That’s right, you’ve read that right. I won’t be using this time to suddenly work on all the things that need improving in my life. I don’t have the mental or emotional capacity at this point in my life, and especially during this COVID-19 self-isolation/lockdown break to suddenly work on all the little things in my life that need improving. I’m not about to start a new work-out routine so I can emerge 30kgs lighter or emerge a complete expert in plant keeping. I am in a period of grief right now and I don’t have the capacity to do more than my normal things. And if we are all honest with ourselves, we are all grieving together.
Grieving the freedom we have lost
Grieving our connections to friends and families
Grieving our faith in our institutions
Grieving the jobs we have lost
Grieving those who have already been lost to us due to the virus
Grief is really weird and it drives people to do things that we wouldn’t usually do in normal circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, I find it really admirable that people are going out of their way to make some light in this difficult time and if that’s what you want to do, then that’s really good on you and a part of me wishes I had the same desire to be the most productive I have ever been. Secretly inside though, I just want to rest and hide out the storm. I am not ashamed to admit I am scared and worried for all my family and friends, especially since so many of them fit into the category of those who are the most vulnerable. And while I can usually find solstice in social media in finding people who think like me, I am also shouted at about all the ways I could be improving my life. My grief is manifesting itself in just clinging onto to anything that distracts me and keeps me thinking about anything but coronavirus.
So what am I planning on doing during this social distancing? Not much, I am going my best I can to keep my routine. On the outside it really does look like I’ve ramped up my productivity, starting a cooking blog, increasing my instagram presence and planning all sorts of things, but these were all plans I had in place well before we were put into self administered house arrest. On the inside I am holding myself together by just going through my daily motions, nothin fancy or too extreme, just waking up everyday and making sure I put effort into the things that start my day. For me at the moment, that is definitely following my morning skin routine, followed by breakfast then work. If it’s my week to work from home, I get dressed for the day. If I stay in my trackies all day it sets me up for a day of restlessness because I can’t separate what is work and what is home stuff. I need that separation. My routine is what is grounding me.
I know at the moment that my coping mechanism is just trying to distract myself as much as possible from the current situation. If that means I have to mute my news notifications, then so be it. If it means I am probably comfort eating more than usual, so be it. This isn’t a normal time for anyone and everyone is running on high levels of stress and anxiety, whether consciously or subconsciously, so I am telling you, you do not need permission to just let yourself get feral, if that’s what is going to get you through this time. So if that means you still follow your routine, but by the time the weekend comes around you check out. Let. it. happen. Do not let anyone tell you, whether on social media or in your life tell you to seize the opportunity and work on your best yourself.
My piece of advice? Your best self during this time could just be the fact that you get up in the morning to take a shower instead of lying in bed. Your best self during this time could be the person who gives the kids cereal for dinner because you don’t have the energy to cook. How about during this time we recognise that our best selves is a continuum that changes to suit our environment and our needs? My best self right now is the fact I can get myself out of bed to have coffee in the sun. I don’t expect anything more from me at this moment of time. My best self right now is just doing the best I can to spend time on the things that give me joy. So best believe I am reading all the books and face masking and cooking up a storm in the kitchen. I hope your best self can find the time to in these times.
When this is all over, I cannot wait to get back to my original routine, but right now, I am quite satisfied with the routine I have now, even if it’s the bare bones of functioning.