Exhaustion and Grief – Coronavirus: Exhaustion, Lockdown

© Copyright 2019 Grief Probate Journey Blog *PLEASE NOTE THIS INFORMATION IS SOURCED FROM UK and AMERICAN WEBSITES* It is also based on our own experience. *We are not experts in this field, we are speaking purely on our own experience with information sought from the internet to give further examples. *

Please see: Exhaustion and Grief – Coronavirus: Exhaustion, Lockdown which covers:

  1. Introduction/Our Story
  2. Exhaustion and Grief
  3. Illustrative examples: Exhaustion and Grief
  4. Poor sleep pattern and Grief
  5. Illustrative examples: Grief and Sleep
  6. Illustrative examples: Grief and Effects on the body
  7. Exhaustion
  8. Sleep and tiredness
  9. Coronavirus and Exhaustion
  10. Illustrative examples: Coronavirus and Exhaustion
  11. Sleep guidelines and Coronavirus Pandemic
  12. Illustrative example: Coronavirus Sleep Guidelines
  13. Illustrative example: lockdown and exhaustion
  14. Compassion Fatigue
  15. Illustrative examples: Compassion Fatigue
  16. Useful links
  17. Our final thoughts

1. Introduction/Our Story

As I woke up most mornings once again feeling exhausted, I wonder when I will have a night’s sleep where it feels as though I have slept. No matter how many hours, or what time I go to sleep, I wake up feeling exhausted. I am not having a restful night sleep.

I cannot remember the last time this happened. For my sister and I throughout the years since our Dad was hospitalised, to this very day, our sleep has been interrupted in intermittent periods.

In honesty, at this moment in time, we feel this is a combination of dealing with the loss of our Dad and the current Coronavirus pandemic. It’s like we are experiencing combined jumbled emotions.

I think it’s also worrying about our Mum, as well as triggers of thoughts of our Dad. An example being the nasturtium regrowing in our Garden. The joy this sight brings me each day is indescribable, but it is also bittersweet as it is a reminder that our Dad is not here, and that is never going to change. There is no undo button. This makes us very sad, but at the same time, I value and appreciate the way seeing these flowers instanatly changes my mood. I instantly smile and feel so happy internally. That is also why I cannot resist but to share these pictures on my social media sights. I’m sharing our joy.

This reminds me of whenever we would go to our Dad’s house, the first thing we would always want to do is go straight to the garden and check on the flowers and see how well they were doing. I became to realise that the garden became part of our therapy. If we had a bad day, or had any worries or fears, in those moments of being in our Dads garden, tending to the flowers, all those worries, fears would disappear. We would almost feel at peace, we would try and hold on to that feeling for as long as we possibly could so that we could face whatever might come next in a more relaxed and positive mindset.

Just yesterday (Sunday 10th May 2020) I opened the front door to recieve a delivery, and was greeted by a beautiful sight. Please see it below:

The reason why we have mentioned this, is because flowers, gardening, nature is one example of things that can uplift spirits and moods. During these trying times, we need to try our best to find ways that makes us feel good internally, things that can bring a feeling of calmness and relaxation. These type of things can hopefully contribute to feeling less exhausted and getting a better night sleep.

My sister and I also imagine there are many people worldwide that are experiencing interrupted sleep since this pandemic started. Like us, it could be something that they have suffered from previously, (as we all experience bad night’s sleep from time to time) but this coronavirus is magnifying situations. Which of course is understandable due to the circumstances, a few examples of the impact of the pandemic are listed below:

  • The world is on lockdown
  • The”normality” once known feels like it no longer exists
  • People are sadly losing their lives to Coronavirus, and other causes
  • Social Distancing laws means seperation from family and friends
  • A new type of grief due to the Social distancing laws
  • Large social events such as: Weddings, Birthday parties, Christenings cannot take place at the moment
  • Uncertainty of the future
  • Unclear guidance/instructions/information on the lockdown. (This could possibly make people feel frustrated, uneasy, irritated and those feelings would affect your mood, and inturn then affect your sleep).

As mentioned, the above are just a few of the matters that could contribute to exhaustion, interrupted sleep. We are aware there are many more factors. We hope sharing this topic will be helpful and of use to someone.

