It may not be a lack of sleep making us feel tired right now

Sleeping Dog with eye mask

I had a video call with some friends over the weekend and the general consensus was that we are all feeling lethargic! For most of us, we get to wake up a little later, we don’t have a rush hour commute and we get to work from the comfort of our home, yet we’re feeling more sluggish than ever.

Why are we feeling so tired when we’re at home all day long?

• Going out less – can slow down your metabolism and make you feel sluggish. You can help overcome this by making sure you get outside for your daily exercise.

• Lack of daylight – by being inside a lot more than usual, your brain will produce less melatonin and serotonin than normal, which can lead to lower mood and altered sleep patterns. Combat this by working with as much daylight as possible and getting fresh air into your room. If daylight is not possible, buy a daylight lamp to at least ‘trick’ your brain into thinking there is daylight.

• Stress – there is so much uncertainty around us right now and anxiety takes up a lot of brain power. Worrying itself makes us tired. I recognise it might be easier said than done, but one thing you could try is saying to yourself, ‘today is going to be a great day’ before you get out of bed, you may have to add ‘somehow’ at the end but try it and see what happens. If you are working, make an effort to get your tasks out of the way as early as possible in the day, it will at least lessen your work worries. And, if you are unable to work at the moment, aim to achieve at least one positive thing each day for yourself. Exercise helps reduce stress too, it’s worth adding that into your daily routine if you can.

• Breathe deeply – as we’re moving around less in lockdown, it means we’re not breathing as deeply as we would if we were, say walking around an office to speak to colleagues on a regular basis. Reduced oxygen levels will lead to feelings of tiredness, a lack of energy and an increased number of yawns!!

• Working in your pyjamas – there’s no doubt about it, it’s a comfy and cosy feeling, but it’s not giving you that fresh awakening that a hot shower brings, nor does it make you feel particularly good about yourself. Keeping your morning routine and making an effort to make yourself feel good each day really helps. It also can help you maintain your normal circadian rhythm. Active wear with a work shirt? Now, that’s a completely different story.

• Constant news – I’m not saying stop watching the news altogether, but at the beginning of lockdown we were in a panic, counting death rates, hearing some awful news stories and generally getting pretty scared and down about it all. Perhaps press pause on hourly news intake, especially first thing in the morning. Try limit your news viewing to after you have covered off your key tasks for the day and see if that improves your mood.

• Isolation – we are all isolating right now. Make sure you keep up some level of communication with your friends, family and colleagues. As human beings we do crave interaction. You may not always feel like it, but I bet you will feel uplifted after a chat with friends or family. We are all in this together.

Keep these points in mind and let me know if you manage to start feeling a bit more upbeat as this lockdown continues. And if you have any tips of your own, other than coffee and chocolate, my sleepy head would love to hear them

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