This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by YOURDOST. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

What You’re Experiencing Could Be Lockdown Fatigue

More from YOURDOST

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

At the time of writing this article, we’ve been five months into the COVID-19 pandemic since it was declared by the WHO. Have you felt your stress levels rise in this period? Maybe your anxiety too? Have you been experiencing frequent emotional outbursts? Chances are you’re suffering from ‘lockdown fatigue’. It is more of a mental fatigue and exhaustion as opposed to physical fatigue, caused by the psychological aspects of the lockdown. This can be appropriately explained by the following analogy — just as a hiker, after a long and strenuous trek up a steep hill against gravity feels physically exhausted, a person constantly trekking against the various psychological stressors such as fear and loneliness may eventually end up mentally exhausted.

Why Majority Of Indians Are Stressed Due To The Pandemic

Here’s the thing, you’re not alone in feeling this way. In fact, you’re part of the majority of our country’s inhabitants who’re going through similar struggles, according to a recent study by YourDOST titled Mental Health Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Nationwide Lockdown in India.

As per this study, one-third of Indians reported experiencing high stress when the nationwide lockdown had just started. However, over the next two months, i.e. from lockdown 1.0 on 25th March, 2020, to unlock 1.0 on 7th June, 2020, over 55% of Indians reported an increase in their stress levels. The aspect of lockdown fatigue is not just limited to stress levels. India’s inhabitants have also reported a significant deterioration in feelings of anxiety, anger and loneliness.

Net impact of lockdown on emotions

What Are The Stressors?

So what exactly is the cause of this fatigue? According to the study, there are three major causes of stress:

Fall in work-life balance

59% of Indians report a fall in work-life balance during lockdown

The contributing factor towards fall in one’s work-life balance includes prolonged work-from-home hours, which often leaves many individuals feeling like they’re in an “always on” mode. Additionally, the lockdown has led to a drastic change in most people’s lifestyles and routines. Many continue to struggle to maintain a proper routine in the modest of these circumstances. Multiple studies have shown that a poor work-life balance can directly impact people’s mental health and also adversely affect the prevention and management of mental illness. This makes the trend of increasing stress level all the more worrying.

Postponement of exams

1/3rd of Indians report being affected by postponement of their exams

These mainly include college students whose colleges were shut down due to the nationwide lockdown and thus, there continues to be a lack of clarity on when and how their exams will be conducted. Exams in general are tremendously stressful. According to an earlier study conducted by YourDOST among Indian college students, 60% reported experiencing high to severe stress from exams. The pandemic added an additional element of uncertainty to this whole situation, which of course has been tremendously distressing for individuals.

Pay cut/Job loss

Pay cut/Job loss reported as a major cause of stress by 25% Indians

At YourDOST, we experienced an 87% rise in the number of sessions related to job loss in the period of March to June 2020, as opposed to the same time frame in the preceding months. Losing a job can be a very traumatic experience for many. According to a review of over 4,000 research papers, conducted by the University of East Anglia and the “What Works Centre for Well-being”, losing a job may even take longer to get over emotionally than a divorce or death of a partner. Pay cuts were another major cause of stress. This adds all the more uncertainty to an individual’s personal finances and affordability.

2 in 5 Indian employees are facing pay cuts

Impact on Lifestyle

Lockdown fatigue has significantly impacted the lifestyles of most Indians.

Net impact of stress during lockdown

Deterioration of Sleep Quality

Insomnia

Most people experienced significant deterioration in their sleep quality with a net change of upto 11%. A major reason for this is lack of exposure to sunlight. The lockdown and fear of contracting COVID-19 forced most of us to spend the majority of our time indoors. In fact, the study found that even in areas where the lockdown has been lifted, 90% of the people are unwilling to venture out. This means that their exposure to sunlight has gone down as well. Sunlight plays a major role in setting and resetting our circadian rhythm. It works as our body clock that helps us maintain our sleep schedule. Reduction in exposure to sunlight can severely disrupt this rhythm, and can lead to various sleeping disorders, including insomnia.

Another reason for the deterioration of sleep quality is stress. Chronic stress causes our minds to be in a heightened state of alertness. This delays the onset of sleep and causes rapid, anxious thoughts to occur at night. Insufficient sleep can cause further stress.

Rise in Emotional Outbursts

Parenting issues during coronavirus pandemic

Most Indians have also experienced a drastic increase in the frequency of their emotional outbursts. These outbursts occur in the form of angry outbursts or crying fits. From a psychological point of view, this too is expected. Studies have shown that it’s common to experience a failure of cognitive emotion regulation, especially when it comes to unpleasant emotions, under stress. The reason for this is that cognitive emotion regulation is controlled by our brain’s prefrontal cortex. When we’re stressed, stress-related neuroendocrine hormones tend to impair the prefrontal cortex, thus affecting cognitive emotion regulation, which consequently leads to emotional outbursts.

Let’s Fight Back

Given the onset of lockdown fatigue, it’s clear that the commonly used coping strategies have proved inadequate, thus leading to impairment in different areas of our life. There is, thus, an urgent need to adopt a holistic management strategy to ensure the Indian population’s overall mental wellness. Depending on the level of functional impairment of each individual, self-care, peer-support and professional-care interventions would be effective.

Would you like to read the full report of YourDOST’s study on Mental Health Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic & Nationwide Lockdown in India? Click here to get your copy today.

You must be to comment.

More from YOURDOST

Similar Posts

By Rahul Tiwari

By Ishita Bagchi

By Bituprative Boruah

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below