With this global pandemic, our everyday life has changed: our normal ways of getting around, going to work, going to school, meeting people, going to restaurants, bars, cinemas, it all changed in a blink of an eye.
When our routine changes, as human beings we need a little bit of time to adjust to that change. Depending on the nature of your work, you might not be used to work from home, attend classes online or not be able to set foot outside of your door — our usual course of life suddenly changed so it’s only natural that we take time to adjust, and not be as productive, creative or active as before. After all, we are facing danger, not knowing when this will end or how we can beat it.
We all have different coping mechanisms: some people are baking bread, learning new skills, doing home workouts — which are all excellent. But a lot of people are just trying to get through the day. The social isolation, the agonizing news and the responsibilities are enough. Doing it all in sweatpants, dirty hair and a bag of chips in your lap is not such a problem.
Every time I go online, I am bombarded with articles, photos, videos, telling me how to be active, how to stay healthy, how to be productive and stay positive during this lockdown. The latter is easier said than done. The online world is making me feel guilty for staying sane, doing the things I usually do when I am home: relax, eat whatever I want, watch Netflix, go on Instagram or not put on any pants.
I am constantly told to do something, to not waste time, to seize the moment. Now that I have too much time on my hands, I must be filling up my time by doing things, learning things, being productive. I understand how it’s important to keep the routine we had while staying at home, in order to stay healthy when this nightmare ends, but our mental health comes first.
So, it’s really not a big deal if we make ourselves a juicy homemade burger for lunch, or binge-watch our favorite series or check InstaStories every 5 minutes.
I just wanted to point out that if you feel like you just want to do nothing all day, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you feel like a failure at times because you’re not making the most of the time given to you, don’t worry. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to be messy. It’s okay to grieve.
Allow yourself to feel the reality of what you’re going through. If you feel like this is too much, it’s because it is. Here are five things that are okay for you to do during lockdown in your house:
1. It’s okay to eat whatever you want: as much as it’s important to follow a healthy diet, to lower your sugar or carb levels, it’s also okay to eat those salt & vinegar chips or the chocolate bar you have in your pantry. In moderation of course. If eating your favorite foods provides you joy, then take that mental break.
2. It’s okay not to be productive: it’s hard enough to be productive during normal times, let alone during a pandemic. Maximizing the time you have on your hands now seems like the ideal thing to do but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not able to finish all the things on your to-do list.
3. It’s okay to watch Netflix all day: catching up on shows is a form of entertainment, and honestly, we need something to get our mind off things right now; we need this kind of comforting distraction.
4. It’s okay to take naps or sleep late/wake up late: if you’re like me, I’m sure you LOVE taking naps. There’s nothing better than eating, and then having a nap. That might mess up your sleep schedule. It’s also okay to sleep late and as a result wake up late as long as it doesn’t interfere with any online appointments you have scheduled.
5. It’s okay to be on your phone: it’s a crucial time to check on friends and family in times like this. Our smartphones helps us talk to people, and using Social Media lets us see what other people are doing, checking if they’re safe, it also gives us memes — another entertainment form we need to lighten up our moods.
I am not saying that you should do these 5 things during all the social distancing time or that you should not create a routine for yourself. Work, study, cook, put on pants, take care of your skin — I am just pointing out that it’s okay to do these 5 things in moderation, or anything that makes you feel comfortable, just to keep you sane, without making you feel guilty.
During this time, it’s extremely important to be kind to yourself and to be patient in order to adapt to your new routine. Take it day by day, take care of yourself, take it easy and stay at home.