More and more people suffer from “lifestyle fatigue”. Maybe you do too.

Even though we are armed with COVID-19 vaccines and updated booster shotsthe world is still largely in a different (and often worried) place than before the pandemic.

Experts say it can lead to feelings of unease — or “lifestyle fatigue,” in the words of Sean Grover, a psychotherapist who writes for Psychology Today. Lifestyle fatigue can be summed up as “feeling stuck in a rut,” Grover wrote — and who hasn’t felt at least somewhat stuck at some point in recent years?

“As the article says, lifestyle fatigue is not a kind of clinical diagnosis,” Park Alayna L., an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, told HuffPost. “You’re not going to go to a psychologist and get a diagnosis of lifestyle fatigue.”

But she said the concept can be linked to “feeling down, feeling down [or] feeling tired,” all of which fall under broader areas of mental health research.

Such feelings are normal right now and sad days are a part of life. However, a few warning signs may indicate that you may be dealing with something bigger.

Here, experts share what lifestyle fatigue means to them and why society is suffering from it more than ever. (If you’re feeling this way, you’re definitely not alone.) Plus, they offer tips on how to feel even a little bit better.

Lifestyle-related fatigue can be linked to a symptom of depression.

The description of lifestyle-related fatigue resembles the clinical signs of anhedonia, or an inability to experience pleasure, Park said.. And while it’s a symptom of depression, anhedonia doesn’t automatically mean you’re depressed, she pointed out.

“There can be many causes for anhedonia or lifestyle-related fatigue,” Park said. One engages in very few pleasurable or productive activities. This contributes to a feeling of boredom, sadness or fatigue.

“We certainly had a very prolonged period of this during the COVID pandemic,” she said, adding that this is due to (very necessary!) restrictions which meant that we could not participate in many activities. and social interactions.

“Even though we’re not extroverted extroverts, we still crave that social interaction. And that social interaction tends to bring us a sense of enjoyment,” Park said.

And even now that restrictions have been lifted and people are vaccinated, we still face tough decisions when considering the risks of certain activities. Our overall life may also look different: our friendships are changing and may leave less room for social interactions. Our workplaces are more tiring or demanding, causing many to feel less enjoyment of a career. All of this can be expensive.

It could also be linked to emotional exhaustion.

Society is emotionally drained because of what’s going on in the background of our lives – that is, the pandemic on top of any other stressful life events you’re going through – according to psychiatrist Dr. Elaina DellaCava at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York -Presbyterian Hospital.

In case of emotional exhaustion, “you lack energy to do things, you lack motivation [and] find that there are things you think you should do [but] I don’t want to anymore,” she said.

In other words, you’re exhausted and don’t feel like doing anything that would have seemed fairly normal in 2019, whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or grabbing a drink with a friend.

“Over time, what I’ve seen in my practice is that people say they try to force themselves to do things, but the fun isn’t there anymore in the same way that before,” DellaCava said.

After more than two years less structure than ever (like getting out of bed and logging into your computer) and more isolation from loved ones compared to pre-pandemic, any kind of structure – like plans, chores, or an in-person meeting – can feel like an unwelcome liability.

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Social media can be a joy thief and make it seem like you’re the only one struggling.

Your “fight-flight-freeze” response has probably been activated for too long, resulting in sadness.

The pandemic has activated people’s “fight-flight-freeze” response — named for possible reactions to a perceived threat — over the past two and a half years, according to Park.

“What our body does naturally when our fight-flight-freeze response [has] activated for so long that they start to experience depressive symptoms,” she said.

These will tire you out so you can sleep more and heal from that stress response, Park said, adding that the symptoms are basically telling your body, “Hey, you’ve been in this fight-flight-freeze response for two years. It’s far too long. You need to rest.”

It’s your body’s way of trying to get back to its normal state, but as the pandemic continues all around us, those fight-flight-freeze responses are still reacting to that stress. So, instead of returning to its usual state, your body might experience repeated depressive symptoms as it pushes to rest.

Although lifestyle fatigue is not depression in all cases, it can be in some cases.

It’s normal to feel sad or depressed sometimes, Park said, but if you feel tired or down for most of the day on most days for at least two weeks, that can be concerning. At that time, thereou should get in touch with a doctor or therapist, she says.

DellaCava said many people attribute these emotions to burnout – a now ubiquitous term.. But feeling depressed for long periods could be a symptom of something bigger than burnout, which is usually more work-related and stems from chronic stress.

It’s normal to feel that way.

After several new variants of COVID-19, politicized public safety protocols, and a sometimes overwhelming fear of contracting the virus or passing it on to a loved one, it’s normal to feel different than you did before the pandemic.

“If people feel that way, they’re definitely not alone,” DellaCava pointed out.

Much of this exhaustion or lifestyle fatigue may be due to the feeling that the pandemic has cost someone a piece of their identity.

People who like to travel might not feel comfortable getting on a plane now, or if they go on a trip, they might worry about getting sick while abroad and dealing with canceled plans. Likewise, someone who once thought of themselves as an extrovert might find it difficult to chat or meet new people. It’s hard to be the 2019 version of yourself in the world we live in right now. And it’s exhausting.

DellaCava added that social media makes this even more difficult. People are inundated with happy images that can be hard to watch when you’re having a hard day.

“They say comparison is the thief of joy, and I think that’s valid,” DellaCava said, but remember, “you see everyone’s best day on social media.” Others don’t post their bad times or rough nights, she added.

Certain activities can help you feel better.

Adding productive and enjoyable activities to your week can help calm feelings of fatigue related to lifestyle, Park said. But since many people feel drained due to the intertwining of their work and family lives, productive activities don’t have to revolve around your job, she added.

“Things that can be productive are things like exercising — so running further than two weeks ago — or learning a language,” Park said. Both of these can provide a sense of accomplishment if you’re feeling down.

Enjoyable activities might include visiting a friend, playing an online video game with a family member, or calling a loved one.

For those feeling unmotivated or anhedonic, DellaCava suggested focusing on self-care, which can include getting a good night’s sleep or, if you’re a parent, taking time for yourself. If you’re caring for your own elderly parents, try walking alone or using a meditation app. Self-care should consist of pleasurable activities that are just for you, she said.

That said, it can feel hard to go for a walk or visit a friend when you’re feeling this way. But once you’re engaged in something you love, you’ll probably notice that you’re happy doing it. Plus, you should be proud of yourself for mustering the motivation to try the activity.

But if you don’t notice any mood changes while participating in once-enjoyable activities, don’t hesitate to contact a doctor or therapist, DellaCava said. There’s a lot going on in the world, and it’s okay if you need someone to talk to right now or a little extra help.

The Huffington Gt

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