeling overwhelmed or experiencing severe mood swings, consider making a Video Visit with your doctor to discuss your feelings and get advice (sometimes just talking about the way you feel can help a lot).
  4. Remember: Even as restrictions are rolled back, fight the urge to loosen safety measures that are in place to protect us all.

Dr. Michelle Udayamurthy is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold. She cares for her patients at the Berthelsen Main Campus. She views the doctor-patient relationship as essential to good healthcare. Her clinical interest is preventive medicine.