Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Taking a break from it all

Covid-19 and the associated fallout marches on. Increasing attention is being given to the impact of social isolation (sheltering in place) on mental health. Finally, it caught up with me. This is in spite of my personal situation and that in Australia being relatively easy. Almost immediately when I moved my office to home I started having significant neck and back problems. I made six trips to the physiotherapist over the course of four weeks, carefully monitored my posture, did exercises, and limited my sitting time. I got better. But, I know wonder how much was psychosomatic. I pretty quickly got zoom fatigue. Then a few weeks ago I started to see other mental health warning signs, particularly being easily overstimulated and anxious. I was disappointed because I thought I was managing it relatively well. 

So I bit the bullet. I took 9 days off work and never looked at email.
Social distancing requirements are now relaxing in Australia and we are now allowed in-state travel. My wife and I (and Priya the dog) went to our favourite Queensland holiday destination Bribie Island for a week. (This is also the location of the photo from my blogger profile). It was wonderful. Here are a few photos. I also saw some dolphins really close to the shore!

I also had a phone appointment with my psychologist who challenged me to restart mindfulness exercises. I am also trying to keep on top of the basics (sleep, diet and healthy fluid intake, exercise, limited screen time, reducing stress, ...)
So, do not under-estimate the impact of covid-19 on your mental health. Once you get a chance take a break.

Feel free to share your own experiences and/or relevant articles.


  1. I had similar experiences. I started working from home in March and got some back problems after a few weeks. I attribute this to two reasons: 1) I don't have a proper office at home and use a laptop. 2) I didn't move enough when staying at home. Luckily, I had the option to go back to my university office and work from there again.

    I also got Zoom fatigue and have limited my participation in Zoom events to the minimum. I find it much harder to focus on Zoom meetings than on real-life meetings. Communicating via Zoom feels more difficult and straining.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Ross. Some down time at Bribie Island sounds fantastic, I must say!

  3. Thanks for sharing this openly, Ross!

    I didn't realised the face to face meeting I used to have reduced my screen time a lot. During the lockdown, I got severe headache and eye irritation for a few times. And, only realised the culprit was the screen after it happened a few times.

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