Hey so don’t hate me, but I’m stressed about lockdown ending. I know that I’m not the only one, because I’ve read plenty of articles saying something similar (which is why I’m writing a blog post and not bothering to pitch this anywhere).
Even though the last two weeks have been Crap with a capital C, the thought of things going back to ‘normal’ fills me with a mixture of dread and relief, but mostly dread. Not because I’m having a particularly nice time in lockdown (although there have been good bits), but because I don’t see how I can get myself geared up for normality. I’ve got comfortable, safely cocooned in my family home, only exposed to the big bad world through the media.
Maybe ‘comfortable’ is the wrong word. My mental health is not good and my motivation/inspiration levels are unbelievably low (I was ecstatic when I came up with this blog post at like 1am because it meant I actually had something to do today), but I suppose there’s a certain safety in life at the moment. I have very few responsibilities and I don’t have to leave the house if I don’t want to. The world feels scary and unappealing.
At the same time, I’d go completely insane if this was my life now. Confused? Same. Let’s take a closer look at why I’m stressed about the end of lockdown:
1. I will actually have to be sociable
This sounds bad. OBVIOUSLY I love my friends. I don’t have loads, but I have a few really good ones, which I’m okay with. When I do hang out with people, I usually have a great time, but I’m the absolute worst when it comes to committing to a social event. I’ll leave Whatsapp messages unopened for days, stressing about having to agree on a date and time to meet up. I panic before one-to-one situations, thinking I’ll have nothing to say or it will be awkward, even if the other person is one of my best friends.
As an introvert, lockdown has given me a breather and an excuse to isolate myself. You’d think I’d have had enough time to recharge by now, but since Boris said we could socially-distance with one other person, the only person I’ve seen is my boyfriend. Lockdown has exposed me to my fear of FaceTime and phone calls, but most days that feels like just about all I can handle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to sitting in a pub garden with my pals in a few weeks, but I’m also stressed about having to be sociable again. (Please still invite me to things, just give me a couple of days to open the message).
2. I think I’ve forgotten how to do my job
Tbh I barely felt as though I could do my job before all this, let alone after 4/5/6 months off. Thinking about having to start working on the magazine again, I honestly have no idea I would manage to put together a 90+ page publication in a couple of weeks with only two other people. What was my digital filing system? What’s the house style? How does InDesign work? What questions do I ask this composer I’m interviewing? I’m hoping that it will all come back to me within a week or so, but right now it feels completely alien and as though I’d be starting the job from scratch again. When I go back, I think I’m going to need a lot of virtual hand-holding from my editor, which is making me feel s t r e s s e d.
3. I don’t cope well with change
Does anyone? Well I don’t, anyway. Before All This, 3 months in and I’d finally got used to my new life in London, going into the office and living away from home. Then all this happened and I’d just about got into the swing of working from home. Then I was put on furlough and for a few days I was a mess . What was I meant to do with my time? Was I bad at my job? (Read more about my thought processes here). But then I got used to furlough and lockdown life, even if it is rubbish sometimes. At least I know the score. Now things are changing again and what’s worse is that I don’t even know how they are changing. Will I be back at work? From home, or in the office? Will I be living in London or at home? Obviously there are worse things to be worrying about, but that doesn’t make these stresses any less powerful in my head.
4. My alarm will no longer only be a suggestion
Okay, there are definitely worse things to be worrying about. This isn’t really an actual stress, but it’s floating around my brain nonetheless. It pains me to admit it, because I’ve always been such an early bird, but lockdown has taught me how to lie in. And I honestly hate it. I feel lazy, guilty and actually more tired than I would if I’d been up a few hours earlier. But now I’m not sure how I will ever get up when my alarm goes off. What if I’ve become immune to it and this is my life now? HELP.
5. I won’t have time to do the things that have kept me going
During lockdown I’ve had to come up with things to keep me going each day, all of which I’m very privileged to be able to do. These include daily yoga, volunteering for an environmental charity, creative writing and freelance journalism. I’m worried that when I go back to my busy life, I will no longer have time to do any of the things on which I’ve become quite reliant. Maybe I won’t have to be reliant once I’ve got other things going on, but the thought of having to stop these things is kind of scary. I suppose I’ll need to reassess my priorities as life picks up again, and make time for the things that are important to me. I think lots of people will be reassessing their ‘normal’ and realising which parts of their life they don’t actually need anymore.
So yes, welcome to my brain. I really hope I’m not the only one feeling like this. Please message me if you can relate, because then at least I’ll know I’m not completely losing it. Sending lots of love and unstressed vibes.