‘Change fatigue’ means it’s time to get away

Published 15 September 2020

‘Change fatigue’ means it’s time to get away

There's no doubt this year has been confronting and challenging, and on a scale none of us could have imagined. As individuals, we've had to cope with change after change in a bid to get on top of COVID infection rates. It's all been rather overwhelming.

In the UNE Psychology Clinic, we are now seeing many clients suffering from change fatigue. This is when we feel burdened by change and powerless to address the circumstances, and it produces physiological and psychological responses. First, many were dealing with drought, then bushfires and now a silent killer in the shape of coronavirus. And many of those lucky enough to still have jobs have been working longer and harder than ever.

This fatigue - from going too hard for too long - is manifesting in symptoms of depression. I would argue that many people we are seeing are not depressed at all; that if their environmental stresses (such as the increased demands of work, home-schooling and the extra hours spent addressing new ways to function) were alleviated, they would probably be doing OK. It's just that they are running out of steam.

There is a limit, for each of us, for how long we can keep up this pace and rate of change.

In normal years we'd be planning holidays, large and small, or at least a mini-break, but many people have been Amanda Jeffreys portraittoo fearful to move very far from home, even where border restrictions allow.

Working from home for an extended period means that every day has become a little Groundhog Day-ish at this point. What many of us need is a change of scenery, to refresh ourselves.

Holidays, whatever they may look like, are a really important time to rejuvenate. Even if it's a long weekend, try to plan your next one today. You might be surprised at how the very act of planning a trip or outing brightens your mood.