Is it Covid Fatigue?

The Front Garden is embarrassingly empty, but do I care?

I’m in a slump, and I admit it. In past years, seeing the Front Garden look so sparse would have had me rushing to the garden center for dozens of mums and filler plants. The diseased zinnias would definitely have been removed, the marigolds deadheaded, and you’ve probably noticed that the rust stains on the window sashes and brick from the sprinklers have yet to be removed even though that’s been on the “to-do” list since late April!

And it’s not just the front garden. There are dried daylily stalks and leaves left in several other locations, edges that have not seen attention recently, plants that need deadheading, and weeds popping up here and there after our last rain. There are carrots and tomatoes to be canned, beets to be thinned, beans to be picked and peppers to be frozen, but it’s easy to think, “Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.” There’s nothing on the calendar that encourages me to do it today, except the passing of days, cooling temperatures and the approaching frosts. I know that the window of opportunity for harvesting, and for just enjoying the flowers that are blooming is closing quickly, but unlike most years, I’m not imitating the ants and squirrels, and rushing to hoard every bit of food as soon as I find it. I feel guilty, because I know there are people who would love to have that food to preserve, or eat immediately, but here I sit. I’m not complaining, mind you, but just trying to understand this strange (at least for me) and strong lethargy. I totally realize that millions of people are out there doing their jobs while coping with the stresses of the “new normal” and I am so grateful that they are functioning at a much better level than I am.

I want to build 4 boxes to protect strawberry beds from critters next summer, but to use NOW with plastic over-layers as coldframes for spinach and other winter crops until then. But, have I garnered the courage to venture to the lumber store? I have not. I need to repair the holes the carpenter bees drilled into the back wall of my Lady Cottage. I can see daylight here and there, and if I don’t fix them, I’ll soon have woodpeckers making the holes larger, and then wrens and sparrows building nests inside. I tell myself that I’d better get in gear, because when the bulb orders arrive, then I WILL be too busy to play carpenter, that those veggies in the garden will spoil if I don’t get moving, but here I sit. I haven’t even been recording new flowers in the Bloom Journal, or sent in my fall vegetable seed order. I haven’t done any preparation for the upcoming frost…which may come the end of this week!

I miss entertaining, and all the special foods that go with it, but the last three meals I’ve prepared have been edible…just! A cake I love to make didn’t rise; I must have salted the shepherd’s pie more than once; the pizza dough was soggy; I burned the bacon. Yesterday, I baked two apple pies (one for us and one for a neighboring family) and after they were baked, realized that I forgot the cinnamon in one and the butter in the other! I used to bake pies blindfolded and with one arm! What’s going on with my auto pilot system? At this point, I’m not sure inviting guests would be a good idea at all, even without the pandemic threat. The number of cases in our county is now jumping by 2-4 a day, instead of staying fairly consistent for a week or so. That’s tiny in comparison to urban areas, but it’s alarming to me. I baked the pie purposefully to have last night. If I had to suffer through “the Great Debate” at least I deserved pie! As much as I love pie, I only ate half a piece. It should have been called “the Great Debacle” or the “Great American Embarrassment!” Why would I want to vote for either of those out of control name-callers? No wonder our young people lack respect for their elders! And the rest of the world are either laughing at us, or cowering in fear for the future. I’m in the latter camp…

I’m finding it increasingly difficult to come up with ideas for blogging, especially as the gardening season winds down here in Zone 5, but judging from the few new posts in my “Reader” feed, many of you are having that problem as well….or maybe you are busy productively clicking off all the items on your “to-do” lists. If that’s the case, I applaud you. Tell me how you are managing it….I’ll just sit here, being this new, super lazy, un-motivated person that I don’t recognize… and wait…no hurry.

About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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49 Responses to Is it Covid Fatigue?

  1. Luffy says:

    I dont think you’re alone. I totally recognise the lethargy. I think it’s lack of a routine and too much time indoors over the last nine months for me 😕

    Liked by 2 people

    • carolee says:

      I haven’t spent much time indoors since mid-April, when it became nice enough outdoors to work almost daily, and I have a hot plate in my Lady Cottage so I can make tea, and I can warm up in the greenhouse when I get chilly. I do miss going to meetings and see friends, and book club…

      Like

  2. My blogs are more like diary entries these days. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in the struggle though. I find the act of writing, even if it’s just about morning coffee, still instills a sense of accomplishment, when larger accomplishments seem miles away these days. For me, stopping blogging altogether made matters worse, so if only to find commonalities among us, it’s nice to keep up.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. sdeden says:

    A friend told me that she read an article by a person who’s job it is to respond and manage long-term crisis situations. She said that at 6 months (which is where we’re at) it’s common to hit the wall and feel like you just can’t take one more day. So give yourself some leeway and be kind to yourself. Hang in there, acknowledge the struggle and try to keep moving. And I hesitate to be political on your lovely blog and I don’t know your political leanings, but I do encourage you to vote, despite it feeling like there isn’t a real choice. NOT voting has its own consequences, and an absence of a vote can affect the outcome just as much as voting. Hang in there, like the seasons, this too shall pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      Thank you for sharing your friend’s words. It does feel like that…we’ve been plodding along day after day, hoping for easier times and now here’s this humongous wall ahead and we can see no way around or over it, and what’s worse is that we don’t know what’s on the other side. Could it be worse than on “our side?” and as for voting, I SO WISH there was a viable write-in candidate…..

