Loss of energy
Lack of motivation
Feeling burnt out, with a loss of satisfaction
Ohmigod, I think I’m having a midlife crisis.
Oh, wait a minute. I’ve just been through one of the most mind-blowing years. Maybe it’s quarantine fatigue.
Which is it?
A walk along the river told me all I needed to know
I walk every morning. It’s what I do.
I’ve done it almost every day since the stay-in-place order went into effect. I did it long before that too.
My days look pretty much the same. Rise. Meditate. Journal. Stretch. Write.
Three hours later, I go for a walk.
A few weeks ago, the feeling of living through groundhog’s day was getting worse. Rinse. Repeat. More of the same.
I listened to my friends chatter about the day’s news. A few steps in, I stopped.
“Are any of you feeling this sense of …” I couldn’t even finish the sentence. There were so many words I could insert.
They all laughed. I received an overwhelming YES!
According to experts, quarantine fatigue symptoms include:
- Physical fatigue
- Disturbed sleep, insomnia, or oversleeping
- Sense of apathy, lethargy
- Lack of motivation
- Feelings of intense loneliness or disconnection
- Feeling hopeless
Who hasn’t experienced at least some of that over the past twelve months?
Yet part of me was experiencing even more than that. I have this sense of wanting more in my life.
Turns out a midlife crisis symptoms are very much like quarantine fatigue:
- Change in eating habits
- Change in sleeping habits
- Feelings of pessimism
- Lack of motivation
- Aches and pains that don’t respond to normal treatment
Sounds familiar, right?
Yes, the two are closely related. At times I convinced myself it was a midlife crisis. Then a few days later, I’d read something on quarantine fatigue. Yep, that describes what I’m feeling perfectly. So which is it?
After doing a little research, I discovered there are a few distinct differences.
Maybe it could be both. Now what?
A midlife crisis is about identity. It occurs somewhere between 45 and 65 ish, and highlights a change in age and coming to terms with your own mortality. Throw in a bit of realization that you can’t complete all the things you set out to do earlier in life, and you can feel overwhelmed by the sensation of wanting to return to a younger time, possibly make different choices and decisions.
Now couple that with spending a year in isolation, when every day feels like you’re doing the same things, over and over again. You get stressed out from watching the news. You can’t connect with family and friends the way you used to. And even when you do, you might wish you hadn’t. Has the entire world gone crazy?
Maybe there needs to be a new word assigned to those of us living right here in midlife. Something like a “midlife-demic” or a “quaran-midlife” or … I don’t know. I’m not being very creative here, am I? 🙂
Explosive to passive
In 2020, I found myself starting each day with a similar phrase:
Can you believe …
Every day brought out explosive news that was difficult to take in. It was so unbelievable, that at times, I found myself scratching my head, wondering if I was in a nightmare, or living in the twilight zone.
But then came 2021, and it’s been one-track news ever since.
I dare you to open any news channel right now. Very little of it changes from day to day. They only dive deeper into the already known information.
They pound it into you. They say it in a million different ways.
Over and over and over and over and over and over and over
I haven’t watched the news in a very long time. But now, I’ve turned it all off. I’ve even disconnected to feeds and sites that I once enjoyed, but play into the rhetoric of what you hear in the news. I’ve tuned every last bit of it out.
Trust me, the most crucial stuff finds its way to you anyway. And there’s not a lot you really need to know, the stuff that will truly change your life.
Right now, I’m doing my best living in the present. And if you read anything about a midlife crisis, (or quarantine fatigue, for that matter), it’s important to put yourself as a priority. That’s where my focus goes to these days.
When it comes to dealing with all of those feelings, and finding a way to take a step forward, it’s all about self care. It requires:
Eat healthily – moving to a plant-based diet has all kinds of benefits, including making you stronger against disease.
Making dates with the most important people – your family and friends, the people you genuinely want to hang around.
Find your inner peace – meditate, read, yoga, walk.
Develop a strong mind – take classes, learn something new, read.
Stop watching the news – it’s worth repeating. Stop it. Don’t watch anything. It won’t help.
Simplify your home – keep only the things most important to you. I’ve recently moved; it’s a great way to re-energize your space. But you don’t have to move. Just pick a room (or a closet) and change it up.
Give yourself gifts – I buy myself a bouquet every week.
Get creative – buy yourself paints or markers, visit the craft store and try something new.
Get out in the garden – dig in the dirt.
Guess what? All of this is also good for starting a midlife transition. Anytime you explore something new, you run the possibility of discovering something new about yourself.
For me, May is one of my favorite months of the year. It’s a time of transition, rebirth, and having nature burst into life.
I use that as part of my journaling each morning.
This month, I’m focusing in on questions like:
I love …
I’ve always wanted to …
I’m going to …
I said no to …
I said yes to …
Track it. Track every last piece of this transition. Journal it. Write down your thoughts and feelings. And above all, your actions.
Because actions turn into direction.
And you just might start on a journey that leads you to someplace fabulous.
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