Ever since the lockdowns started, more and more people have experienced different levels and types of pandemic fatigue. As time goes on, more people worldwide are getting frustrated about social distancing and following stay-at-home orders. Some have reported experiencing symptoms of cabin fever, while others have expressed feeling more anxious and stressed. It’s clear that COVID-19 is no longer just a physical health crisis; it’s also a mental health one.
One way of the factors that contribute to mental health fatigue is monotony and work-related boredom. A monotonous lifestyle has always been detrimental to one’s mental health, even before the pandemic happened. Work-related boredom was a phenomenon that most people have had to contend with even before COVID-19, but at least at the time we had weekends and our social lives to look forward to. But because our current situation precludes us from spending time with our loved ones face-to-face, contending with monotony has become an even bigger challenge.
Here are some tips for breaking pandemic monotony, so that you can reclaim the zest for life you had pre-COVID.
Take breaks with your significant other, kids, and/or pets.
The beauty of remote work and homeschooling is that you now have more time to spend with your family. Instead of spending time in your office all day, make it a point to check in with your partner and/or kids every few hours. Hug them or engage them in light conversation. Ask them how their day is doing; share a laugh with them. Give your pets a nice pat and a few minutes of playing and running around. If you live alone, try to schedule video call dates with your favorite people to break the monotony of looking at your computer screen only when you need to do some work.
Change up your daily activities.
While it’s always healthy to have a routine (waking up early, meditating, doing some exercises and stretching, showering, eating breakfast, and starting your workday), it can also be incredibly boring if you’re doing the same thing all the time. If you must stick to a healthy routine, make sure that you are changing your day’s details. For example, you can choose different kinds of exercises for specific days, and you can also change your meal plans to break the monotony.
Do some home maintenance checks.
One way to break your work monotony without losing productivity is by taking care of your home. Now that you and your family are spending more time at home than ever before, you need to make sure that your house is a safe and healthy place for people to spend most of their time in. Always check your home’s indoor air quality, and do a thorough walk-around to see if any area of your home needs updating and maintenance. Check your ceiling and walls for leaks, inspect if your refrigerator needs maintenance, see if your security alarm systems are working. Squeeze in these tasks and house chores in between your work tasks.
Learn new skills or do hobbies that have nothing to do with your job.
If you find yourself being sick and tired of doing the same things for work 24/7, consider getting into activities, hobbies, or skills that have nothing to do with your line of work but is still beneficial for you. For example, learning a new language can help sharpen your mind and improve your memory. Gardening is not only good for the environment; it’s also a wonderful form of exercise. Playing an instrument can also help boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. Whatever new hobbies you decide to try, make sure to incorporate it on your workdays, even if it’s just for a few minutes in between tasks.
Don’t work on your days off.
Because teleworking can often blur the lines between our professional and personal lives, we need to be more resolute in setting boundaries, not just with others but also with ourselves. If you already know that you have a propensity for work addiction, set some boundaries by making a resolve to not work on weekends or your days off. Make a habit of finishing your work obligations on time so that your personal time will serve its purpose—for you to rest and recharge.
Adapt to Survive
Because this will be our new normal for a while, we need to find rhythms that work for us and acclimate to our current situation. If something’s not working, we need to adapt and adjust so that we can be the healthiest version of ourselves for the years to come.