Well, since I posted last, the world’s done a 360 on us all, hasn’t it? It’s a very uncertain, unsettling and frankly, scary, time for everyone – internationally, and I’ve been spending the past week or so trying to get my head around it all. What it means for our financial security, lifestyles and, most importantly, health of our loved ones and ourselves. I didn’t want to come back on the blog with a blog post about the Coronavirus, because it’s all we consume on the news and through our social feeds at the moment, and it’s incredibly overwhelming. However, a much-needed dose of positivity is needed and through this heartache we’re seeing some wonderful acts of human kindness towards vulnerable people, each other and the planet. It’s this positivity we’ve got to hang on to, and it’s something we need all the more of over the months ahead.
But I’ve also seen a great dose of people – me, included – ‘feeling bad’ about many opinions, thoughts and feelings they’ve wanted to voice surrounding this whole apocalypse-feeling scariness. And that is one great big barrier to the growth, shared humanity and positivity we so need during this time. So today, I didn’t particularly want to be adding to the whole Coronavirus mayhem online, but I thought it necessary to speak frankly about some things it’s ACTUALLY TOTALLY OKAY to be feeling right now. It’s time we stop apologising for how we feel, trying to be polite and trying to bury away certain feelings – let’s vent about how we feel, take solace in the shared humanity of our feelings, and then move on into some much-needed re-framing of positivity about this whole experience wherever it’s possible. So, here goes – here are some things it’s totally okay to feel right now (however much we’re trying not to admit them):
1) It’s okay to admit you’re upset/angry/downright pissed off about plans being destroyed thanks to the virus – everything is relative
My dream internship in London, which I felt like so much in my personal life was banking on, got cancelled days before I was about to move down to the city. So many of my friends and relatives have had hugely important plans that have been years in the making cut off/cut short by this pandemic. So much money has been on the line, whether that be losing money through plans being cancelled, or by job losses and reductions in working hours. All of this, whilst heartbreaking, seems insignificant when you think about the thousands of lives this horrendous virus is cutting short. We feel compelled to squash our anger, bury it deep inside to never think of again; put on a brave face because the situation is much, much worse for others. But this is in no way healthy for our mental health and burying feelings only means they’ll bubble to the surface in a much more volatile form later down the line. It’s okay to admit you’re pissed off or upset. We’re all bloody pissed off and upset. It’s a human-sized collective bubble of pissed off and upset. But none of us want to admit it or feel like we can admit it. But we can and should – because being upset about your own disasters doesn’t mean you’re incapable of feeling pain for others’. After feeling our collective pain, then we can focus on trying to bring something positive from this big mess.
2) It’s okay to admit you can’t face reading anything else on the news
It’s imperative we stay informed. It’s so, so important we know the latest restrictions on the public, latest hand-washing tips and statistics regarding how deadly the virus is, so we can act accordingly and quickly to prevent its spread. However, there becomes a point. Clicking on your phone’s news app and instantly being inundated with articles only relating to the Coronavirus outbreak is terrifyingly overwhelming. Chatting to any of your friends or family over the phone means all you’ll be talking about are topics relating to the pandemic. Staying inside and actively ensuring you limit your social contact is a constant reminder that the virus is a real threat. Everywhere we turn, physically or virtually, we cannot get away from this new reality. That is overwhelming. We feel we shouldn’t admit we’re overwhelmed, when there are fricking heroes in the NHS fighting every waking second around the clock to cure the collateral of the outbreak. But it IS okay. We’re all doing our bit however we are able to do it: whether it’s fighting to save lives, helping an elderly neighbour with their shopping or just purely actively staying inside to limit the spread of the disease. We all need to switch off from it, and that’s okay.
3) It’s okay to admit you’re enjoying shutting yourself off from the world right now
You may be an introvert. You may have been worn out from your daily commute to work. You may have been going through an anxious patch and felt like hiding yourself away anyway. If you’re currently – and I say currently because there really is only so much social distancing humans, who crave social experiences by nature, can take – enjoying this unexpected chance to lead a solitary life for a little while, that’s okay to admit!! We’ve got to fight this scariness through human spirit, and positively attempting to re-frame our current experiences is the only way our mental health will get through this period. We’ve got to stay positive and find the best in every day, so if you’re currently liking the idea of holing yourself up in your living room for the forseeable, good on you!
4) It’s okay to admit you’re struggling
Regardless of your circumstance, whether you’re perfectly healthy and isolating for the good of everyone else, with luckily no family members with underlying health conditions to worry about, it’s still okay to admit you’re struggling. Again, we may not feel the right to feel like the world is crashing down and every breath is hard when we’ve got people fighting for their lives every second and heroes in the NHS working around the clock to save our country. But unprecedented, scary times that collectively rock the entirety of the world are rightly terrifying, and they’re affecting all of us. For people who suffer with anxiety, this ‘I-can’t-go-outside-because-what-if-something-bad-happens’ mentality we’re all having to have right now is something people struggling with their mental health often have to feel on a daily basis. Being terrified of the ‘what ifs’ is something that plagues many people suffering with mental illnesses. If you’re struggling, please don’t believe you ‘shouldn’t’ be and ensure you reach out to someone you trust, or to a GP or mental health charity. Not only is our physical health important in this time, our mental health is too.
