Lockdown Life: How Is Your Mental State?

I never in a million years thought that I would be living through a pandemic, it’s something you only see in movies isn’t it?

But here we are.

As we watch other nations slowly emerging from their lockdowns, we in UK are in our seventh week and await news from our government as to what the next steps will be.

It’s been a period of turmoil and ups and downs.

When we first disappeared into lockdown I couldn’t keep my emotions in check. I would find myself bursting into tears throughout the day, anxiety threatening to overwhelm me.

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We had just returned from a fabulous month long trip to Australia and Cambodia and when I arrived home things just turned upside down.

I had been back at work two days when we were told we were to go home and start working from there. I hadn’t seen any of my family since before leaving on our trip and I felt quite overwhelmed and frightened by the whole situation.

Add work stress into that and I became a bit of a gibbering wreck for a little while!

However, as the weeks passed and we all seemed to settle into our new normal, the tears dried up somewhat and my anxiety lessened.

It helped so much that I have been able to talk to my mum everyday and know that she is doing ok.  She has had a few ups and downs as well, but she is one strong lady and she has taken most of this in her stride, helping out her neighbours with shopping and getting on with things around the house. I keep asking if she is bored as she is living on her own, but the answer is always no!

If I have half the strength that she has exhibited throughout her life I will be a happy lady!

assorted flowers photo
Photo by saifullah hafeel on Pexels.com

As the weeks have rolled into one, I’ve found myself almost enjoying this period of isolation (ssshhh, don’t tell anyone! Am I allowed to admit this??).  Whilst my world has shrunk dramatically to my flat and my local park, the world has also slowed down to a snail’s pace.

I am working from home full-time so my working week is still pretty much the same. Being a newbie to WFH it has been quite a learning curve, but after the initial trials of getting everything set up remotely, I’ve found a rhythm and have glimpsed a different way of life which is very appealing!

In fact it’s been a bit of a revelation! From small things like being able to put a load of washing on when I want, to bigger changes of not having to commute have made a world of difference. I have that little bit of extra time at the beginning and end of each day to play with….a bit of breathing space…

Also with the weekends a blank canvas which can’t currently be filled with the socialising, shopping and general chores of the ‘old days’, I have found the space to finally do other activities I would never normally get around to. Like getting out and walking everyday for an hour or so, whilst listening to audiobooks (I am very thankful we’ve been able to get outside at all!).

And baking!  We are currently working our way through a chocolate fudge cake I threw together last weekend!

Choc Fudge Cake

I have resisted the urge to get online and spend money – but on visiting the supermarket yesterday, I found myself looking at all of the produce and thinking, oooh do I need this, or do I need that? I didn’t and I don’t, but being back in a shopping environment bought out that urge to buy, buy, buy…something I haven’t missed a bit by not going into shops!

And FOMO, where has that gone?  Everyone is in the same boat so I’m not comparing myself to others (a sure fire path to anxiety!), worrying that I’m not doing enough, not filling my time productively. I’m doing more of what makes me happy on a day to day basis.

Not having to commute also means that I am generally getting more sleep – albeit accompanied with very weird and vivid dreams! Is anyone else experiencing this?? But it is making a difference to my mental health.

The stress and anxiety has eased, it hasn’t gone away completely.  I mean living through a pandemic brings along it’s own anxieties, right?  And thinking about when I might be able to hug my mum again is guaranteed to bring a tear to me eye!

But I am certainly finding this slower pace of life is benefiting me. It’s given me a chance to reflect on just what it is that stresses me out and makes me anxious and how I might tackle these things in the future.

And it seems so peaceful at the moment – the air is clearer, there is hardly any traffic so other sounds are coming to the fore…who knew the birds around here could make so much noise!

Rosella 1
Ok, I know this Rozella is not native to the UK!  I can’t hear them all the way over here from Australia (I just love these birds!) but the number of other birds I can hear is amazing!

It feels like the world is seizing the moment and taking advantage of us humans not being able to move! I have loved seeing the reports in the media of wildlife emerging, increased numbers of turtles nesting in Thailand and dugongs returning in greater numbers there also.  And of animals taking control in some of the least likely places! This shows us just what we have been doing to this planet.

Unfortunately it isn’t all good news and whilst the downturn in tourism is good for some, it is dangerous for others, with a lack of funding endangering conservation projects and an increase in the conflict between humans and the animals in some areas.

Indeed, I received an email from the Elephant Conservation Centre, which is a brilliant organisation dedicated to the conservation of Asian elephants that I visited in Laos a few years ago, asking for donations to help get them through this difficult period.

Elephant Conservation Centre Laos
Trekking through the jungle in the surrounding area of the Elephant Conservation Centre, Laos

I do of course realise that I am in an extremely lucky position at the moment. I have a job, a roof over my head and I am not having to worry about where my next meal might come from. I am not living alone or trying to home educate children whilst also trying to work. I have the luxury of being able to sit back and let this enforced isolation and downtime soothe my soul for a while.