Please see Exhaustion and Grief- Coronavirus: Exhaustion, Lockdown:

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2. Exhaustion and Grief

2.1 Is fatigue a symptom of grief?

Grief and Exhaustion

“One of the most common early symptoms of grief is extreme tiredness that makes even routine tasks difficult. … “My body felt fragile and very tired.” (10 Mar 2015).

2.2 Grief Fatigue – When Exhaustion Becomes a Way of Life |The Grief Toolbox

“Fatigue has taken over our lives,” Carla shared. Grief takes incredible energy. Losing a loved one is like being hit by a bus. It immobilizes us”.

2.3 How does grief affect the brain?

Grief throws them out of balance.” Grief affects our limbic system, which is the system of nerves and networks in the brain, as well as the pre-frontal cortex, Burnette explains. This can throw off how we regulate our emotions, our concentration levels, our ability to multi-task and our memory function”. (6 Dec 2018).

2.4 Dealing With Physical Grief Symptoms What’s Your Grief

“Physical Symptoms of Grief. Fatigue: You feel exhausted all the time. You feel run down. You are always ready for a nap”.

2.5 The Physical Symptoms of Grief |ObitTree ™

“Grief can be a devastating experience for our physical and mental life. This article will show you the symptoms that can cause and how to cope with them”.

2.6 6 Ways Grief Can Make You Wonder If You’ll Ever Be OK

We all know that it is normal to feel sad for a while when we lose a loved one, but grief is often much bigger than just sadness, making it hard to feel like yourself”.

2.7 Burn-Out in Bereavement – Psychology Today UK

“Even if you’re not working too hard while in mourning, bereavement can cause the same symptoms as burn-out”.

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3. Illustrative examples Exhaustion and Grief

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4. Poor sleep pattern and Grief

4.1 Not-So-Goodnight? Why Grief is Leaving You Sleep-Deprived | HuffPost Life

“In other words, grief causes sleep problems, and those sleep problems in turn exacerbate the grief. Of course, we already know that a lack of sleep can also contribute to other problems, like weight gain, depression, a compromised immune system and accidents to name a few”.7 May 2017.

4.2 Grief and Sleep: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

“It’s common for people to experience a change in their sleeping pattern in the days, weeks and months following the loss of a loved one”.

4.3 Does grief affect sleep?

“Sleep disruption is common when you’re experiencing grief. … Your grief isn’t just in your head; it’s in your body, in your muscles and in your ability to keep going every day. Grief manifests itself in all of us differently, but most people suffering from grief experience disruption of their sleep habits”. (7 May 2017).

4.4 How do you sleep after losing a loved one?

Relearning How to Sleep After Loss

  1. “Get Moving. Exercise could be a great way to naturally induce sleep and body relaxation”.
  2. “Reorganize Your Bedroom. If the loss of a co-sleeper is the cause of grief, moving the bed or purchasing new bedding could alleviate some of the symptoms”.
  3. “Connect with Support Groups”.

4.5 Sleepiness and Grief: 10 Remedies to help you sleep

“Grief can cause disruptions to normal sleep patterns, resulting in being unable to sleep. Tiredness from lack of sleep adds to the stress and hardship of coping with bereavement. Plus, it can lead to health problems in the long run”. (22 Aug 2016).

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5. Illustrative examples: Sleep and Grief

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6. Illustrative examples: Grief and Effects on the body

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7. Exhaustion

7.1 Extreme Fatigue and Exhaustion: 10 possible causes

“With fatigue, you have unexplained, persistent, and relapsing exhaustion. It’s similar to how you feel when you have the flu or have missed a lot of sleep. If you have chronic fatigue, or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), you may wake in the morning feeling as though you’ve not slept”.

7.2 What are the symptoms of exhaustion?

Fatigue can cause a vast range of other physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • “Chronic tiredness or sleepiness”.
  • “Headache”.
  • “Dizziness”.
  • “Sore or aching muscles”.
  • “Muscle weakness”.
  • “Slowed reflexes and responses”.
  • “Impaired decision-making and judgement”.
  • “Moodiness, such as irritability”.

7.3 What happens when your body is exhausted?

“If you happen to feel incredibly exhausted all the time and experience other symptoms, like a sore throat, aching limbs, dizziness and muscle pain, it’s possible that you may have myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome”. (27 Jun 2018).

