The spiral of self – care during a pandemic
For as long as I can remember anxiety and depression have been part of my life.
The problem with being stuck inside a lot of the time is that I can get stuck in that hamster – on – a wheel grind of going through the motions. I go to the supermarket because I have to, but for people who were depressed before Covid -19 it can be hard to believe you are worthy of self – care and love. So, things like watching a film that I would enjoy and become engrossed in, are completely abandoned. I can mindlessly watch several hours of TV, without too much awareness or enjoyment, but giving myself that 102 minutes! I don’t think so!
Also, going out for a walk that is ‘without purpose’ if you like (so not walking to a shop to buy essential items or go to an appointment that I have to attend in person) can be abandoned. Walking would be for enjoyment, the beauty of nature (in a busy part of London!) and to subdue that cooped up feeling. It would also be fantastic for my health. It is hard to break that chain of thought when not really looking after yourself and your body has been the status quo.
For that reason, doing things outside of ‘going through the motions’ and keeping myself alive have felt more difficult. I want people feeling the same under these circumstances to know that you are not alone.
It is difficult to follow a self – care routine or put time aside for yourself, when you haven’t previously made this a priority. Perhaps, a busy parent or caregiver, a key worker or someone for whom lockdown has made it feel difficult to get out of bed, we need this ‘me’ time now more than ever.
For me creativity helps. I tie dyed t shirts for myself. This may be one of the few productive things I’ve done, but it gave me a little burst of pride! (and it’s those little joys that count).
So, moisturise and look after your skin after all that hand washing. Maybe even paint your nails. Revel in adult colouring or whatever floats your boat, in the knowledge that I, only sometimes, take my own advice! Have bath, (safely) light (and blow out) a nice candle, if you are able help someone who is struggling with grocery shopping during the pandemic and try and get up and get out of bed, with the help of Joe Wicks! (He’s not literally going to visit your house, but you understand)
All in all, be kind to yourself and treat yourself like the unique, wonderous creature than you are!
In these strange times there is such pressure to have the ‘perfect’ lockdown, which in itself is a ridiculous thing to feel competitive about. All these instagrammers baking banana bread daily, majestic earth mothers creating different and inventive activities for your children to do everyday and people excelling at art during this ‘new normal’. I would paint for fun, they would be Picasso.
But however incredible these lives appear on media platforms that are filled with curated images, they still pick their noses when no ones looking and they still, I’m sure, have had days when not every moment is filled with something fulfilling.
The truth is looking after and being kind to yourself is fulfilling. Sometimes a bit of well deserved relaxation is key – and that boost leads to and sparks ideas. Do things for you
I’ve got the shorts and sunglasses on to go out for a walk now, as I’ve bored myself into submission!
It could be an UPWARD spiral!... one day at a time
(I wrote this a few weeks ago and education is now a big part of my life. I want to take some time to do this properly.)