The world is a strange place and only getting stranger. This will be my fourth week in lockdown with many more weeks to come. In fact, I’m not sure there is an end in sight just yet, as the United Kingdom seems to be going through the so-called ‘peak’ at the minute, with hundreds of deaths being reported in the national media every day. It’s a horrible thought, and one I try not to let myself dwell on too much.
Another three weeks of lockdown was announced earlier this week by the government, so as things stand there is little hope of life going back to some kind of normality anytime soon.
As everyone struggles with their new realities, I have to remind myself that I am one of the lucky ones, with a roof over my head and a job, so far. But the change in circumstances has taken its toll on my day-to-day life, my routine, my thoughts and feelings and my reactions. Every day I receive reminders via email or through television advertisements that there is help available if I need someone to talk to, a friendly, listening ear. And it has only been this past week that I’ve appreciated that these types of services are out there.
Being forced to change your behaviour amid the fear and uncertainty of life during a pandemic can have a massive effect on the mind and body. Being prevented from moving freely about like you’ve done your entire life wrenches your senses into a different reality.
Exercise helps with mood swings
I’ve been experiencing some mood swings getting used to the new arrangements, much to the delight of my partner, although he’s had his moments too. It is difficult adapting and is something we are all dealing with in our own ways.
Exercise does help, but there’s only so much you can do inside a small house, despite what the keep-fit experts keep telling us on YouTube. I’ve been doing some stretches, but there is no way it will counteract the sheer amount of calories I’m ploughing into my body on a daily basis.
Yet, I shall persist.
An anxious feeling has been burrowing inside me and I’ve had to find other ways to deal with the changes to my life. In the evenings, I’ll try meditation using some great apps that are available for free during the crisis.
Bringing stability to thoughts
I haven’t got to the point in which I can tell whether it’s working or not, but I guess it must be working because over the past few days the feeling in the pit of my stomach has subsided somewhat. I shall try and do more, if only for a few minutes every day. It does bring some stability to the thoughts that can sometimes run wild inside my mind. Perhaps these feelings come with the thought of being trapped. A feeling that I’ve never been fond of and have taken pains to avoid.
Usually, we can quell such feelings of being trapped with thoughts and plans for the near and long-term future; a holiday, a night out, but of course, there are no plans to be made at the minute. The only plans in my mind are those of the next trip to the supermarket.
What will the next few weeks bring? There will be difficult moments for us all. I’ve definitely had a few ‘wobbles’, as they call it at my office, and it’s perfectly normal. There are wobble rooms at work specifically for people to go and relax in when they feel overwhelmed. We should all have a wobble room at home to have some alone time — whether to shout, scream, sit quietly and reflect, or simply find a bit of peace. Make sure you find yours.
— Christina Curran is freelance journalist based in Northern Ireland.