I have felt guilty for feeling this way and was in two minds whether to even admit. I mean this is not a holiday, thousands of people have died and are suffering because of  this pandemic and my heart goes out to all those who are grieving losses and who have been affected by it. Thousands of others are working tirelessly to look after us, keep us safe and making sure we can eat (food delivery drivers I’m looking at you!).  And then there’s the long term economic impact of it all..let’s not even go there! And the end is not in sight yet unfortunately.

But I don’t think I am alone in finding some positives in our current situation.  And I really do hope that there can be some long term benefits that comes out of all of this.

I hope that the world that we emerge back into on the other side of this, is not only one which is more environmentally friendly, but is also one that appreciates the benefits of community and of slowing down and really does take the importance of looking after our mental health seriously.

I of course cannot wait until I can see my friends and family again, but perhaps it’s also time for the culture of ‘busy’ to stop.  We do not need to be racing around at full speed all of the time, with a diary full of never ending events…maybe just take a breath, appreciate your surroundings, what you have, where you are.

However, in the meantime, whilst we all still deal with our current situation, we just keep going, taking one day at a time, appreciating the small things (wow, is this pandemic teaching me to do that!) and looking after ourselves and each other, waiting to see how this all pans out.

I look forward to the time when I can have that glass of wine in person with my friends and not over zoom, facebook messenger or whatsapp!

And to the day I can give my mum a hug again!

How have you been coping?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 thoughts on “Lockdown Life: How Is Your Mental State?

  1. I definitely see the same benefits that you mentioned. Although this has been a terrible thing for many (it definitely made my life more difficult a few times), I hope we get to keep some of the good things which have been a result of the pandemic.

    Glad to hear that you’ve equalized and are doing alright.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m glad I’m not alone in this, it’s a very challenging time, but there are some positive side effects I suppose. I definitely count myself as one of the lucky ones so far though. Hope that everything is ok with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. Except for the strange and vivid dreams (mine have been as average as always), you could have been writing this about me and my life. I relate to everything you are saying.

    We just got word on “the beeb” that the UK is now enforcing a 2-week quarantine on anyone flying into the country. The husband’s whole family is over there. We always knew it would be tricky getting back if, God forbid, there was a funeral to attend, but now it’s going to be really difficult, not to mention the fears about getting back into the US. Just gotta take it all in stride, hope for the best, and enjoy whatever small silver linings we can find, because the worst may be yet to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear that I am not alone in feeling like this! It’s a really strange and challenging time, with very mixed emotions about everything! Yes, they are reporting this, but no official announcement yet…that is supposed to be coming from Boris tonight! This week has been full of mixed messages from all channels, it’s been very confusing. We are in same position with Australia where my partner’s family are, it’s quite worrying really. But as you say, we just have to go with it at the moment, there isn’t much else we can do. I’m getting quite good at enjoying silver linings so far, it keeps me going 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your title caught my eye! Not a lot of people in my world have asked me this question and it warms my heart…I, too, at the beginning of realizing before the WHO called it, that we were going to be overwhelmed by a world-wide pandemic, found myself grieving and yes, even now with some restrictions being lifted in my small part of the world, my dreams are vivid and contain many nuances regarding this pandemic (I often find people/characters are too close to me or there is mention of the pandemic in conversations!). It’s wild and woolly out there but posts like this make one feel less alone…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad that it helped you feel less alone. Whilst we may have to be physically apart at the moment, I think that we are all going through similar feelings and emotions regardless of who we are or where we are. I think you are right, there was a grieving period when this all kicked off and the uncertainty of the situation certainly increased my anxiety levels. And I’m so glad I’m not alone on the weird dreams ! 🙂 That has been one of the strange side effects I’ve found in this situation. Thank you so much for stopping by and for adding your thoughts to this discussion 🙂 And I like your description ‘it’s wild and woolly out there’, sums it up well! Take good care and stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad to hear you’ve settled into a routine. It takes adjusting for everyone and it’s great that you managed to switch things around. I agree, it’s a horrible time where people are dying, yet the pace of life has slowed down and it’s nice to be able to take advantage of that. It’s a weird and perhaps a little morbid dichotomy, but here we are, living in it. I also agree with the FOMO (I had to look up that acronym, haha). It’s nice to be thrown back to yourself and think about what you want instead of someone else.
    As how I’m doing. I’m doing great at the moment. Every now and then, I get cabin fever. But I take it one day at a time and allow myself to breathe. I’m lucky in the sense that I’ve always been able to entertain myself, whether it be work, hobbies, doing my household etc. I’m also privileged in the sense that I have a roof over my head, family that’s healthy and a job that’s not in jeopardy. I’m just counting my blessings and try to ride out this pandemic as well as I can. Though I admit, I couldn’t resist buying a concert ticket for March 2021 in the hopes the world has opened up a bit by then! Fingers crossed!
    Take care and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m pleased to hear that you are coping ok. Haha, good move to buy the concert ticket! We have to have some hope don’t we!! It would be great if we are able to start going to concerts, theatre, etc again. We are big comedy fans here and usually have a few shows lined up to see, but at the moment we have nothing…it feels very strange! But it is what it is and the internet is throwing up all sorts of funny things to keep me entertained for a while at least!! One day at a time and all that and we’ll get through it. I hope your week is going ok so far, take care!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! Oh, comedy would be fantastic now anyway! Luckily, people are creative, and during these times is no exception. I’ve seen some funny Corona-related stuff to help lighten the mood.
        I too hope we can go to concerts etc again soon too!
        Indeed, one day at a time! We’ll make it.
        Take care too!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I have to admit, I don’t want tourists on ‘my’ beaches any time soon. Purely selfish, of course! Yes, it may benefit the environment… but, honestly, who ever sanctioned cruise ships in Venice in the first place? I’m hearing the industry will really struggle to get back on its feet, and callously I don’t care. Flights, on the other hand … are not going to be fun any time soon but I don’t have any other means of seeing my youngsters. We’re all selfish when it comes to what matters to us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true, I can’t say I miss the tourists in our neck of the woods at the moment! Ah Venice! It is a good example, although I would love to visit (it looks so beautiful), I have been totally put off going because of the overtourism there. It’s just excessive. At least it’s getting a bit of breathing space at the moment. As for flights, same as you, we have no other way of getting to see our family. But I don’t think any of it will be getting back to normal any time soon. Take good care!

