Quarantine Fatigue: What to do if You're Going Stir-Crazy

April 29, 2020 Heidi Green, Psy.D.

I recently learned of the term "quarantine fatigue" and it helped me understand more about what I've been experiencing. Quarantine fatigue can be different for everyone but the effects are real. Read on to learn about my quartine fatigue experience and what I am doing to combat the symptoms.

Quarantine Fatigue Can Look Like Another Mental Health Condition

Many people are finding themselves with symptoms that resemble depression, anxiety, and even posttraumatic stress or acute stress. I have developed several depressive symptoms, even though I don't feel depressed. It took a while for me to realize it because I like being at home. I'm a true introvert, so I felt fully content in my house during the early stages of my self-quarantine.

Over time, I noticed a few problematic changes in myself. I realized I had zero motivation. Dishes were piling up; I wasn't taking my dogs out to walk even though the weather was lovely; I even skipped showering on a few days. I had more time than ever, yet I was doing less than ever. Because I didn't feel sad, I thought I was handling the quarantine well. But as the days went by and I spent more and more time just lying around, I realized I needed to make some changes.

The human mind wants to do what it is used to doing. That's why habits are so hard to break. It's also why it can be difficult to get out of a slump. The more I sat around doing nothing, the more my brain wanted to sit around and do nothing.

Get Out of Your Quarantine Fatigue Slump

One of my go-to's for overcoming mental health symptoms is to check in with my values. I finally asked myself what I would be doing every day if I were honoring the things I value most. I decided I wanted to commit to myself that every day I would do some sort of movement/exercise, do one project around the house (even if it's just the dishes), cook my dinner (instead of delivering in) and spend a little time working on growing my business. It's been a fantastic change for me and I'm feeling so much more motivated and productive. Even though I'm still homebound, I feel like I have purpose back in my life and that has made a positive impact on both my mental health and my self-esteem.

I know many people are having an opposite quarantine fatigue experience. Many are feeling "cabin fever" type symptoms with anxiety and restlessness. I know people are getting antsy to go back to work, meet up with friends, and spend time out in public again.

Rather than "breaking the rules" or putting yourself and others at risk, try spending at least 30 minutes a day being active. I enjoy going for walks, riding my bike, and doing yoga, stretching, or work-out videos I find on youtube. Many people are finding joy in helping others. I have a friend making face masks and donating them to medical workers. Food banks are open and they need volunteers and food donations. Animal rescues need foster placements. Find a way to safely make a difference in your community.

What are you doing to stay active and engaged with the world during this time of isolation? Watch my video below to hear about the creative ways my friends and I are having fun together during the quarantine.

APA Reference
Green, H. (2020, April 29). Quarantine Fatigue: What to do if You're Going Stir-Crazy, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, July 24 from

Author: Heidi Green, Psy.D.

Heidi Green is a clinical psychologist and self-love aficionado. She lives her blissful life in Arizona where she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and snuggling her rescue pups. Find Heidi on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and her blog.

Please note: Dr. Green shares her personal opinions and experiences and nothing written by her should be considered professional or personal services or advice.

May, 5 2020 at 4:13 pm

Thank you, Lizanne. You're right, we are all facing different challenges during this time. One thing that connects us, is that we all need to attend to our mental health more than ever!

Lizanne Corbit
May, 5 2020 at 2:53 pm

I love the idea of using your values as energetic guide markers (if you will). What an amazing idea! I think this speaks beautifully to the concept of living in alignment, and even though many (if not all) of us are facing vastly different circumstances from our "norm" this is still something we can check in with. Wonderful suggestions to notice what you're giving your time to and ways to release some of that anxiety, or boost up healthy energy. Be well!

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