      Liked by 1 person

      • sdeden says:

        Maybe we can find a plant analogy to help. Plants and trees go quiet and rest in the winter to be ready in the spring. Maybe it’s ok to drop our leaves and slow down production. Nature continues on. I suppose voting can feel like one more hard thing to endure after all we’ve been through. In any event you’re not alone in hitting the wall. Many of us are there too.

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      • carolee says:

        A good way to think about it! Thank you.

        Like

  4. Fabulous blog! I too feel the same even when it comes to gardening, feel lethargic with no urge to enjoy or gorgeous fall weather. The debate was indeed a national embarrassment!!! The world watched and wondered what has happened to this wonderful country America that they looked up to and loved. I got a migraine watching and was too upset to even think. I am turning to my garden forcefully to get my mind off everything, Mother Nature always makes me feel better. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Stay safe and well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      I suspect that spectacle debate fueled the speed of my downward spiral. Today the sun is shining and the wind is not blowing everything sideways, so as you suggest, I will return to the garden for solace, and pick all the tomatoes and peppers before the frost. May you stay safe and well also.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Artisan says:

    I fully sympathize with you – but I suspect you’re still getting far more done than I am. Ever since I started following your blog, I’ve been truly impressed, both with what you achieve in your garden, and the number and variety of blog posts you continue to produce. You’re running out of ideas? Doesn’t seem that way to me!
    I think we’re all suffering from Covid fatigue to some extent. In my case I think it’s largely because I went down with Covid-19 in April – not badly; I wasn’t even confined to bed – but ever since then I’ve felt oddly lacking in strength and initiative. How much of this is due to the disease, how much to my advancing years, and more recently how much to the general lethargy I always feel this time of year I don’t know.
    All I think any of us can do at present is to look at what we’ve achieved with our gardens over the years, and be thankful for the opportunities we’ve had. Maybe we’ll have to ease up a bit as we get older, but that shouldn’t stop us enjoying our gardening.
    John

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      Thank you John for your wise words. I’m so glad to hear from someone who has actually come through Covid in good shape. I wasn’t giving much thought to the time of year and it’s usual effect on my psyche, but after reading your comment, I looked back at my journals for this time of year, and it’s definitely a factor. A pre-frost depression that comes each year, no doubt increased by all the other negatives going on, plus the virus fear and losses it is causing. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I’ll go back and look at better photos of my gardens, and maybe that will improve my mood!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh, Carolee, now I don’t feel so alone. I’m experiencing similar ’fatigue’ and less than stellar productivity. I have had very little desire to cook or bake. I know I am growing older, so it’s somewhat understandable. Still, I’m realizing just how much what I do in the garden and kitchen is for the enjoyment (and admiration) of others.

    I pulled a few weeds, cut back some phlox, and planted a few tulips. That’s it. Now it’s time for a nap 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • carolee says:

      Your comment made impact as well! “Pride cometh before a fall” was the first thought in my head after reading. I hadn’t realized that “much of what I do in the garden and kitchen is for the enjoyment and admiration of others” and THAT was important to me. Your comment brought back all the times the little voice in my head said “Why bother? No one’s going to see it but you.” I’ll be thinking more about this. Have a good nap, and thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I share your feelings! I have been reading a lot and neglecting some of my other favorite activities. I did have a burst of energy and dug out some phlox that had overtaken several flower beds, but I have this lack of focus most of the time. Know that you are not alone!

    Liked by 2 people

    • carolee says:

      Lack of focus is a big problem right now for me. At least you can read! I haven’t read a book since March, and I normally read one or two a week. I find myself even having to read a short blog post more than once! Hope this changes before winter, when I cant’ garden. Know that you are not alone as well, and thanks for reading and responding.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. bcparkison says:

    I’m wondering how my Mother ever made it to 96. The cooler temps have helped to increase my ‘want’ to do things I just haven’t managed to get to it. Maybe tomorrow .lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      My mother is 95 soon, and she seems to be doing better than I! I did ask her how she managed to function during WWII, and she said, “Well, we knew we had to work harder because the menfolk were mostly gone, and we couldn’t get new tools if something broke. But, the enemy wasn’t coming into our homes and neighborhoods and churches like this virus is. And we had confidence in our military men, and in our president. We felt they were working hard, so we should, too. Of course we got tired, and tired of the war, and tired of not knowing who would come home and who wouldn’t. We trusted in God and just kept working.” I keep thinking of her words and picturing she and her sisters working the farm…as I sit and think of what I should be doing…..