7.4 Mental Exhaustion: Definition, Causes, Symptoms

“Mental exhaustion causes physical as well as emotional symptoms. It can also impact your behavior, which others may notice even before you do. Symptoms of mental exhaustion can vary from person to person and often begin to show gradually, creeping up on you during periods of extreme stress”.

7.5 How do you overcome exhaustion? 11 ways to fight fatigue

  1. “If you have persistent fatigue, see your doctor”. …
  2. “Stop blaming fatigue exclusively on sleep”. …
  3. “Change the way you think about fatigue”. …
  4. “Gradually increase your level of physical activity”.
  5. “Watch what you eat”. …
  6. “Reduce caffeine”. …
  7. “Stay hydrated—dehydration causes fatigue”.
  8. “Manage your stress”. (More items…) (21 Jan 2015)

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8. Sleep and Tiredness

8.1 Sleep and Tiredness – NHS

“Find out why feeling exhausted and “tired all the time” is extremely common. … But tiredness or exhaustion that goes on for a long time is not normal”.

8.2 What Vitamin Are you lacking if you are tired all the time?

“Being tired all the time can also be a sign of vitamin deficiency. This could include low levels of vitamin D, vitamin B-12, iron, magnesium, or potassium. A routine blood test can help identify a deficiency. Your doctor may recommend taking supplements”. (26 Jun 2019).

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9. Coronavirus and Exhaustion

9.1 Coronavirus: Why do people seem to feel groggy and tired during lockdown?

“Why do people seem to feel groggy and tired during lockdown”.

9.2 The reason why everyone is so tired during the Coronavirus Pandemic – Mirror Online

“Have you wondered why you’re feeling so tired during the coronavirus pandemic and can’t put your finger on why?”

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10. Illustrative examples Coronavirus and Exhaustion

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11. Sleep guidelines and Coronavirus Pandemic

11.1 Getting good sleep during the COVID-19 Pandemic

“Sleep is as important as a healthy diet and exercise. Inadequate sleep can induce and/or make our feelings of anxiety and stress seem worse”.

11.2 Coronavirus: How to get sleep during lockdown – BBC News

“If your usual sleep patterns have gone off-course during lockdown, you are far from alone”.

11.3 Sleep Guidelines and Help During the Covid-19 Pandemic

“Is the coronavirus situation keeping you up at night? Learn why sleep is important and get specific tips for improving your sleep during the pandemic”.

11.4 Why Can’t You Sleep During Quarantine? How Coronavirus Anxiety is leading to Insomnia

“With anxiety at an all-time high due to coronavirus, many are finding they can’t sleep during quarantine”.

11.5 Sleep Guidelines and Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic |National Sleep Foundation

“Is the coronavirus situation keeping you up at night? Learn why … It can be difficult to adjust to a new daily schedule or lack of a schedule”.

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12. Illustrative example: Coronavirus Sleep Guidelines

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13. Illustrative example: lockdown and exhaustion

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14. Compassion Fatigue

My sister and I were not previously aware of this term. We came across it by chance when doing research for this topic. As trying to spread awareness is part of our aim, we wanted to share this in case there might be others, like my sister and I that also were not aware of this terminology, but might be experiencing some of the symptoms.

14.1 Who experiences compassion fatigue?

Compassion Fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper.”

My sister and I feel this is something that the following would be dealing with:

  • Medical staff
  • Health and Social care roles,
  • Counselling and therapy roles
  • Other Key workers in these type of roles

4.2 What does compassion fatigue feel like?

“Compassion Fatigue has been described as the “cost of caring” for others in emotional and physical pain. (Figley, 1982) It is characterized by deep physical and emotional exhaustion and a pronounced change in the helper’s ability to feel empathy for their patients, their loved ones and their co-workers”.

