It’s not even your lunch break and you’re already reaching for your third cup of coffee. Fatigue wears on you every day as you count down the hours until sleep. Except, when the time arrives you find yourself delaying sleep- scrolling social media, watching the same tv show you’ve seen three times already, or up doing mindless tasks. Finally, exhausted, you collapse into bed to get what hours of sleep you can before doing it all again the next day.
On the other hand, maybe you get 9 or 10 hours of sleep a night but still can’t seem to focus on your work, are falling asleep at the wheel, or feel like you’re dragging yourself through every hour.
Fatigue has become such a widespread problem, experts estimate that about $136 billion a year is lost due to fatigue, sleep problems, and burnout (source). In fact, 3 out of 5 Americans say they feel more tired now than ever (source).
This problem obviously runs deeper than the individual, but there are still steps you can take to truly wake up and experience life without the shroud of fatigue around you.
But first, it’s good to pinpoint why exactly you might be exhausted. Remember, it is more than likely to be a result of more than one factor, and not all can be easily removed from your life.
Top Reasons for Burnout, Fatigue, and Exhaustion:
Burnout in the workplace has skyrocketed since the pandemic began, resulting in the massive “resignation wave” in 2020 and continued high rates of resignation, unemployment, and low productivity. Scientifically, burnout is a real thing and a massive mental health issue. In 2021, 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress (source).
You might be struggling with workplace burnout if you are experiencing (source):
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- reduced professional efficacy
Pandemic fatigue and Covid burnout
We are in year 3 of the pandemic and it might seem like we should all be over it by now. Research shows that’s not true. While overall covid-19 anxiety may have gone down, the collective trauma, exhaustion, and economic depression we experienced still exist and are still affecting our mental health. For many people, the terror of the first year of Covid has dulled into persistent fatigue and burnout.
Why are our minds still struggling to cope with the fact of the pandemic, years after its initial onslaught?
- Prolonged stress leads to continued fatigue. The reality is many of us aren’t dealing with the stress of living in a pandemic but have simply gotten used to it.
- We are unable to point to one specific cause. If you had a major car accident and are dealing with the medical bills, it can be easy to point to that one event and say “Yes, this is the source of my stress.” Now, however, many people are coping with phantom stress that seems to come out of nowhere and leave them exhausted. We are plagued with feeling like we “should” be better. We ‘should’ be over it by now. We ‘should’ have energy because, really, things aren’t that bad for us. These are lies- you can’t force healing.
- We haven’t had a chance to process what has happened yet and honestly, we still don’t know how to plan for the future. Everything is still up in the air, leaving us with a sense of fight or flight three years later.
Chronic mental health issues
For people who struggle with chronic ADHD, anxiety, depression, OCD, or any other mental health disorder, the risk for fatigue is much higher. Especially when these disorders are less severe and therefore may go undiagnosed for years, fatigue can grow stronger with every passing week.
Other, more nuanced reasons for fatigue and burnout are:
- Low-income living
- Dealing with constant, toxic relationships
- Feeling isolated
If you are feeling burnout, tired, or fatigued, help is out there. You don’t have to walk through life clouded with sleepiness. For more information about Rivia Health’s therapy for fatigue and burnout, call (212)-203-1773, or scroll our list of specialists to find a therapist that matches you today.