Lifestyle Fatigue and Depression

woman fatigued

By Wesley Gallagher

“I’m exhausted all the time.”

“Nothing excites me anymore.”

“I feel like I’m stuck in a rut.”

Let’s be honest, we’ve all probably said, or at least thought, one of these phrases over the last three years. Life since the pandemic began has been no picnic, and even as COVID-19 fades from the forefront, new stressors like rising prices and job market uncertainty have left us mentally and emotionally exhausted.

It’s normal to feel anxiety, sadness, disappointment, and even depression from time to time, especially in the world we’re living in. But if you feel these feelings more often than not, and you find you’ve been feeling them for weeks or months on end, you may be suffering from “lifestyle fatigue.”

What is Lifestyle Fatigue?

Lifestyle fatigue is not a clinical diagnosis but more of a general feeling of malaise or displeasure with life. Rather than stemming from a clinical disorder or your job, such as the case with depression or burnout, lifestyle fatigue is more likely to come, as the name suggests, from your lifestyle.

Unfortunately, the habits we’ve adopted since the beginning of the pandemic — more time at home, more time on the computer, less time with friends and family, less time outside being active — are all contributors to feelings of malaise.

Add to that the outside stressors we’ve experienced — fear of illness, civil unrest, job insecurity, rising prices, and the threat of an impending recession —and you’ve got all the ingredients needed for lifestyle fatigue.

As life’s challenges pile up, you may find yourself feeling like you’ve lost a sense of purpose and are always mentally and emotionally exhausted. Here are a few key signs you may be suffering from lifestyle fatigue, according to VeryWellMind.com:

  • Days seem to run together.
  • You’re just trying to get through each day.
  • You’re unmotivated to be creative or start new projects.
  • Life feels unfulfilling and boring.
  • You want to change but are afraid of the risks that come with changing.

Many of these feelings are similar to a condition called anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure.

man tired and fatigued with his lifestyle

What is Anhedonia?

Like lifestyle fatigue, anhedonia is characterized by a loss of interest in activities, hobbies, or experiences you used to enjoy. It is often a symptom of mental illness like depression or bipolar disorder, as well as substance abuse.

According to VeryWellHealth.com, there are two types of anhedonia:

  • Social anhedonia

This is a decreased interest in and reduced pleasure from social interactions. Symptoms include few relationships, withdrawal from existing relationships, trouble expressing emotions, and a preference for being alone.

  • Physical anhedonia

This is the inability to feel pleasure from physical things like eating, physical affection, and sexual interactions. Symptoms include loss of libido and frequent illness, or other physical health issues.

Anhedonia, similar to lifestyle fatigue, is less of a diagnosis and more of a symptom. Treatment usually involves addressing the condition or mental illness it is associated with.

How Comparison Affects Lifestyle Fatigue

There’s one other factor that could also be contributing to your lifestyle fatigue: the age-old struggle of ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’

There’s one other factor that could also be contributing to your lifestyle fatigue: the age-old struggle of “keeping up with the Joneses.” Social media has added a whole new dimension to this phenomenon. While it used to be that the only Joneses we had to keep up with were across the street, now they’re on your Instagram feed. And everyone’s proverbial lawn looks manicured on social media.

One good thing about the pandemic was the forced simplicity that characterized our lives. There was a while there when everyone thought some of that simplicity would stick. But we seem to have rebounded right back to working and buying and traveling as much as ever, even as we realize that it’s not as fulfilling as we used to tell ourselves it was. This disenchantment can contribute to lifestyle fatigue in a big way.

If you feel like you’ve slipped back into comparing yourself to others on social media, try to remember what it was like when your world was a little bit smaller, and you weren’t watching other people’s stories full of exotic vacations and sparkly new purchases. Remember what you actually missed when you were stuck at home: time with loved ones, getting out in nature, feeling a sense of purpose. When you learn how to stop keeping up with the Joneses, you can start living for yourself.

How to Get out of the Rut

No matter why you’re feeling a sense of malaise, there are simple actions you can take to feel better. Here are some suggestions:

  • Figure out the source of your discontentment
  • Start making little changes to your daily routine
  • Find activities that bring you joy and do them
  • Connect with others
  • Do something productive
  • Take care of yourself physically: eat well, get plenty of rest, and exercise
  • Try something new

In time, these small changes will add up to bring back a sense of joy and purpose in your life.

The Meadows Malibu is Here to Help

If you’ve tried these changes and can’t seem to get unstuck, you might be suffering from something more serious, like depression. The Meadows Malibu offers individualized treatment for depression and other mental health issues in a serene, caring environment. Reach out today to see how we can help you.