How can I be so tired? Japke D. Bouma, columnist of NRC Handelsblad, wondered about this in recent weeks.
She wrote there a column about: ‘The corona crisis exhausts our brain’, in which she says that she dreams weirdly, is forgetful, has a loss of concentration. And then there is that fatigue. That annoying fatigue. “I wake up exhausted in the morning.”
A bit ambushed
The columnist received many reactions to the play. “It just caught me a bit, so much acclaim and recognition,” she said via Twitter.
We placed one call on the Facebook page of RTL Nieuws to find out whether more people recognized themselves (or perhaps not at all). A number of people say they do not suffer from anything, many do experience that fatigue.
Demolished, musty, lifeless
“I feel demolished because of sitting at home and the enormous stress and worry caused by the corona measures,” says Nicole. “Mentally it is exhausting because you hear nothing but ‘corona'”, says Xaviera.
Richard says he’s tired because he’s been inside all day. Inge says she is ‘lifeless’ because she is out of her rhythm. And Petra writes that this time makes her confused and listless.
“It may indeed be that the past few months have exhausted us,” says Erik Scherder, professor of neuropsychology. “Our brain has had a lot to process emotionally.”
Think of stress about working from home, getting used to a new situation, fear of the corona virus, panic about an economic or health crisis. “That can exhaust our stress system,” explains Scherder.
This makes us tired and we function less well. Normally, a person uses about three areas of the brain to perform a normal task, such as meeting or writing something down.
But those who have stress for longer may use six brain areas, or even ten, for those tasks, according to Scherder. “That takes more energy.”
Indeed, we can become overtired by worry and crowds. But according to the professor, it is a big misconception that stress or busyness always leads to fatigue.
“People think very quickly: I have to be careful, I can’t open an email after 10 hours, I don’t have to plan every night full. But I think: as long as you feel that you have your day under control, there is nothing as long as it doesn’t run over your shoes. “
When that is, you will notice. You become forgetful, have trouble sleeping or often wake up early, have a short fuse, an increased heart rate and tense muscles.
Moreover, we also get dull of inactive days when we do little and spend a lot of time indoors. Exactly what applied to many people during the corona era. For example, Ouiam writes: “I am exhausted. I don’t work more than usual and don’t do much at home. And yet I am exhausted.” Chantal says that “every day is the same and minor annoyances become major annoyances.”
Scherder: “Many people wonder how it can be that they are tired after a day of doing nothing. That takes place in the brain. If you are active and stay active, your metabolism starts up, your circulation goes faster and with that also your energy production. “
Is there anything to do about it?
Check for yourself, says Scherder: if you start exercising after a tiring day, you often come home fresher. Chantal noticed that too. “I lost my sports routine because of Corona, which is very important for me to stay mentally healthy.”
So, the solution to this kind of home sitting fatigue is still: move, move, move. “Walking, cycling, jogging, everything within your own borders is good. We are now a lot less active than before, just think of that bicycle trip or train trip that you do not take to work. That is why we have to engage ourselves in activities more often to turn on.”
However, there is also a positive side. You don’t have to be tired of the corona crisis, says Scherder. “Some people experience more peace because of it, in their head, because they need less.”
For example, Dulcy writes that working from home is great. “No trouble falling asleep or getting out of bed. In fact, I find it less complicated.” And Ronny thinks it is “a bit of nonsense”. “I do my activities differently, the only thing that has changed is that I make it cozy at home instead of in a bar.”