As I write this, we are currently coming to the end week three of lockdown, a review is imminent and although no one is really ready to say it out loud, we know this is going to be extended.
So, as we stare down the barrel of at least a few more weeks of staying home, I wanted to talk about the pressure all this extra time can put on us.
I don’t know about you, but my social feeds are full of people baking (banana bread mostly), creating their own home workout sessions, getting crafty, revamping their homes, and let’s not forget those annoying Tik Tok videos (unpopular opinion I know but I don’t get it?!). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been baking away in my kitchen – never have I ever made so many cakes. I’ve been sticking to my regular runs and taken advantage of the numerous free home workouts dominating Instagram Live over the last few weeks, but there is an underlying pressure that runs deeper than all of this.
There seems to be some unwritten rule that when we come out of lockdown, we should have all undergone some kind of transformation… We all need to be super fit with abs… We should have learnt a new language…. We should have turned ourselves into the next Nigella…. This lockdown is hard enough on our mental health, without this added pressure.
For me, I started working from home shortly before lockdown officially started and apart from having to stay in weekends and not going out for the occasional mid-week dinner, my routine wasn’t THAT drastically different. Yes, working from home meant without the commute, I have slightly more time at home in the evenings but, in the week especially, life wasn’t that different. Pre-lockdown I would get home, go for my run, cook tea, meander around the house, tidying things here and there, and then like most people, pick up my phone or a book and have Netflix playing in the background until it was time for bed ready to do it all over again the next day.
Put me in lockdown and I started running myself ragged – I would sign out of work (the dining room) and get straight out on a run (nothing too unusual there). Then I would head to the gym (my living room or the garden depending on the weather) to take part in an Instagram Live workout. Onto the kitchen to cook up a storm – no average weekday dinners here though I was making shepherds pie, roast dinners, casseroles and whilst they were cooking, I was whipping up a Victoria Sponge. I would be on the go all evening because I felt like I had to… Because I felt everyone else would be achieving so much more. Over the weekends – this was times by 100. I wasn’t giving myself a break.
After being non-stop for 10 days, I had a day off… I did nothing but lay on the sofa watching films and eating what I wanted to eat… And I felt guilty. It was then I started to question why. Why did I feel like this? Why did I feel under so much pressure? Was I going to get judged for not getting enough done during lockdown?
Of course not – the reality is we are all doing our best, and that’s ok. Some are handling this situation better than others, but don’t compare yourself to anyone. This situation is unique, we could never have predicted this happening in our lifetime. We have never been through it before and there is no right or wrong way to deal with it. The most important thing is to look after your mental health and be guided by what makes you feel good – and, if you’re anything like me, it will be different from one day to the next.
It’s ok if some days all you do is watch Disney +.
It’s ok if you haven’t got that six pack yet.
Don’t feel guilty, don’t put yourself under pressure and as always don’t necessarily believe what you see on social media…. It might look like people are living their best lockdown life, but it’s only their highlight reel. You’re doing just fine.