‘We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list’ – Michelle Obama
What week are we in now? 5? 6? What’s separating the week days from the weekends? Who knows anymore.
When Dave and I were having a BBQ on Easter Saturday we were talking about the craziness of all of this and how it’s without a doubt the biggest thing to have happened in our lifetimes. This period of time is going to be talked about and studied in history lessons forever more, so to be living through it is truly bizarre.
I try and remember how lucky we are; not to have been furloughed, have a job I’m able to do from the comfort of my dining room, have lots of open space to do our hours government sanction exercise and a nice back garden to sit outside if the weather’s nice.
Doesn’t always work though does it? And the little negative voices still creep in from time to time. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what all this is doing to my, therefore probably other people’s mental health and what’s stressing me out about the whole thing:
A ‘new normal’
You know when you’re bored, and all you want to do is have something to do, but then when someone suggests something to do, you can’t be bothered to do it? I need to have structure and routine in my life otherwise I’m just an unhappy mess; I feel like Dave and I have gotten into a good working from home routine now and and I’m feeling productive again. So it’s a real worry of mine that when all of this is over, it’s going to turn me somewhat agoraphobic and I’m just going to want to stay home all the time because I’m comfortable in my new routine. For a social extrovert like me, that prospect is frightening.
I’ve often said I could sleep 27 hours a day if I had the chance, and in all seriousness I can regularly bash out a solid 9 hours a night and still need more. Recently though my sleep has been all over the place and am lucky if I get 7 hours on average. I’ve also been having some crazy dreams lately, and quite a few involving snakes which apparently means underlying anxiety, particularly about things you can’t control. Which just means I’m that little bit more sluggish throughout the day that usual.
A new generation of kids called Corona and Covid?
Jokes and memes about a coronavirus baby boom in 9 months time because there’s nowt better to do while we’re all on lockdown and there’s only so much netflix we can watch to pass the time? Think again. Science nerds in the US are predicting that if anything, the population is going to decrease for a while. Kenneth Johnson, a professor of sociology and demographer at the University of New Hampshire says “This is not the kind of environment in which people say, ‘Let’s bring a child into the world now’. It’s not like after a war when couples were making up for lost time when their soldiers returned home. Put simply, we’re all just too stressed out to be getting busy right now.
Everyone seems to have quickly forgotten about #bekind
It was only a few months ago everyone was telling everyone to be nicer to each other, especially on social media. How quickly we forget, because all I seem to see now is backhanded shaming. Don’t go to the supermarket because people aren’t sticking to social distancing, but don’t get an online delivery either because they should be saved for vulnerable people. Use this time to take care of yourself and if you manage to put on jeans one day that’s a win, but also use this time to be creative so it’s not wasted time. It’s too much. And quite frankly there’s enough going on in my worried mind without feeling bad about what strangers on the internet think about where I’m getting my milk and eggs from.
Perhaps it’s time for a low information diet
A few years ago, I went to a mental health talk at work and the facilitator showed the image above; an old joke, but actually very poignant hen talking about mental health. If something makes you feel bad, then stop doing it. We have the radio on all day while we’re working, if there’s a major announcement about something, we’ll hear about it, there’s no need for me to over saturate my brain with the same information over and over again by watching the news or relying on people’s opinions on the news.
People on the internet simply don’t seem to be able to digest information and share it appropriately. When Dr Jenny Harris announced that it could be as long as October before we were pretty much back to normal. Seconds later, my twitter feed was full of people saying ‘Jenny Harris says we’ll be on lockdown until October’. That’s not what she said! It’s infuriating that people can’t follow simple rules or understand simple statements without catastrophising everything.
Lastly, all social media seems to show me is people flouting the rules. I mean I dont really know why I’m surprised, people don’t follow the ‘dont nick things that dont below to you’ or ‘dont murder people’ rules as it is, what makes me think people are going to follow the rules when told not to have their mates round to drink warm Fosters and play Cards Against Humanity? It just sucks when you feel like you’re sacrificing seeing your mates and family, for the sake of the greater good, and not everyone else gives you the same courtesy.
So what’s the answer? I’m not sure I have one to be honest, this is just me being open about how I’ve been feeling recently. In the hope hat noticing it will make the next three weeks (or perhaps more) be a little easier, now I can try and mitigate the impact this is all having on me. I’ve limited the amount of time I spend on social media (particularly Twitter) and am just going to try to immerse myself is work or blogging or watching my favourite TV shows. Now that the weather has started getting nicer I’m looking forward to spending some time in the garden getting my freckles out since it’s unlikely we’re going to make it to Portugal on 9th June like we were supposed to be.
I think though the important thing is that we’re all in the same boat, this is strange for all of us, so let’s just remember to be kind (again!)
If you are currently in need of support for your mental health during this unprecedented time, try online therapy with BetterHelp.