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “I’m not imitating the ants and squirrels, and rushing to hoard every bit of food as soon as I find it” was my story just last week. Oh, I had fun!! This week is far more relaxing, especially today after last night’s Debate Debacle, but by Saturday I’ll be ready to become a squirrel again.

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  10. “I’m [am] imitating the ants and squirrels, and rushing to hoard every bit of food as soon as I find it” was my story just last week. Oh, I had fun!! This week is far more relaxing, especially today after last night’s Debate Debacle, but by Saturday I’ll be ready to become a squirrel again.
    [This is a correction to the above response.]

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Carolee, I used to end blog posts,”Stay safe and be happy!” I don’t always do that now. Not that the pandemic is less threatening…Just that we are all sick to death of thinking about it! Do what makes you happy, and don’t feel guilty about what you choose not to do. You are your own boss! Happy days may not be too far away. ❤ Cheryl

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I love reading your blog and I’m always filled with admiration at your beautiful and productive gardens. I’m so sorry you’re feeling like this, and you are certainly not alone. Speaking as part of the rest of the world – yes, it’s scary seeing what is happening in the US. It’s also scary seeing what is happening here (coal mines being approved, funding taken away from renewables). It’s pretty embarrassing being Australian too at the moment. But at the local level – you’re making pies for neighbours, I’m sharing eggs with mine. I hope you feel better soon. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • carolee says:

      Knowing that the virus is affecting the entire world and every population, the fires destroying woodlands and animals, insects, plants that may never return, governments refusing to work for the environment rather than corporations, the haggling over Brexit rules in Europe and haggling over stimulus help here (as well as EVERY LITTLE OR BIG THING that comes along) adds to my worries and feeling of “what does it matter?” I’m trying to focus on the positive, but there seems to be darn little of it out there anywhere in the world! Thank you for your kind words…THAT is a positive, and I appreciate it so much.

      Like

      • I know what you mean. I try to limit my news consumption at the moment, because it is largely depressing and/or infuriating. I guess the positives are too small and local to make the news – but hopefully there are enough out there to keep the world going through this. Hang in there!

        Like

      • carolee says:

        I am attempting to focus on the positives, but like you, I’m finding few out there. Will try to look harder!

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      • I seem to be entering the “what does it matter” phase, as well, as I come out of anxiety-ridden “wee hours” sleeplessness. (Does that make sense?) If only we had a leader who LEADS, not bullies. Oh, well, I reckon this, too, will pass. In time.

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      • carolee says:

        Sleepless hours, or upsetting dreams…seems to be one or the other! Either way, it’s tiring!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Kit Miracle says:

    I think, Carolee, that many of us are feeling that way these days. Fatigue over continuous news feeds, the election, the COVID, isolation. If we’re not lethargic and withdrawn, I’ve noticed more people who are crabby and short tempered. Be kind to yourself. We’ll be on the other side of this difficult time some day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      I so admire the fact that you continue to be creative and productive during these times, and that your work remains positive. I pray you are right and that “good times” are ahead, and that may be true with the virus because they likely will find a vaccine, but I’m not so sure about some of these other issues and factors. For the first time, I’m feeling rather glad to be old and knowing I won’t have to deal with it. But, I did start working on my veg seed order, so that is a positive sign! Thanks so much for reading and taking time out of your busy day to comment.

      Like

  14. I am not feeling lethargic but that is because other people are keeping me busy. I think sdeden has a point – the novelty (if that is an appropriate word!) of this pandemic and lockdown has gone and now we are all bored with it.We were told a vaccine would be along soon and solve the problem but it is clearly some way off if it ever works for everyone. We have coped and adapted and made the best of it and now we just want it to be over. Maybe we all need to take time out to reflect on what has worked for us and what has not and make plans to manage the long haul. I am very glad that I don’t live in America which must add to your sense of doom. Be kind to yourself, take care of those you love and please share the difficult things as well as the good with us all – as you can see you are not alone!

    Liked by 2 people

    • carolee says:

      I always find your comments interesting. You are blessed to have other people to keep you busy. And, you are definitely correct in saying “we all just want it to be over.” Baseball players often get a “batting slump” and somehow they get over it…or they retire! I’m hoping my “slump” ends soon, but I fear it may not happen until spring planting time, if then!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Then slump! If I do something ‘because I should’ I often make a pig’s ear of it because my heart isn’t in it. Will the world end if your garden looks tatty over winter? Will you starve if you don’t have enough stored produce? If the answer is ‘no’ and ‘no’ then hibernate without guilt and see what the spring brings.