14.3 What are the symptoms of compassion fatigue?

Common symptoms of compassion fatigue include:

  • “Chronic physical and emotional exhaustion. Find a Therapist. Advanced Search”.
  • “Depersonalization”.
  • “Feelings of inequity toward the therapeutic or caregiver relationship”.
  • “Irritability”.
  • “Feelings of self-contempt”.
  • “Difficulty sleeping”.
  • “Weight loss”.
  • “Headaches”. (More items…) (10 Feb 2020)

14.4 How do you deal with compassion fatigue? 8 Tips for Caregivers

How to cope with compassion fatigue: 8 ways to improve caregiver health

  1. “Be aware of changes in your level of compassion fatigue”.
  2. “Make self-care a priority”.
  3. “Spend time with friends”.
  4. “Join caregiver support groups”.
  5. “Write in a journal”.
  6. “Use positive ways to cope with stress”.
  7. “Spend time on hobbies”. (More items…)

14.5 What is the difference between burnout and compassion fatigue?

“Burnout Vs Compassion Fatigue. Compassion fatigue has similar symptoms to burnout. Compassion fatigue is a preoccupation with absorbing trauma and emotional stresses of others, and this creates a secondary traumatic stress in the helper. … Burnout is about being ‘worn out’ and can affect any profession”.

14.6 What are the warning signs of compassion fatigue?

Common symptoms of compassion fatigue include:

  • “Chronic physical and emotional exhaustion. Find a Therapist. Advanced Search”.
  • “Depersonalization”.
  • “Feelings of inequity toward the therapeutic or caregiver relationship”.
  • “Irritability”.
  • “Feelings of self-contempt”.
  • “Difficulty sleeping”.
  • “Weight loss”.
  • “Headaches”. (More items…) (10 Feb 2020)

14.7 Is compassion fatigue a mental illness? Preventing compassion fatigue when caring for your partner

“Compassion fatigue is a condition that traditionally was experienced by professionals in the healthcare field. … For families coping with mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety, a caregiver who is often thinking of the best ways to support their partner can sometimes neglect their own self-care”. (24 Jul 2019).

14.8 How do you stop compassion fatigue?

Here are 11 ways to prevent compassion fatigue from happening to you:

  1. “Get Educated”. …
  2. “Practice Self-Care”. …
  3. “Set Emotional Boundaries”. …
  4. “Engage in Outside Hobbies”. …
  5. “Cultivate Healthy Friendships Outside of Work”. …
  6. “Keep a Journal”. …
  7. “Boost Your Resiliency”. …
  8. “Use Positive Coping Strategies”. (More items…) (9 Feb 2016)

14.9 Why is compassion fatigue dangerous?

“Increased medical risk: Compassion fatigue can lead to an increase in medical errors due to a lack of communication or inability to react. Nurses suffering fatigue can become unsympathetic, self-centered, and preoccupied, to the detriment of a patient’s care”. (7 Dec 2017).

14.10 How can nurses cope with compassion fatigue?

“Take care of your personal needs and body”.

“Proactively performing self-care is a first-line attack against the exhaustion that stems from compassion fatigue. In addition to taking time away from work for yourself, get plenty of rest, eat a healthy diet, and exercise” (even if just for a few minutes on your break).

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15. Illustrative examples: Compassion Fatigue

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16. Useful links

16.1 Links on Disturbed sleep and Grief:

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16.2 Links on Coronavirus Pandemic and sleep:

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16.3 Links on Lockdown and Exhaustion:

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17. Our final thoughts

For the first time since starting our blog, this week and completing this topic has been a struggle. I feel busier than ever and am worrying about getting things done during the day. Fitting in completing this topic is one of them. I find it strange that although I should technically have more time on my hands, it feels like I have less time.

My sister is a key worker, so in her situation, she feels even busier because as with everyone, everything has changed, and for her just worrying that she can’t really social distance at work causes stress, anxiety etc, and there is more thought processess with things that she does so that she does not bring anything home with her. For example using her gloves and hand gel, face mask accordingly when she is at work.

I’m also wondering whether this topic has been a struggle for the amount of time we have been in lockdown. for the some of the following reasons:

  • Lack of physically socialising with people
  • Lack of contact with family
  • Lack of “normality”

At the same time, we are grateful for the blog and what it brings to us. One of our aims is to try and help others, but what we are finding is that it also helps us as well. Having the blog as something to focus on, especially during these times, we see it as a blessing. It gives us a form of sense and purpose, and also the thought that we are possibly making a difference by what we are doing is an encouraging feeling. Even more so in these challenging times.

Our thoughts and condolonces go out to the families of those who have lost their loved ones. We also wish that everyone is keeping safe and well as can be.

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