5) It’s okay to admit you enjoy working from home
No commute! No putting-on-your-chatty-face if you’re not in the mood for it! Nice-up-top, joggers-on-bottom! There are many positives to having the chance to work from home; it’s just the reason we’ve been told to work from home that’s saddening. It’s! Okay! To! Admit! You’re! Feeling! Positive! About! Something!!
6) It’s okay to admit you’re absolutely hating working from home
In a time where we’re all terrified of our financial security and desperate to win our boss’ approval for ‘most-hardworking-in-a-crisis’, it may feel like a crime/a surefire way to be on the chopping block if finances drop to admit to your boss that you’re struggling to work from home. Whether it’s because you’re a junior member of the team and feel like you have to ask a million and one questions a day, or whether there are too many temptations (hello, Netflix) around you when you’re working, if there’s anything you feel your line manager could help you with, don’t hesitate to ask. It’s okay to admit you’re struggling to adjust.
7) It’s okay to admit you’re happy/proud of something that coincidentally has happened at the same time a worldwide pandemic is crushing humanity
Although it feels like life has ground to a halt, which it most definitely has, life has a funny way of still happening around you whilst the world is crumbling. People are moving their marriages forward to get hitched whilst they still can, people have bought houses, mothers have given birth and general life ‘wins’ we’d usually celebrate have coincided with the apocalypse. It’s okay to admit you’re happy or proud if something happens during all of this. It’s not flaunting, it’s not being careless and ignorant of everything currently going on – it’s some much-needed positivity we all want to desperately celebrate with you on!
8) It’s okay to admit you’re cutting yourself off from those who aren’t taking this seriously
If there’s one thing you can do to save your mental health at this time, it’s to remember that sadly, we do have no control of what other people are doing. You can’t control another’s actions and you certainly can’t control the world. It’s hurtful and scary seeing people flouting the Government’s social distancing/self-isolation rules. Even if you understand the severity of what’s happening to the world, it’s sadly unavoidable that some people just will not want to listen. Unless we go on lockdown, which will *hopefully for the sake of slowing the spread of the virus* be happening soon, we can’t control the actions of silly individuals who clearly don’t understand what risk they’re bringing to themselves and those they love right now. We’ve just got to do what we know is right and hope and pray others will follow suit and that this can therefore blow over as soon as, literally, humanely possible.
9) It’s okay to admit you’re excited to use this time to finally learn that new skill
Realised, with a pang of excitement, that this is finally a chance for you to get through that pile of books you bought for your all-inclusive getaway in 2015 and never actually opened?! Had the brainwave to use this time to start a side hustle or learn the language of love (by that I mean French, not the chance to spice up your sexy times, but I mean go ahead as long as it’s with someone you live with and you continue to social distance, you hear me?) – good on you! I don’t know how many times I want to hone this point, but seriously, in order for us all to get through this terrible time and in order for us to take lessons from this experience and grow, it’s imperative we re-frame it into a positive experience wherever it is possible to do so. What’s happening is heartbreaking and a terrible experience for everyone, but we’ve got to find the good in each and every single day. So you do you, and find what makes your smile a lil sunshine.
10) It’s okay to admit you don’t want to use this time to do anything but binge Netflix and certainly not learn a new skill
Again, if you’re seeing social feeds of people claiming to have knitted a new home for themselves or having written their life memoir plus their first novel whilst social distancing, it’s totally okay to admit you’re just not into taking this time to upskill. Sitting on the sofa and bingewatching all those boxsets you’ve wanted to get through is a mean feat in itself, and taking this time to switch off and recharge your batteries is an equally positive use of this new life that’s been thrust upon us. Don’t feel pressured by anyone else’s quarantine goals and just do what feels right for you right now.
Finally, it’s okay to admit you’re bloody well not going to talk about the Coronavirus
It’s refreshing to have some business-as-usual normality around these parts. We’ve all had to force ourselves into a new way of life in literal days and it’s not short of overwhelming. Talking about something other than the Coronavirus doesn’t make you a bad person – it means you’re taking a break and trying to bring some more positivity to the social media/physical life sphere. However you choose to spend this time – minus the social distancing/self-isolation rule, please very much stick to that one – you can do however you choose to do. I hope this post has helped voice some things we’ve all been thinking, as a ‘hey, you know what, it’s okay to be how I am right now’ – let’s all club together at this time and work through this shared human experience together. I’ll be back with another post sometime this week – or perhaps next Sunday – stay safe and positive and do all you can to slow the spread of this bitch of a virus. x