        Liked by 1 person

      • carolee says:

        You made me smile!!! Thanks!

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  15. peggywright says:

    I certainly understand. This is indeed a strange year for us all. The pandemic, the political in-fighting, the rioting and destruction of property, the separation of people – It has become too much for us. Hang in there, Carolee. God is still in control even when the world seems out of control.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      It’s comforting to know that others are finding it difficult to deal with all the unknowns as well. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, Carolee, it IS comforting in a sort of perverse way. I’m glad I’m not the only one . . . et cetera . . . but I’m not glad you all are suffering as well. I’ve become content to shelter in place and have my groceries delivered to the front porch bench where my husband has put out a carry-all box. I am rereading books on my library shelves. I putter in my herb garden in its final days of production. And I take naps with Charlie, my sweet Cocker Spaniel.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Well, what you have done right, despite your Covid fatigue, is to write a wonderful post that I think SO many of the rest of us can relate to! It is quite comforting to read something like this where you can nod in sympathy while also thinking, ‘Yes I know how you feel!” Here in South Africa we are now going into Summer and last night we had our first bit of lovely thunderstorms, a blessing for my thirsty garden, and I am so grateful for that. But I found winter very difficult, and I often felt unfocused and guilty about not doing enough, as you describe. I think as women we expect ourselves to just Give and Give and Do and Do, and then doubt ourselves when we run out of steam. Remember to give a little to yourself too :).

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    • carolee says:

      How lovely to be going into summer! Yes, I agree that we women do expect more of ourselves. We are normally the coach AND cheerleader! My husband seems to be handling this much better than I…and maybe that’s also frustrating! HA! He’s not the worrier that I am and can also seem to escape in books, which I am unable to do at present. Thank you for your kind and comforting words. I’ll look forward to watching your summer garden grow while the snow flies here!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Here is my take on the debates: One man raged like an out-of-control bully and dominated the proceedings. The other two did the best they could under the circumstances. I doubt that any moderator could have done a better job. What threats would make the bully stop? And I doubt any candidate—not Reagan, not even Abraham Lincoln—could have held his (or her) own against Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m struggling also to enthuse about my blog, as currently life is very tedious and why would I want to record that! Letheragy on a miserable wet morning like this morning is infectious. I’m endeavouring to keep sane throwing myself into vegetable production and like you I am also squirrelling away for the winter. I only wish I could be half as productive, but we do have a pretty short growing season. I am only blog posting every two weeks at the moment. My husband and I have been isolating since early March due to his health problems. We are lucky in that we have been able to enjoy some socially distanced meets with other “careful” close friends in the garden, but that has come to an end now with the deterioration in the weather. It’s going to be a long winter…… keep safe 🌺

    Liked by 1 person

  19. woollee1 says:

    As if Covid was not enough to deal with, you get an election too! Let me assure you the world is anxious as to the electoral outcome, and to how the US will survive the shocking Covid situation there. We are cheering for you to be safe, strong and vote! Shame about the low bar set by the candidates on offer, the whole world is suffering this too. We got a guy from the marketing department running our country, who still believes red ties make him look powerful🙄…oh sorry I think you have a similar problem! 😁 May I offer a very simple suggestion? You are not alone, your blog readers are engaging you. Go make a pot of tea and think about the next 30mins, only that. Start small with the tasks. Focus on the task. And please keep writing! Warmly Lee (Aus)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dave Pole says:

    Yep – I totally agree about the Covid fatigue. It saps the will dreadfully and, combined with the onset of autumn, it can feel very gloomy, and we have our political worries over here too. We’re having to put a wire screen on the television to protect it from thrown shoes. Thank goodness for the stove on rainy days!

    Liked by 2 people

    • carolee says:

      I am basically avoiding the TV except for sports and cooking shows! The wire screen is probably a good idea. A rainy day would actually probably lift my spirits a bit, as our September was our driest on record and it followed an August that was our 4th driest ever. Rain would be welcome! Thank you for commenting. I SO enjoy your posts and views.

      Like

  21. Amy Rich says:

    I’ve had the same problem. I look at my garden and it feels (and looks) like i did the absolute minimum this year. I haven’t gone anywhere for the last 7 months, so I feel badly that I don’t have more to show for this summer at home. Then I remind myself how stressful it’s been and I try to give myself some grace. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this.

    Like

    • carolee says:

      We are definitely not alone! I was my usual productive, pushing self until the last month and the garden was my refuge. But, now I have to force myself to accomplish anything. The usual “end of season blues” has been hugely magnified this year. I certainly hope I am more “normal” when my big bulb order arrives!

      Liked by 1 person

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