This is certainly something I never thought I would experience in my lifetime. It’s weird. It’s terrifying. It stops me sleeping most nights. Other times all I want to do is sleep so I don’t have to think about it any more. In some ways, this might be the biggest blessing some of us will ever get, the point we look back at in the future and think ‘that’s where it all started, that’s when my life changed forever’. We won’t know that for a long time yet, though.
We’re entering our third week of lockdown at the moment, and at this point some would say we should be used to it, that this is how life is now. That we just have to accept it, and yes, to a certain extent we do. But this is not what anyone had planned, three weeks is not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things to deal with the total derailing of one’s life. It is more than okay not to be okay.
I know many of you don’t know me, so here’s a very brief background: I am an actress, I am self employed, and now because of corona, I am unemployed. I can’t work from home, my days have zero structure any more (I’m literally writing this at 2am…) and I’m not really sure what to do with myself. This leaves a lot of thinking time, and to an over-thinker like me this is BAD NEWS. So how am I dealing with this? Well the truth is, I’m not really. I don’t think many people are. But there are some things I’ve tried to do which are helping me, and I hope can help you too.
Give Yourself Time and Space to be Upset
Everything in moderation – no one can keep it together all the time. This situation is bonkers, there’s no guidebook on how to deal with it. So let yourself wallow a bit, look back at old travel photos and feel sad that you can’t go anywhere exciting right now. Then let yourself be excited about all the incredible places you’ll visit when this is over, and how much more precious those memories will be because of it! Same applies to seeing friends and visiting family and everything else you’re missing, even if it’s just going outside. This sucks, there’s no doubt about it. So let yourself process that and then train yourself to look forward to the future.
Don’t Think About the Future
I know this contradicts the very sentence I’ve written before this – hear me out. We don’t know how long this is going to go on for, there is no way we can possibly tell. Nothing like this has happened in a comparable history – yes I know, Spanish Flu 1918, but that was a hundred years ago in a very different time. It’s not the same. I have found myself completely spiralling some days wondering what I am going to do when life-after-corona comes around. How will my career pick up again? How will I pay for class? Will I be able to afford to travel into London for auditions? If this is you too, STOP. It is unproductive, and it is completely out of your hands. Do what you can to keep your mind and body sharp and fit, but beyond that, don’t think about things you can’t do anything about. Save yourself some agony.
Teach Yourself A New Skill
There are websites such as Skillshare which are waiving membership fees or giving extended free trials during this time. Scribd is another company who are allowing free access to their service (an abundance of sheet music and e-books for any of you musicians or readers out there!) while this pandemic continues. Why not take advantage of it and learn something new? There’s no pressure on you to be 100% productive 100% of the time, that is just unreasonable, but I promise you’ll feel better if you use at least some of your days working towards something.
The Usual Stuff
I won’t bore you all with repeating the same things we’ve heard over and over again. Books, TV, daily walks, exercising at home, animal crossing, puzzles, games, blah blah blah. We all know the stuff we can do to stay sane and keep healthy. So make sure you’re doing it!
Talk to Friends!
I cannot stress this enough. My worst days have been the days where I haven’t spoken – not texted, SPOKEN – to a human being that does not live in my house. Phone someone at least once a day, whether it’s to cry or laugh or just have a gossip. Please talk to the people around you. Case in point: this evening I felt horrific. I phoned my best friend, we did some immensely hard Harry Potter trivia questions together, I felt fantastic again after laughing with her. It works, I promise!
That’s the end of my rambling post. I’m no expert, and these are only the things that have helped me so don’t take me as gospel, but I’m fairly sure I’m not talking complete nonsense. If anyone needs to talk my DMs are always open, whether I know you well or not. Stay safe, stay sane, stay HOME.