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  6. It is a tough time, MDFF. It is a huge change but you need not feel guilty about the positive sides of this change. I think it has given everyone an enforced chance to reassess the priorities of life, rather than running on adrenaline and getting through to each weekend, then socialising until Monday. I have actually enjoyed the pace of life, miss seeing friends and family, but I don’t miss work at all. It has given me a chance to experience what retirement might be like! And I do like it! We have had our troubles with our younger ones losing work but we have coped so far. We are lucky we live in a country with some kind of welfare arrangements.
    Let’s all breathe the fresh air and keep baking! I have just made fig and walnut loaf and sourdough bread.
    I think travel will be so very different in the future and I whilst conservation projects lose much-needed funding, the earth gets a chance to breathe again. And that is the greatest thing of all, for, without a well functioning planet, the other problems fade into insignificance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I am sorry to hear that your younger ones have lost work, that is the difficult side of all this. I do hope they are ok. It’s so sad to see the reports of so many people getting laid off. It is a difficult time. But as you say, it does provide the opportunity for the planet to heal itself a bit, which is very good news. We’re just starting to ease restrictions very slightly here. It doesn’t make much difference to my daily life at the moment, so I will just wait and see how it goes! I’m glad to hear that you are ok and enjoying this pace of life as well. And your bread sounds amazing!! I think I will have to get my baking hat on again this weekend 🙂

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  7. It does feel like the world has slowed down doesn’t it and that so much of our old lives now just feels pointless. The more important issues and feelings have certainly risen to the surface with friends and family becoming crucial and all of us having more time to just appreciate what’s real. Love the look of the chocolate cake. Hungry now ..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it has focused the mind very much on what is actually important. It’s giving me a lot of time to think and mull things over…not always a good thing 🙂 The chco cake wasn’t bad, but I can’t be making one that big every week, I couldn’t resist finishing it off!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The pandemic and related circumstances have helped to shine a much needed light on a lot of things – like what’s really important to us in our lives and how much we have to be thankful for 🙏(cliche as it sounds) – especially whilst some are losing loved ones and struggling more than ever to stay afloat financially, amongst other challenges.

    Consistently working from home has given me more uninterrupted reflection and thinking time and allowed me to indulge more in reading. Like you – I’m getting more sleep 😴and I’m working out more because I have equipment in the house, and skipping breakfast has become a thing of the past 😉hopefully I’ll keep this up if/when things move back again.

    I have secretly relished the down-time (away from commuting, the rush hour etc) – I think it’s taken for this to happen for me to appreciate the prospect of a better balance, moving forward. 🤔

    Your cake looks lovely – I’ve been having a dabble with the mixer myself….chocolate brownies are next on the ……and I probably ‘look’ like an apple crumble now – the amount I’ve been making 🍏😆

    Great post – thanks for sharing it 😊🔆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! It sounds like you are having a similar experience to myself during this period. It’s definitely given us time for some serious reflection hasn’t it. I am with you on the prospect of a better balance in the future. That is something that I have been searching for for a while and having the chance to work from home has shown me an alternative that I never thought would be an option. I’m glad that you are finding it a good opportunity to get into some better habits as well – me too, although I am definitely not eating as well for lunch as I was when I was in the office! Oh well, you can’t have it all can you 🙂 But it is lovely to have more time to do things like reading and baking isn’t it! I’m also delving into audiobooks for my walks around the park, they have been a revelation! Ooo I love an apple crumble!! Good luck with the brownies, I am sure they will be delicious 🙂 Thank you again for your comments, it is so interesting to hear how others are coping as we progress through this very weird and worrying time. Take good care and enjoy the rest of your week!

      Liked by 1 person

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