lockdown: how are you coping?

So, how are you?

No, really – how are you?

Did you find January tough as old boots? It’s not my favourite month by any stretch. I knew it was going to be hard but didn’t realise it was going to be so rocky that my emotional track and trace would crash nearly every day.

I hesitate in saying it was a rollercoaster because those rides follow a predictable and defined track: Go, up, down, around, stop. Instead, it was one long weary haul with no end destination in sight. Plus the carriage was damp, cold, dark and no-one really knew who was controlling it.

Pre-pandemic life felt even more remote, not less so. I messaged a group of friends saying ‘Hey! This time last year we were all sat in a cafe together, laughing and talking and the virus didn’t even figure in our conversation!’

Then I realised how much I missed them and how much I miss the things I’d usually take for granted, yet remain unable to do now.

One minute I was full of good intent, the next I had to avoid anything – book, programme or film – most likely to make me emotional. Gratitude made me feel guilty, I couldn’t settle into anything and the thought of starting something new made me jittery. One day I felt as sturdy as a grand cathedral; the next, a ruin.

Why do I feel like this? I asked. I should be better able to handle it. I mean, it’s been nearly a year, right, so I should be used to this by now.

Except: no. It’s still hard. It’s still frightening. It’s still unpredictable. We have feelings of loss or bereavement and we’re dealing with hardship in one way or another. Maybe telling ourselves off for not being better at handling it isn’t making things, well, better.

Maybe we won’t ever get better at handling incertitude. Perhaps the best we can do is hang in there; let the feelings be rather than trying to let them go. Resting rather than remedying.

So that’s what we are doing now: moving through the feelings as they come and go because we know they do, and they will.

We’re focusing on the days knowing the weeks will take care of themselves. We’re getting to know our emotional ebb and flow and keeping our expectations low.

Whatever challenges we’re facing, the advance of spring and science shows us that brighter times will come.

Posted by

I'm a writer, journalist and communications officer based in the South West of England. I write about wellbeing, the outdoors and life in a rural playground.

6 thoughts on “lockdown: how are you coping?

  1. i started out very strong when the pandemic hit last year- March in my case- as we had the first case reported in our state and the year of hell began. I started out thinking “At last, i can stay home and get some stuff done, work on myself and – for Pete sake- finally others will understand a bit more what it is like to be a night shifter!” But after a few months i started to waiver and even though i had uplifting moments, over time i have been drug down into what i guess is termed “Covid Fatigue”. I realized this weekend ( my birthday none the less)it has been almost a full year and while i am still surviving, i notice more often the struggle. Date nights getting redundant, trying to find joy in house projects, not seeing my arts community friends and having to do almost everything online. But here’s the thing- i have also learned new survival skills- long term coping mechanisms and more about myself. Some things i thought i was strong in, i am not. It has given me a deeper sense of what it takes and/or might take to get through all of this. And i am getting better at managing frustration, boredom, and resilience ( although not perfected any of it). Thanks for this post:)

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  2. Yet another great little read Em. It’s definitely getting harder and harder, the longer these lockdowns go on. Also, the false hopes given. I was genuinely excited and believing that I could return to work with my business this coming summer. But now, it seems, that promise and excitement is dwindling. The virus is mutating and changing, the vaccine will have to evolve with it, but as with flu, the vaccine will always be a step behind (we cannot pre-empt the virus). Our understanding is growing and the way we treat the virus is preventing and slowing mortality rates, but we are still only just at the beginning of this story. In ten years time I feel sure that things will be much better, but at 47 years (knocking on 48), I want to be free to work, play, travel, socialise and explore now! Before age and my health gets the better of me. I feel most sorry for children and young adults in their teens and early twenties. The most important years of their lives! It must be awful! I remember my teen and early twenties. By far the most enjoyable and exciting years of my life! The days were long and a year! Wow! Lasted for ever! For this generation, that lengthy time span must be hellish!?

    Things won’t be normal for a very long time. However, things are improving. I’m hopefully we can all meet up again for walks, runs, diner parties and trips around the country stopping over at air B&Bs, hostels and hotels again. I think concerts, festivals and packed cinemas may well be on hold for at least another year (Im bracing myself for the worse, anything more will be worthy of celebration). If I could offer anyone any advice as a fellow human being feeling ‘the pinch’ of lockdown, I would say: be creative, utilise what you have under your nose and withing your reach’ take a new look at whats outside your front or backdoor. Explore the hedgerows, the coppice, woodland, pond, lake, reservoir, estuary, pools, dunes, rocks etc. Do some ‘dipping’ there are numerous online ‘how to’s’ to guide you. Second hand Guide books are cheap as chips online. If you have children, you can keep them engaged by researching all the different species of tree, plant, flower, bugs, beetles, mammals, amphibians, crustaceans and anything else that we share our space with. Spring is around the corner, that means an explosion of new life and things to see and do. There are a few charitible organisations looking for young researchers to gather data about nature, which could be of interest and gives us, our kids a sense of purpose again, which we all may well be missing. Don’t fall victim to apathy and slip into a lockdown depression if you can. Try and maintain a routine. Set that alarm clock as you did before, a lie in is a, treat, not a habit! Set tasks, plan your days, weeks with a variety of things to do. Craft days, making, building, inventing, learning new skills, online courses, learn a language or other new skill, amongst your days out. Don’t avoid that phone call to your reletive or friend that you haven’t spoke to for months or even years, you promised to do! Just do it! Look after yourself, eat well, sleep well, exercise your mind, body and most importantly your relationships.

    Ian x

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    1. A lot of what you say is so true! Thank you for the great comment. Routine is really important I agree, as is not being too hard on yourself for not doing something. Hope is on the horizon and that is good to know 🙂

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