It’s okay not to be okay. And it’s okay to be okay.
It is July 1st and 2020 has hit us hard.
Only in the darkness you can see the stars – Martin Luther King Jr.
It started off with the prospect of a war and then we were faced with the global spread of a pandemic. I am sure when most of us ushered in the new year, we were expecting new beginnings and hopes of a successful year; the promises of New Year’s resolutions listing all the amazing things we wanted to achieve. Well COVID-19 came through and put most, if not all, of our plans on hold. For some people, the virus has done much worse, it has brought despair and loss.
In the UK, we have been under lockdown for over three months now and everywhere we look, there are articles and blogs written on how we can use this period to get a lot of things done – to be productive.
Social media posts on how we should spend all this free time doing all the things we have been putting off, like writing a book or recording an album. In fact, in the beginning, I was one of those people who encouraged a positive outlook in this dire situation – advising friends and colleagues to stay active, create a routine and work on being their better selves. Even though it was well intended, it contributed to the spread of toxic positivity, switching off anything that is deemed negative.
What I failed to realise was that we are in a CRISIS.
These are not normal circumstances. Ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by this virus, reflecting the systematic racism that exists, and people are losing their lives at an alarming rate. This situation is unprecedented and sadly, we do not know what the outcome will be (and nor does Boris for that matter). Talks of a “second wave” in Sep/Oct have also been forecasted.
There are people who have used this situation to work on forgotten projects and plan how they will make their millions, but you do not have to.
Despite lockdown measurea being eased, here are some ways you can deal with the current situation and ease yourself back into normality:
It is okay to be upset, to go through periods of anxiety and defeat. Being stuck at home, and having your life change dramatically, affects your mental health. But just know, you are not alone. I think it is super important to allow yourself to feel, to admit that things are not okay and let your emotions flow through.
I don’t know about everyone else, but naps usually make me feel so much better. They enable me to briefly escape my reality and come back well rested.
Switch your phone off
Take a break from the outside world when you can. Everywhere we turn there is news or content about this virus- sometimes we do not want to hear it. Especially the forwards from family and friend group chats (if only we can leave WhatsApp groups without it being announced to the group)
Watch series/movies in the middle of the day
My lunch breaks consist of Netflix and left-over food from the night before- I love it.
Someone told me that we should be physically distancing not socially distancing. Talk to family or friends if you are struggling. Tell your Line Manager that this way of working does not work for you and you need to explore alternatives of how things should be conducted for you to produce your best work. If you feel that your mental health is on the decline, there are services that offer online counselling. Remember it is okay not to be okay.
I want to stress that self-care is important, especially in these times when things are so uncertain. Not only should we take care of ourselves physically but also, we should also take care of our mental and spiritual health.
Be kind to yourself, stay safe and stay at home.