Ok, so here comes an almighty whinge and moan: I have had enough. Already. Weekends, my usual sanctuary and blissful escape from the mundane every day slog have, this week, turned into a nerve-testing and patience finding exercise that had me fall onto the sofa in exhaustion by 4pm, not wanting to get up anymore, not one bit interested if the screaming from the kitchen was because the puppy nipped the children or the children bit each other, if the puppy pooped on the floor or if the toddler had taken off his trousers again and was whacking his sister with it (we do not condone violence in our house, this is, so everyone tells me, normal toddler behaviour…). I had to turn the Internet off again – a post telling me to chill out because Anne Frank managed to stay quietly in a small flat with hers and another family during World War 2 had the opposite effect it probably intended. Having read her diary multiple times and having stood in the back of a dimmed classroom, quietly wiping tears from my face whilst watching the film with students, I feel like a total failure for not handling this not going out malarkey. And then I get really mardy because I find it highly insulting (to Anne Frank) to drag Anne Frank into this. We are comparing apples and pears here. Our situation may feel like a war to us, a war against a virus and an infringement on our usual freedom, but comparable to World War 2 it is not. The intent may be to put things into perspective to us, and, when you look at it like that, then it certainly makes you feel grateful that you are simply being asked to stay at home. However, and I am going back to something I said in a previous post: Negating current feelings and experiences, just because someone else somewhere else is having a worse time is unhelpful and unkind. It is OK, in my opinion, to feel pants and be restless and irritated. Accept and acknowledge those feelings and make peace with them. As long as you don’t let them rule your existence and work on making things better for yourself, you are allowed off-days. Everyone has them.
How do I get through days like this? Well, without sounding like yet another advice board, here are the things I do:
– I run – every day. Not for hours, but even a quick 20 minute jog around the neighbourhood, come rain or shine, is a little mini therapy session.
– I drink lots and lots of tea (preferably herbal. I can’t hack too much caffeine).
– I tidy and clean. Highly unexciting but it calms my nerves.
– I put the TV on for the kids. I normally don’t like using the big box as a babysitter but when I need some headspace I give in.
– I write. One of the most therapeutic things I have ever done, it never fails me.
– I cook and bake. Again, it keeps me busy, I have something to do and it gives me a purpose. Plus, when I feel calmer and better, the fridge is full of wholesome meals. Bonus.
– I put on music. Music has been a part of my life since day 1 and it is much more soothing for my frazzled soul than deafening silence.
Whatever works for you, do it. Don’t beat yourself up. Your feelings matter and it is not a competition of who is the best at this isolation and lockdown business. Stay away from people and media that make you feel like crap. Chances are, those claiming to have it all figured out are secretly flapping and panicking themselves. They just hide it better. So keep going, you beautiful souls out there. Stay safe, sane and healthy. And if you do lose your marbles, then let them roll around for a bit but don’t forget to gather them up again and practise that all-important self care.