04 April 2020

#3--Surviving a Pandemic when you have some Seriously Bitchin’ Anxiety.

Look, I’ll be honest, this could be the shortest post ever, because honestly, I don’t have a fuckin’ clue. 
I, along with literally everyone else in the world, have been having a hard time with the fact that everything seems to have gone to hell in a very large, rickety basket, that may or may not, have been built by a blind, inept toddler, who only has control over one arm.
It’s all just a bit mad, isn’t it?

Sunshine before the Social Distancing 
 My partner and myself are both classed as Key Workers, so we still have to go to work. Obviously, we’re both incredibly lucky to still a) have a job, and b) be well enough to get to work, but it’s still very difficult to get out of bed every morning, knowing that you’re putting yourself and your family at risk. As I’ve mentioned EXTENSIVELY before, I have some pretty sweet anxiety (try to not be too jealous), and anxiety in the time of Covid-19--much like love in the time of cholera--is really not the one. Or maybe it is, I never finished the book. Every time I get on the train for work, I worry that this will be the time I’ll get it, or every time he goes to work, I worry he’ll catch it from a customer who doesn’t feel like telling him that they’re quarantining. I worry about my family, his family, my friends, their friends; I am a constant ball of worry and stress. I try my best to keep my panic to a minimum, or at least keep it internal, because I’m worried if I told people how much I actually worry about literally everything, they might actually think I am insane. I mean, I'm even worrying about my worry. Everyday in work we sit and chat about what’s happening, and I can feel the panic rising inside, but I have to pretend that I’m not completely freaking out, so I have become the champion of Changing The Subject. 

‘Cold today, isn’t it?’ ‘Aye, a drink would be lovely.’ ‘Isn’t starting a new job in a the middle of a pandemic a terrible idea?’ Any number of inane subject changes, all to avoid talking about our spiralling into what I imagine an apocalypse feels like. It’s like 28 Days Later out there, except everyone’s fighting over toilet roll and battering old people out of the grocery aisles, rather than worrying about zombies.

With that all said, here are my top tips for not Completely Freaking the Fuck Out, I hope they help you, and if you have any other ideas, let me know! I am always open to more ways of not just being a ball of panic all the time. 

Find a place that makes you feel relaxed
1)  Change the subject! I am very open about this; I will just stop talking about something if it makes me uncomfortable. My go-to technique is to slowly stop replying, and then completely change the subject. I am not subtle about it, but I also have no shame in it. Don’t talk about things that make you feel shitty, or stressed if you don’t need to. 

2)  Avoid the news and social media! Keep up with developments when you can, or when you need to, but don’t submerse yourself in every piece of news that comes out, because you will drive yourself mad with worry. The media exists to inform, but also to sensationalise because they want you to keep clicking on their links, keep buying their papers, keep talking about their stories. Please remember that the media works as a business; not everything they say is with your best interests at heart, it’s with theirs. The more dramatic the headline, the more they sell. Take everything with a pinch of salt, and try not to just read every terrible piece of news emerging. Read what you need to be informed, and then click away. I’d take the same approach with social media, even though I am more than guilty of wasting hours on it. Facebook is littered with news that has never met a fact checker, Twitter is full of angry people and conspiracy theories, and Instagram is bursting with people who want to convince you their lives are better than yours. Get your fix, and then move on. 

3)  Find something Positive! Find something that makes you happy, something that makes you smile and forget what’s happening for a little while. I mentioned in my last post, I have started writing two good things that happen everyday. It’s not always easy, but it does force me to realise that not everything is terrible. So try finding something everyday that brings you a bit of joy, something that helps you see that not everything is awful, because if we only focus on the shitshow around us, we’d never want to leave the house anyway. With that being said, don’t feel like you have to be positive all the time to keep morale up, just keep on top of your feelings; if it all feels like it’s getting too much, talk to someone. You’re not under any obligation to do anything, other than take care of yourself. 

4)  Don’t put Pressure on Yourself! I’ve seen so many people setting mad goals for them to achieve during their self-isolation. Look, if you want to learn a new language, write the new War and Peace, or cure cancer, more power to you, but equally, if all you want to do is survive, then go on with your bad self. I’ve seen so many parents convincing themselves that they must educate their kids to the same level that their teachers would, and I mean what I am about to say in the nicest sense possible. Teachers are people who have trained how to teach your kid shit, stop trying to come up with a better curriculum than the trained professionals. Just do your best, make sure they don’t become illiterate, and enjoy an extra glass of gin to celebrate surviving spending another 24 hours enclosed with hyper children who are desperately trying to escape. All you can do during times like these, is look after yourself and the ones closest to you. 

5)  Keep Yourself Distracted! Listen to music, read a book, watch TikTok for 16 hours, find a new show to watch, find 10 new shows to watch, enjoy spending time with your family. I know that last part might be difficult when you’re stuck in isolation, and your kid has asked you for the 300thtime if they can have another biscuit, or if they can they go to the park, and you’ve watched your 75thepisode of Hey Duggee, but honestly, I’d love to be home with my kid, even if he is annoying the shit out of me, because at least we’d be safe. Just try and find something that makes it easier to see something good in each day. Maybe you get to watch a really sweet episode of Hey Duggee, or maybe that glass of wine at the end of the day tastes extra good. I’m not suggesting you take up alcoholism, but if a glass of wine helps get you through the days, you do you hun. Spend time in your garden, or go for a walk somewhere quiet. You are allowed to get fresh air, just don’t be a dick and go with 30 of your closest pals.  Break your day up with different activities, and hopefully it’ll help the time pass quicker.
A ray of sunshine.
I know these all seem very vapid, and when I’m feeling particularly anxious, the existentialism hits me hard, and I wonder what the point even is in any of it, because in the middle of all this; of life seeming to have ground to a stop for most of the world, of people dying, of people losing their jobs, their financial stability, it’s hard to see a point, it’s hard to find the hope. That’s the thing though; if we allow ourselves to just wallow in that despair, we will never come out the other side. To find the other side, we need to find a reason to look for it, and the only thing that gives reason to something like this, is hope. So even if these tips for helping you to Calm the Fuck Down, seem wildly obvious, hopefully seeing them written down will help keep them in your mind when it all feels like it’s getting too much. 

Keep safe, 

Becca

Motherhood, films, beauty, and life

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