Post-Covid Fatigue

When I went on retreat at the start of June, I was fresh from completing the latest draft of novel number three, and I had two fantastic new book ideas I was really looking forward to working on while I was away. That retreat week was phenomenal – I constructed a full chapter outline for my nonfiction book idea and wrote half the first draft in just a few days (it’s a short book, but still…) and I also put together a huge selection of background, worldbuilding, character and plot notes for novel number five.


Unfortunately, since getting back, I feel like I’ve done very little to build on those great beginnings.


For the first couple of weeks after my return from Devon, I threw myself into paid editing work, as I’d taken on quite a lot of it, to mitigate having the time off on retreat. I did bits and pieces on the nonfiction book here and there, wrote reviews (which technically count toward my tracking of writing days, but don’t really feel like ‘proper’ writing), made a couple of novel notes here and there – but it never felt like I was able to get back into my routine of balancing paid work and personal writing projects.


Then, Dave and I went on holiday for the first nine days of July and I decided to give myself the time off, so I didn’t have to think about paid work or feel obligated to work on my own writing projects during the trip.


And then we both got Covid on the penultimate day of our holiday.


Luckily, Dave mostly escaped unscathed, and I only suffered reasonably mild cold symptoms. I cleared my schedule as much as I could and focused on paid projects where necessary, while I was recovering.


And then the post-Covid fatigue hit. And I can tell you, it’s definitely a real thing! For the last couple of weeks, I’ve consistently found it difficult to get out of bed, despite regularly sleeping for nine hours. I’ve managed to work on paid projects in the mornings, but I’ve very rarely had the energy or the focus to do anything else for the rest of the day.


And it’s really annoying! It feels like the kind of thing I ought to be able to pull myself out of – and I have wondered if I’ve just got myself into a depressive frame of mind, rather than it being a physiological effect. But it’s definitely something that’s been affecting me in a real way.


As before, I’ve been managing to do little bits and pieces here and there, so I can claim a writing day for my tracker, but it’s very much felt like a token nod rather than any real progress.


I have a great routine worked out for when things get ‘back to normal’ – cafe two days a week, scheduled sessions for both paid work and personal projects, meditation classes booked late afternoon to give me a framework to keep working to – if I can ever get there, it’s going to be great!


In the meantime (and this week, it does feel like it’s finally getting a bit better), I’m trying to be kind to myself, not overdo it, keep my schedule as flexible as possible, and congratulate myself for what I am managing to do, rather than beating myself up for not being productive.


I’m extremely lucky that I can move my paid work around a lot and that I don’t have any external deadlines for my personal projects at the moment. Plus, I have very few family-related obligations. I can’t imagine how difficult this kind of thing must be for people who don’t have that luxury.

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