A few months ago, Victorians were excitedly preparing themselves to return back into the office. Now, weeks of back and forth have left us with a bit of whip lash.
When the lockdown was at its peak, the terms “quarantine fatigue” and “pandemic fatigue” started making the rounds. Between the overstimulation of constant pandemic news and the complete lack of stimulation from being stuck inside, we were all suffering from a serious case of the blahs.
By late 2020, quarantine fatigue was replaced by its equally depleting counterpart, “social fatigue” aka the Social Hangover. For those introverts among us (myself included) a social hangover is a familiar feeling. But as we re-entered society after months of isolation, even the most extroverted among us were feeling grouchy and exhausted after a simple coffee catch-up.
Now, as we step into 2021 with a sense of (very cautious) optimism, the constant need to battle and endure changes to our everyday lives has presented us with our newest challenge: change fatigue.
The rejigging of our daily routines has been exhausting – trying to remember exactly how long it takes you to get the office when it’s not just the next room over, putting together an outfit that doesn’t involve Ugg boots, active wear or a top knot, and rushing to buy yet another Myki because of course yours has gone missing since last March.
Then of course, there’s actually working with colleagues again and remembering how to ‘people’. There’s pressure to always appear busy and to be on your A-game all day long.
And the path ahead is still uncertain – just last week, many of us returned to our home offices once again. So, if you’re finding yourself becoming disengaged and unproductive at work as we recalibrate and readjust throughout the year, here’s a couple of tips to help you keep your head above water:
Don’t forget your self-care. During lockdown, many of us explored new interests (#sourdough) or discovered the silver lining benefits of laying low. Despite the fact that we’re starting to trickle back into the office and resume the daily grind, it’s still important to prioritise self-care and to continue to do the things that put you in a good headspace. Although you might now find yourself with less time on your hands for me-time, don’t abandon these good habits. Lockdown certainly put things into perspective when it comes to embracing the simple pleasures, so keep at it with that morning walk before heading into work.
Remember that reconnecting can be refreshing. Although some of us have embraced the perks of working from home (and perhaps are even hoping that it might finally become a permanent option), at the same time, we may also have been taking ordinary, everyday interactions for granted. We’ve been deprived of simple things like bantering over computer screens, catching up with our favourite baristas, or the ability to just ask a quick question without picking up a phone. Remember to use these small, once familiar interactions as a way to bring back your old routine – go to your favourite coffee shop, gather around the water cooler or organise Friday afternoon drinks.
In her recent opinion piece for the Age, Marnie Vinall said it well: “I am overjoyed to be out of lockdown and see my city breathe life again but it’s not without a sigh of exhaustion as we all return to the chaos of public life once more.”
I couldn’t agree more.