I’ve recently found myself feeling kind of deflated. I’ve been unproductive, lacking energy and generally just a bit down in a way that isn’t much like me. To start with, I was confused.
And then it dawned upon me.
We’re literally living through a pandemic.
It sounds weird to state that as though it’s something I ‘forgot’, but the truth is, you do. Because the pandemic has become our daily lived experience now, it’s easy to forget that this is actually unprecedented (my GOD do I miss PRECEDENTED times).
Nobody taught us how to cope with a pandemic – without hugging our friends and/or family for months on end. Nobody taught us how to deal with the fear of ourselves or loved ones becoming ill, or how to survive through endless uncertainty.
Of COURSE all of that is going to take a toll.
It was this realisation that made me reassess my priorities. Instead of beating myself up for not being at peak performance 24/7 (which, with my Capricorn energy is not the easiest), I made a commitment to treat myself with a little extra love.
For me, that means taking on a slightly lower workload and allowing myself extra time to get things completed.
It also means prioritising self-care above everything; making sure to get my workouts in, indulging in at home spa sessions, reading my book more often. Little things that soothe the soul.
Of course, not everyone can do all of these things. I’m very aware of my privilege as a self-employed person to be able to just decide to work less, for example.
I’ve acknowledged before and will continue to acknowledge that in many ways I have been very fortunate throughout this pandemic, and for a long time that made me feel guilty for sharing that I am struggling a little.
But honestly, whatever your circumstances, it’s alright to be struggling.
We all have our own personal worries and ways that the pandemic has affected us.
For me, it’s worrying about having to pay £10k in rent for a place I haven’t lived in since March, and worrying about where I’m going to live next year.
I’ve also found the isolation from friends a little difficult – having health anxiety, I find it hard to go out much even during the periods when we are allowed to.
I think my point is that we’re all dealing with something right now, and it’s ok to be finding things hard. For me, I can see in many ways that I have been lucky, but that doesn’t mean my feelings aren’t valid.
Your feelings are valid, too.
It’s ok to have off days, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to feel a bit hopeless right now. And don’t be afraid to voice how you’re feeling – you’ll be surprised how many others are in the same boat.
Of course, there is no ‘magic cure’, but if you have found yourself struggling a little recently, here are a few simple things that help me:
- Have a self-care evening (whatever that looks like for you). I absolutely love to have a good pamper – a nice long bath (with candles and bubble bath of course), hair and face masks, snacks and a nice cup of tea, put on a good movie, do my nails, read my book. The possibilities are really endless here.
- Make yourself feel pretty. When I’ve been lounging around in joggers and a hoodie for weeks on end, I really enjoy doing my tan or makeup, putting some extensions in and a nice outfit on. Do whatever makes you feel your best – whether that be pampering your skin, doing a hair mask, experimenting with a makeup look or anything else!
- Clean. Sounds weird, but cleaning always makes me feel happier. If you’re low on motivation, prioritise washing your bedding and PJs, putting the bins out and just clearing any surfaces you can. If you’re a fan of cleaning like me, put some music on and go IN – it’s so therapeutic, and I cannot stress enough how much environment can impact mental health.
- Talk to someone. As a massively introverted person, I truly didn’t realise how much being away from my friends would affect me. Never underestimate the power of just chatting to someone – whether it be through message or a call.
Living through the 3rd lockdown this country has seen in the past year is so difficult, but try to remember that it’s ok if it’s getting to you. It’s normal, and you are not in it alone.
And of course, these self-care ideas are not always accessible to everyone – if you’re really struggling and feel you need some additional support, here are a few useful helplines and websites.
Samaritans – 116 123
Anxiety UK – 03444 775 774
Mind – 0300 123 3393
You can also take a look at this page on the NHS website for a wider range of organisations that may be more suited to your specific needs.
I’m hoping to be back to weekly blogging as of this week – let me know if you have any other lockdown or mental health-related topics you’d like me to cover!