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Netherlands suffering from chronic stress and fatigue after lockdown

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Since Thursday 12 March, the majority of Dutch people have been walking to work instead of taking trains, cars or bicycles. Mostly from the bedroom to the living room, but some rooms are as extravagant as the study. Overnight, they said goodbye to cold conversations, jokes, chats with colleagues and meetings. And now, more than four months later, the results of working from home are very clear. People get tired, empty and burnt out.

A survey by the CNV Trade Union Federation says more than a third of workers say they feel more pressure at work than ever as a result of the pandemic. 21% said they or their colleagues are taking more sick leave, and 16% said they are exhausted at work.

Piet Fortuin, chairman of the organization, says the numbers are shocking. “Across the country, millions of people are overworked and more than a million are exhausted.”


Brain expert Mark Tigchelaar isn’t surprised people get tired when working from home. He says that almost everything from long meetings to simple conversations has gone digital and people are never out of reach.

“I’m always trying to find a balance between productivity and reachability. When your boss or co-workers message you, you reply immediately to show that you’re working hard. It sounds positive, but , I am often distracted from what I am trying to do.

There were even more distractions during lockdown. Some were intrinsic, such as feeling uneasy when watching the news or worrying about the future. Some had to constantly juggle the roles of parent, teacher, and employee. Multitasking is bad for productivity and energy, he explains, Tigchelaar. Because your brain needs time to concentrate.

“Every time you switch to another task, you start over. You lose focus and it takes time and energy to regain it. , make up for it by spending extra time in the evening.

Working excessively long hours, not getting enough rest at night or not resting at all before you know where you are.

Tigchelaar uses the car as a metaphor for the importance of rest. “You can’t stay on the gas pedal all the time. Eventually you run out of gas and you have to stop and refuel. It’s just like your brain. Be productive again and focus on the task at hand.” needs a break.


Even if work can be switched off, lockdowns are exhausting many. “The corona pandemic is creating chronic stress,” said Paul van Lange, a lecturer in psychology at VU University Amsterdam. There is a need, and a visit to the supermarket becomes an ordeal for many, and all the negative reports and fears of the virus are useless.

“Constant vigilance takes self-control and discipline and consumes energy. Even, it’s exhausting us all.

Van Lange points out that there are fewer opportunities to relax at this time. Bars and restaurants may be open, and theaters and cinemas may be similarly restricted, but if you’re working from home, you’re probably suffering from a vitamin S deficiency. There is a possibility.

“Easy access to social contact is essential in a healthy work environment,” says Van Lange. “Laughter together, giving and receiving compliments, sharing positive experiences, all these things energize you. It has to be done and there is no spontaneity.”

no new stimuli

There are many reasons why many of us are feeling tired or exhausted this summer.The tank empties faster than it fills up. To continue functioning in the long term, it must adapt to the new normal.

Tigchelaar wrote a book, Focus AAN/UIT (Focus ON/OFF), which uses scientific research to explain how people can improve their focus and reduce their stress levels. He swears what he calls his buutvrijmomenten, the quiet, lonely moments of tag when you’re in a safe zone where no one can catch you. These are opportunities to recharge, he says. “It only happens when the brain doesn’t receive any new stimuli and can rest for a while.”

That doesn’t mean going for a walk while listening to podcasts or scrolling through your Instagram feed. “Then the brain is still receiving stimuli that it has to process, which consumes energy. Doing good and recharging the brain are not the same thing.

So how does he charge him? “Just walk around,” he says. “Don’t do anything in particular, daydream. That’s how it’s done.”

https://www.parool.nl/english/netherlands-suffering-from-chronic-stress-and-fatigue-after-lockdown~ba65134a/ Netherlands suffering from chronic stress and fatigue after lockdown

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