When we feel extreme fatigue most of us focus on sleep problems. But proper relaxation takes many forms. I spent a week exploring what really works
“Are you the most tired you can ever remember being?” asks a friend. Well, yes. I have it easy – my caring responsibilities are limited and my work is physically undemanding and very low stakes – but I am wrecked. The brain fog, tearful confusion and deep lethargy I feel seems near universal. A viral tweet from February asked: “Just to confirm … everyone feels tired ALL the time no matter how much sleep they get or caffeine they consume?” The 71,000-plus retweets seemed to confirm it’s the case.
But when we say we are exhausted, or Google “Why am I tired all the time?” (searches were reportedly at an all-time high between July and September this year), what do we mean? Yes, pandemic living is, objectively, exhausting. Existing on high alert is physically and mentally depleting; our sleep has suffered and many of us have lost a sense of basic safety, affecting our capacity to relax. But the circumstances and stresses we face are individual, which means the remedy is probably also individual.