The ups and downs of the pandemic. Yep, there is an official term for our feelings and emotions being all over the place. Who’d have known? I’ve always described my emotions during this time as a rollercoaster from day one. Are we still in the pandemic? The Coronacoaster blur for me is still in full swing. My belief is we are making it through to the other side, and we are all doing amazing. There are still some very unwell people and my thoughts really go out to them and their families. To people that have lost their loved ones, I feel so sorry. Upon reflection, I believe that ultimately us all coming together and thinking of each other has been key to helping us all through. That in itself has restored my faith in human kindness.
It’s interesting, one day we are enjoying life, enjoying lockdown. The next it has all felt a little too much. Worry and anxiety sets in. I have felt quiet on those days. Like I am processing my thoughts. Internalising. I can’t actually pinpoint what’s wrong, only that I feel introverted. The next day I am calling people, smiling, and really embracing the new routine and all it has to offer. Life feels a breeze and I feel like I have wholeheartedly got this and that I am making it through. I don’t think I am alone in the way I am thinking. Even with nearing the end, those days still happen. I have noticed it so much recently that I have told myself to hold on to the positive days and understand the negative, they are all part of the process. Our lives have changed and we have adapted to that change. When we de emotionalise it, it’s simply been a process.
Is it selfish to be talking about the impact on my mental health when others have been so sick? I don’t think so, I think many people will want to talk about the impact this has had on them. Not only physically but mentally.
What have I learnt?
One of the big things that have struck me is how adaptable we all are. As people we have had to change everything about our daily lives, we have got this.
I’ve learned a lot about my children and my partner being isolated with them for many months. At times it’s been rewarding and other times you just want space.
I’ve learnt I don’t have the patience for homeschooling, despite my best efforts.
I’ve realised that daily routines can be changed, how time is allocated each day has changed too.
Some people really struggle with change and I used to be one of them. Change now means growth to me. It’s useful to realise that if you struggle with it.
I’ve also realised that a round of golf is roughly 3 hours, not the 5 hours pre lockdown... I am thinking the clubhouse takes a good amount of time too. 🍺
On a more serious note ultimately I have also realised how isolating life must be for people on their own. We have lived a temporary life, for some they live this life every day, always. I will always try and make time for people, even more so now. I have noticed kindness in communities, people helping one another, I hope that stays forever. A huge thing for me is the appreciation of front line workers. I will always continue to show my support for them.
When this started I would watch the news religiously. I realised the impact it was having was awful. In the end, I gave up watching it, the same negativity today being repeated day in day out. Whilst watching, my worries would magnify and I would end up thinking about all of the horrible things that could happen. I would find myself worrying about elderly relatives that I hadn’t seen for months. I would worry myself into a million problems, things that weren’t actually there. They were all just maybes. All very natural but why put it upon me. Some might say it’s ignorant, but it’s amazing how not hearing the negativity helps me remain positive. Along the way, I have questioned why I can’t feel on top of the world every day? I’ve battled that quite a lot. In reality, it would be impossible to have a good day every day. Imagine the pandemic wasn’t here or nearing the end. Every day wouldn’t be stress or worry-free. We have good days and bad days, it’s life. Communication has been a big part of the things I miss. Sitting in my parent's living room. I have missed going to see my sister. I have missed being in a room where people lift me. Of course, I have my lovely family at home, but some different faces would have been nice to see.I have missed the banter I have with my best friend. Sitting on the sofa, neither of us being able to get a word in. I have missed that so much. The people-watching when you are at a restaurant or a bar. Watching others having fun. Sober and drunken conversations. Life banter.
I am yet to venture to a bar, as I am just cautious. It will be soon. Some are local businesses and they are going to need us and our support. I have missed a human touch. A hug, a kiss, and a smile. I have to hope those things will return. It may take a while, but one day they will be there I am sure. Everything I have missed can be changed eventually. But for some, it can’t. As we start to venture out we must do with care and caution for others. Staying home has helped the people who have been unwell, always remember that. These people might not see a smile again. Selflessness has been needed, for me putting the vulnerable first has always been a priority. Some have broken the rules and that isn’t for me to judge, as long as I’ve done the right thing that’s all that matters. I have instilled this message in my children too.
We have all been on the rollercoaster, sat on different seats, but we are riding together. Nobody is saying any of this is forever. What we are living at the moment is a response. A response only. It will change. Maybe this week, maybe next week. Maybe some things will take years, but they will still change. If we broke a glass, we would clean it up and scrub the surface. Once safe we would walk on it again. We might do it with caution until we are comfortable doing it. The same applies to this. Emotions and feelings change quickly as does the situation. What troubles us one day won’t the next. - this really helps on the down days What is a ‘positive’ for me might not be a ‘positive’ for you, that would be the same in any situation? Understanding that is key to why decisions have been made for us in the world that is not making us all happy. Allow yourself to feel how you want to feel. Giving yourself permission takes an awful lot of pressure off.
What helps in this ever-changing situation? Routine and structure really help with anxiety. Set that alarm clock and embrace the day. Mine goes off at 5.30, the best time of the day! Gratitude lists are amazing for changing any negative thoughts into positives Self-love and self-care are key. Get dressed, wear what you would normally wear. Put your best dress on. Do your hair and your makeup. I’ve done this every day. I do it to feel like me. It does help. It brings normality. Brings me, self peace. Going for a walk or doing some exercise, this releases endorphins (encouraging happiness) set yourself a target, challenge yourself. Give yourself a break - this situation we find ourselves hasn’t happened before and may never happen again in our lifetime. Use what’s around you, face time, emails, social media. If you haven’t heard from someone reach out to them. Surround yourself with positive people (virtually) or in your bubble. It’s amazing how we can all lift one another. Most of all, be kind not only to yourself but to others.
The Coronacoaster - buckle up, let’s ride it together safely, adapt to the change and we will be able to get off very soon.
When we are off, remember your fellow riders as much as they remember you
This may have changed the world, with a positive perspective this may have changed some things for the better