Feeling the burn: Quarantine leads many to mental fatigue


By Stormie Sanchez, Staff Reporter

After weeks of quarantine, many are starting to feel the effects of burnout, leaving behind once ambitious projects and yearning for a taste of normalcy. 

When first faced with the reality that people would have to spend more time at home in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many took it as an opportunity to catch up on dusty to-do lists. As time goes on, and bans on large gatherings continue, the mental toll of isolation has had a devastating effect on motivation, leading many to experience feelings of burn out. 

For some the burnout is just beginning, for others, like Debra Rasband, a freelance teacher and musician with the Amarillo Symphony, these feelings came quicker. “It would’ve been around the beginning of this month. I didn’t last very long,” Rasband said. “That was near the time the symphony had to cancel the rest of the concerts and events for April and May.”

For Rasband, no longer having deadlines, or goals to work toward has been the most challenging part of the quarantine. “It’s so hard planning for things when you’re not sure if it will be possible or safe or allowed. I miss teaching music and performing,” she said. “Some days it seems like there’s no point in doing much if it might all get canceled anyway.”

Jase Carr, a paralegal at Underwood Law Firm, said at this point in the quarantine, everything has found a way to become a distraction. He says it’s a cycle. “I can’t concentrate on my studies because I’ll want to read, but then I can’t concentrate on reading so I’ll play a game, but then I can’t concentrate on the game because I need to work, but then I can’t concentrate on work because I need to study,” Carr said. 

Despite those distractions, Carr said his biggest issue is how other people are responding to the current state of affairs. “More than anything though, my loss of motivation has been in the online sphere. People on Facebook and Twitter are absolutely nuts,” he said, referring to conspiracy theories he has seen online. 

“It’s a roller coaster. Am I being safe, or am I letting misinformation dictate my choices?” 

Cody Aduddell, employee for the City of Claude

The quarantine isn’t just keeping people away from work. Many limits have been put in place for state parks, campgrounds, city parks and other outdoor activities, which many people use as a form of stress relief. 

Cody Aduddell, who works for the City of Claude, said not being able to spend time in nature is the most difficult loss for him. “I miss being able to go out, going to the canyons and especially riding my mountain bike. Not being able to exercise like I’m used to has really affected my mental well-being and overall health,” Aduddell said. 

Parents are facing additional challenges through all of this, particularly when it comes to maintaining children’s schedules.  Rasband said morning routines for her family now feel pointless. “I’m hoping things will be back to normal in August. With the summer coming, I think my family will be a bit out of it for a while,” she said.

Aduddell is a single parent, so keeping up with his daughter’s school work on top of all the uncertainty going around has become overwhelming. “It’s a roller coaster,” he said. “Am I being safe, or am I letting misinformation dictate my choices?” 

Those living alone are not being spared the mental effects of life during quarantine. John G. Toland, a full stack software engineer for Guardian Health Insurance, said he is thankful he has his dogs to keep him company. “Quarantine has taken away my human interaction 100 percent,” Toland said. “I used to go into the office and get to shoot the daily gossip or talk the talk with co-workers. Now that we are forced to work at home, I seriously just talk to my dogs.” 

Toland said that working from home causes his days to blur together, giving him little motivation to shower some days. “My days lately have been taxing and busy at work. So, when I get off the computer for work, I end up just kind of walking around my house and calling people on the phone to have some human interaction outside of work talk,” he said. “I never appreciated a hug until now to be honest.”

Quarantine hasn’t been able to completely extinguish hope for Toland. “My feelings are still optimistic; I do not intend on losing hope. I intend to take advantage of this time to learn about me and how I can better myself for the next human that wants to interact with me,” he said. “I want to learn to stay humble and grateful for every second that passes in time. The time we spend with others in our lives is more precious than ever.”

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