Quarantine fatigue: what is it and how does it affect you?

Jordyn Bew, Entertainment Editor

If you’ve been sad, anxious, or lonely; if you’ve had a hard time getting motivated; or if you feel more exhausted during a pandemic, you’re not alone. COVID fatigue is real and is affecting mental health.  

The COVID-19 crisis has taken a psychological toll on people of all ages, but teenagers are one group that is particularly affected. School closures and forced social distancing have cut off many teenagers from major psychological support methods, placing them at greater risk of developing depression and anxiety.

Adolescents are affected differently than adults by the high degree of uncertainty. Physical distance and the inability for children and teenagers to spend time with friends have a negative effect on their social growth, causing emotional issues.

Many teens and young adults have had to mourn the loss/postponement of important graduation ceremonies, proms and dances, and other milestone events they were looking forward to. Not to mention those who’ve had to deal with the loss of a family member during or because of COVID-19. Although returning to school for some has reunited friends and classmates, students are also concerned about their safety at school.

When senior A’jaylah Toran was asked how quarantine and the pandemic were affecting her she said, “ My lack of motivation is something that I really noticed. I procrastinate doing anything, whether it’s an assignment or cleaning my room. Not being able to do things with my friends has also is one of the worst things,” 

Economic instability has also been caused by the pandemic. If a parent or guardian has lost a job or wages, the entire household is often affected and adolescents are left wondering if the family can make ends meet.

As the country faces civil unrest and an growing political divide, many teenagers are becoming more passionate and involved in these movements triggering disagreements with friends, parents and other family members. Even disagreements at the dinner table can cause an immense amount of stress and pressure for adolescents.

Joliet West High School Nurse, Susan Hurley shared, “I’ve noticed that several students have been experiencing “quarantine fatigue”.  Because people are stuck at home, their normal routine is gone.  This leaves them feeling isolated, sleepy, anxious or irritable.” Quarantine fatigue can also be linked to an overall lack of motivation.  “Right now, it’s important to remember that those feelings are valid.  However, there are some ways to work through this fatigue.  Connect with friends and family, get outside for some fresh air, exercise and get enough sleep,” Hurley continued.

Not surprisingly, as stress levels increase, medical research indicates that, according to UChicago Medicine, teenagers are at risk for a number of issues, well into adulthood, from depression and anxiety to poor physical health.

It is the opposite of fun or pleasant to be a teenager during quarantine, and I feel many would agree that the motivation is at an all-time low. But if you can try to use this remaining time to change yourself or do one thing that you’ve been putting off, I’d say that’s a well-spent quarantine. Get ahead and focus on being better than you’ve ever imagined you would be.