Can We Mentally Survive Another Lockdown?

Just as we thought we were rising above the abomination we call 2020, all the sudden it feels like we are back at square one. I’m not going to lie to you, throughout the months of September and October, there were moments that I forgot there was a world-wide pandemic happening. I was so wrapped up in work and school and well, the election, that somewhere within those months, I stopped wiping down my groceries, and I didn’t feel nervous going into stores and restaurants. I found myself letting my mask fall beneath my nose for a couple minutes and I began seeing more people, for visits on their birthdays and other occasions. And I know I am not the only one.

 

But then all of the sudden the election was over, which also meant the constant coverage in the news was over as well. The electoral vote updates that laid permanently on the right side of my TV screen, is now some number in the millions, representing US covid cases.  I was slapped in the face with reality as I watched News 12 Long Island, with headlines that read “New York’s record-breaking covid numbers” and “Cuomo puts in place 10pm curfew in New York” and other news media talk of another potential economic shutdown. (It is amazing how much the media determines what we think about, but that is a discussion for another time).

 

Now all the questions are flying back and forth like it’s March 2020 again. How will families survive another shut down as they still try to financially recover from the last one? Is 4-6 weeks of shut down even enough? What if it has to be longer? What could this shut down really mean for the new presidential administration? As we stare down what could potentially be a repeat of March-July, the biggest concern that crosses my mind is, can we  survive another mandatory quarantine, mentally?

 

As an extrovert myself, I am not so sure I can handle it. Going out and meeting new people is one of my favorite things to do. I am a very friendly person, and frankly, I love that about myself. Being outside and doing new things, whether it be something simple like shopping at the mall or taking a trip and seeing new sites is my idea of a great day; and although I love my fair share of Netflix and ice-cream, I wouldn’t ever consider myself a homebody or introvert. I always thought this was one of my best qualities, until Covid hit. Being sent home from school in New York City, and having to quarantine inside all day everyday, is definitely not how I wanted to spend a year of my college experience.

I went from being in one of the biggest and most diverse places, to trapped in my childhood bedroom (an extrovert’s worst nightmare). In the beginning I thought it would be a nice relaxing time. Thinking maybe I could finally catch up on schoolwork, and I won’t be crazy busy trying to balance my schedule. I can return to enjoying my hobbies, reading and writing, maybe improving my drawing and sewing skills. But I quickly remembered why I kept myself so busy, it’s because I get bored easily. I don’t enjoy being stuck in the same position for long periods of time, I never have. I don’t like being in the same job position for too long, I hate when movies are longer than a couple hours, I can’t eat the same things over and over, I get BORED.

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The idea of another shut down brings chills up my spine. I know that I will struggle a lot if I am forced to stay at home for another couple of months. I know that I will get bored. Mentally, I will feel secluded and lonely again. My sense of independence has been diminished,  however, being independent is how I thrive. I will feel like I am not doing anything to progress myself further, and I will be mad at myself for it. It will be an endless cycle of blaming myself for something that has no fault.

But how about the rest of the country? I know I am not alone in this.

 

In the wake of another period in time where we will find ourselves sleeping in a little too late, drinking a little too much, binge watching for a little too long, it is important to remind ourselves that this isn’t our fault. We do not always have to be productive, and it’s okay to take time for yourself and rest. But it is also important to make sure we aren’t sulking in our beds, making ourselves feel bad for taking that break.

I felt like the moment I started feeling bad for laying in bed all day, was also the moment I realized a break was no longer good for me. I had lost all motivation, I had severe writers block, and I wanted nothing but ice cream and Netflix.

 

It is hard to push ourselves up from taking a break, but we need to try a little something every day. So, if we do happen to need another state or national shut down, just remember to accomplish a little something every day. Make your bed, cook yourself a yummy meal (Try some of Blush’s Easy Vegan Recipes), decorate your room for the upcoming holidays, write about your day in a journal, complete one school assignment (Take a look at Blush’s Tips and Tricks for focusing), FaceTime you classmates. Easier said than done, of course; but we have one thing now that we didn’t have the first time around, notice. We can prepare our minds and bodies because we have been through it before. Create a list of goals this time around, order yourself some tools to help you get through. Most importantly, reach out. Here at Blush, we are always happy to talk to our readers. DM us on Instagram at @Blushmagazine or email me personally. Blush is a safe space for anybody who wants to chat.

 

Check out some mental health online resources here:

  1. https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/mental-health-and-coping/index.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  3.  https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/tools-resources/index.htm

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