Getting used to our pre-pandemic schedule is going to take time
It’s not just the pre-midterm slumps that are getting you down this year. Since March 2020, strict pandemic lockdowns and health safety measures have kept us predominantly at home for both leisure and work over the course of this year and half. As we gradually return to our pre-COVID schedules, many are feeling more exhausted than usual. But it’s not just you: between July 2021 and September 2021 google searches for the phrase “Why am I tired all the time?” have hit historical highs.
Our muscles are getting used to backpacks and metro rides, we’re adapting to 8 a.m. class discussions, and dealing with the emotional drain from daily in-person events. As we approach almost our halfway point during the semester, and the days become shorter, many students may be affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). All this includes the accumulated affliction from the past year. It’s important to be compassionate with yourself during this phase.
In early 2020, when we were first told to remain home, many felt grateful to stop and rest from the flurry of our daily lives, in a phenomenon named “lockdown relief.” It was short-lived. As the pandemic wore on, unemployment sky-rocketed, panic set in various ways, and to date, we have lost 28,186 Canadians to COVID-19, on top of the deaths from those that could not seek proper medical treatment because hospitals were overburdened with the aforementioned virus.
Don’t get us wrong — many are excited to be back to in-person activities. But nevertheless, we’re still reeling, and undergoing, the effects of a year full of changes and loss. Since the expectation that we would return to in-person learning, there have been mixed reactions.
Results from a poll in May 2021 found four in five Canadians don’t want to return to their pre-pandemic schedules, as some workplaces prepare for the likelihood of burnouts as workers seat themselves at their long-abandoned desks in their company centres. Additionally, 35 per cent of Canadians said they would quit their job in the advent of being forced to return to their workplace by their employees.
Students also had mixed reactions about going back on campus.They felt weary about the logistics of in-person and hybrid learning, and of rules around vaccine mandates.The CSU released an open letter calling on the university to ameliorate the equitability and quality of the safety measures and accommodations for students. Almost 1,500 people have signed a petition to give themselves the choice over how they attend hybrid classes. The Concordian has also asked university to provide better support for the education of international students and those with health concerns.
Last week, Concordia responded by releasing a short-term absence form to offer better support for students with “unexpected physical or psychological health concerns.” And while that is a welcome resource, we wanted to remind students that you’re not alone, and that reaching out for help when you need it is important. Whether that be with professional help, or calling a friend — we all need support sometimes.
While we welcome students back from the (much needed) Thanksgiving break, we also want to let you know: you’re doing great, and it’s ok to seek out help if it’s getting too much.
Photograph by Alex Hutchins