Weird, weird times. Before I start, I’d like to state how lucky I am in the current situation: I am healthy, employed (by a very decent employer), I can safely do my job from my house, I have a lovely home, some private outdoor space, wonderful boyfriend who temporarily moved into my house (and is still alive!).
That cleared, I must address the elephant in the room: how to cope with my crippling anxiety and OCD at this time of pandemic. Admittedly, it could’ve been or become much worse if not for the combination of blessings above. But it does not mean I am free from it.
We worry about the future, our loved ones. We long for the life we used to live. We miss close contact with family, friends, the places we used to go. The ones we were meant to go, the things we should be seeing and doing. How we took it all for granted.
We feel guilty we could/should be more productive. Maybe it is the time to be productive, or maybe we should just do whatever we can to cope and come out of this in one piece.
We worry about our image, our fitness, our habits. We keep being too hard on ourselves. What life will be like once this is over. Will this be over?
So what am I doing to (try to) cope?
For a lot of the time, I’m only just (and only just) holding it together. Anxiety and panic attacks sometimes take all of my energy and I can only crash after. I cry. Stress has re-triggered IBS my old friend and my already unhappy hormones are all over the place. My body, as well as my mind, as screaming for help.
When not doing that, I’m laughing. An awful lot. Sometimes until I snort. Trying to keep being myself – for bad or for worse. And the below.
Focus on what I love: I got myself a pull up bar and aerial hoop. Being an anxious scaredy cat means I am being extra safe when exercising indoors and outdoors.
Try to get out of the house: when your main anxiety is healthy anxiety, crossing the threshold in times of COVID-19 is torture. I can only manage a few times a week and the shops are a challenge. I haven’t been to one in four weeks, and lucky Dan has been doing that, but I try to do the most out of the time I am out.
Help someone: Anyone who needs. It’s good for them, but better for your heart. I got in touch with elderly neighbours and have regularly been delivering their little shopping list. Look for someone local. Among all the ugly, there is something wonderful happening in communities around you. Be part of it, a small of big, it counts.
Face masks: Yes. I’ve been abusing the wonderful selection of sheet and cream face masks in my beauty archives. Damn it feels good. But that applies to any pamper: a bath, a body scrub, foot massage
Read: I haven’t been to good at that lately but have just started again.
Establish a routine: I am fortunate to be working full-time and I used to work from home 2/3 times a week before the lockdown, so it’s the same but more rubbish, really.
I have my little desk and stick to working there. I wake up, brush my teeth and haitr, get changed (not full outside world outfit, but not PJs). I workout outdoors three times a week, early in the morning and away from people. I plan my meals, the limited food runs.
I make things: lockdown has produced one peacock hat, three disco balls purchased for sitting room decor (currently living on armchair), plans for a splashback in the kitchen are hatching.
Bring “normality” inside: we party. A fair bit. So we have been having DJing/dancing sessions on Saturdays. Dress up. Lights, smoke machine, drinks.
Live on insta, shared wit friends on Zoom/WhatsApp, etc. Keeps us close, helps build up the step count!
I went “out” for brunch. On the balcony. With prosecco.
Treat myself: not like crazy but liberally. Be it with food, buying something nice I’m lucky enough to be able to afford. To do something trivial but be a little bit extra.
I’m not counting my macros, but I’m not going too overboard. Trying to get a happy balance.
Support those who are less fortunate: friends or businesses might’ve lost their income. Support any way you can, if you can.
What I haven’t been round to do but want to:
Tidy up: don’t I always want to, but never, sort out clothes and create space? Although boy is a bit of an organiser and has already sorted a few kitchen cupboards. Here’s hoping he makes it to wardrobes.
Set a fitness goals: due to my injury I lost pretty much all of my flex. Would be nice to start getting back to it.
Meditate/find more headspace: a life long struggle for me, no blame on the old COVID-19.
Don’t be too hard on myself: kindness should be all round – to others and yourself. The latter a huge struggle of mine that has improved a lot, but still a lot of work to to. Sometimes, “enough” is just enough.
There is a lot out of our control. I am worried sick about my family who had to close their business. But there is nothing I can do, and they are ok for now.
I keep living my best “one day at a time” philosophy. It has never been more relevant.
But ultimately, STAY THE FUCK HOME. Don’t meet with people outside your household. Don’t take the piss with the tiny allowance of outside time we have. WASH YOUR HANDS. Be kind – to yourself, to others.
The more you stick to the guidelines, the quicker this will be over. And be safe!