I’m tired! Exhaustion in the midst of the pandemic
It’s May! In New Jersey we are rapidly approaching our third month of sheltering in place with some hope on the horizon as businesses begin to slowly re-open (with some restrictions). May is also Mental Health Awareness Month and I thought it fitting this month to explore one of the ways that the pandemic has impacted our mental health – exhaustion.
If you are part of the work from home squad like I am, you can probably relate to the picture above. Many of us are participating in record numbers of meetings online and our bodies are not necessarily used to that. There is a tremendous amount of strain being placed on our eyes and brains from the blue light that is emitted from our screens. While blue light exists naturally from sun rays, being overly exposed to the artificial sources of blue light can suppress the release of melatonin in our brains and cause us to have disruptions to our natural sleep cycle. These disruptions can make us more groggy during the day, cause headaches, and make us more irritable. If you can’t limit the amount of time that you need to spend in front of a screen, here are a few tips that may help decrease the effects.
- Adjust your brightness display to the warmest possible settings. This decreases the amount of blue light being emitted so that you can reduce the negative side effects.
- Take frequent breaks from the screen (this includes your mobile devices and television). Close your eyes for a few minutes or simply look away from the screen periodically to help your eyes adjust.
- Wear blue light blocking glasses (there are a ton of cute, low cost options online.)
- Avoid working in dark spaces. When the room is dark, the screen will seem so much brighter intensifying the effect of the blue light.
- If you can, take some time off doing something to help you recharge.
We don’t know how much longer we’ll be sheltering in place or working from home, but we can take care of ourselves until this storm has passed. For some other tips to help you feel better in the pandemic, check out this list of 50 tips for coping in crisis or download a copy of the eBook Give Yourself Grace: Self-Care Strategies for Coping with COVID-19.