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Beyond Stir-Crazy, Beware Traumatic Stress

June 1, 2020


Many news sources have been offering advice over the last few months on how to cope with the stress of working from home, social distancing, and generally sheltering in place. With large parts of Pennsylvania moving into green or yellow status–for up to date information, see the Process to Reopen Pennsylvania website–we should be prepared for a new wave of anxiety, because the move is not without controversy and people remain fearful despite measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Agnostic of political persuasion and where you stand on the issues, such as masks, there is one very real challenge that we should all acknowledge: quarantine fatigue.

There is of course crisis fatigue, pandemic fatigue, philanthropy fatigue, moral fatigue, compassion fatigue and even Zoom fatigue, but what is meant here by quarantine fatigue is the general erosion of mental health as a result of being in the midst of the pandemic even if you are not a health care worker or someone dealing with the disease directly. A blog post by the Cleveland Clinic states:

If you’ve felt any of these, you’re most likely feeling the effects of quarantine fatigue:

  • Irritable.
  • Stressed.
  • Anxious.
  • Eating more.
  • Eating less.
  • Unable to sleep.
  • Unmotivated or less productive.
  • Having racing thoughts.
  • Or just on edge in general.

A recent feature from a local newspaper in Delaware, ‘Battle Fatigue’: Counselor offers advice on dealing with virus-related stress, mentions “sources for mental health assistance.” In Pennsylvania, there is also 2-1-1, a free 24/7 phone helpline which provides information and makes referrals to a wide range of health and human services (, and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has an extensive resource website Mental Health in PA.

Suggested reading:

“Are You Experiencing Coronavirus Quarantine Fatigue?” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 14 May 2020,

Koehn, Nancy F. “Leadership Lessons From the Shackleton Expedition.” The New York Times, 24 Dec. 2011,

Lufkin, Bryan. “How to Avoid Burnout amid a Pandemic.” Worklife, 30 March 2020

“Quarantine Fatigue: How Will You Decide to Rejoin the World?” Psychology Today, 5 May 2020,

Yuko, Elizabeth. “The Reason You’re Exhausted Is ‘Moral Fatigue.’” Rolling Stone, 27 Mar. 2020,

“‘Zoom Fatigue’ Is Taxing the Brain. Here’s Why That Happens.” Science, 24 Apr. 2020,


One Comment leave one →
  1. June 1, 2020 7:48 pm

    Thank you for posting this! It is definitely going to be a change coming back to work next week; my social skills will need some tweaking!

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