As we continue with lockdown 2.0 in India, we have already been cooped up in our homes for 21 days and to continue the ordeal for two more weeks may appear to be difficult. More time on our hands, limited social interaction, too much screen time and seeing the same faces every day seems to be getting on our nerves. Yes, we are more privileged than some. We have a home, work that can be done from our homes, food, internet, a support system and safety from human proximity in these scary times. Yet, human proximity is exactly what we’ve begun to crave. For the first time, we have been dumped with a whole lot of me-time. Me-time—not by choice but by compulsion. ‘Me, myself and I’ are all some people have, especially those living alone, and it can definitely drive you crazy.
I’ve discovered that my mental health depends, more than I assumed, on the people and situation around me. Isolation worsens anxiety and reading the news can make the anxiety spiral out of control.
While me-time is a welcome change for a few, and quite a familiar, comfort zone for introverts, this extension under the current situation is an entirely different ball game. We are social animals, we look forward to interacting with others (some more than others ) and need company. Courtesy this global pandemic and an indefinite lockdown, we are now our own company and hopefully, we’ll learn to love it.
This me-time has led me to discover a whole new ‘me’. Though an introvert, I actually miss meeting people, I miss travelling, I miss a life that I had taken for granted and am suddenly so much more grateful for everything that I do have. At the same time, I’ve discovered that my mental health depends, more than I assumed, on the people and situation around me. Isolation worsens anxiety and reading the news can make the anxiety spiral out of control. Overthinkers (c’est moi) now have much more time to over-overthink and it’s so not funny. We are coming face-to-face with our imperfections now more than ever.
So, why not use this mandatory me-time to work on them and accept them?
- Impatient? Try learning a new skill or teaching someone something new. See it to its completion.
- Don’t know how to cook? Look up a simple recipe and cook something with the available ingredients.
- Have any abandoned hobbies? Get back to them. Your body still remembers how to hold a paintbrush or strum that guitar or work a chisel. Creating something new, however, amateur it is, it's a joy.
- Feel unhealthy? Dance. Exercise. Meditate. Find a way that keeps your body happy and healthy.
- Feel lonely? Call up someone. You might be surprised to hear they’re feeling the same.
- Feel that you lack skills in certain areas? Upgrade yourself. There are a lot of online courses available.
- Can’t find the motivation to do anything? That’s okay too. Unplug. Sleep. Relax. Breathe. Just be. It’s completely okay not to do anything sometimes.
The virtual world and the Instagram era can sometimes make us feel our imperfections more acutely. How do we keep up with all the #goals, trends and challenges if we don’t feel up to it? You don’t have to. Take the good things that the virtual world offers—solidarity, motivation and some kind words that can help us feel less isolated.
Have any abandoned hobbies? Get back to them. Your body still remembers how to hold a paintbrush or strum that guitar or work a chisel. Creating something new, however, amateur it is, it's a joy.
We aren’t perfect and that’s okay. If perfection existed, progress wouldn’t. We can use this time to embrace our many imperfections, understand ourselves and love ourselves a little more. Like Elizabeth Gilbert said, “Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” We will hopefully be more understanding and empathetic towards ourselves and one another when this pandemic ends.
Image Credit: Autumn Goodman, Unsplash
The views expressed are the author's own.