I like to consider myself a fairly optimistic and cheery person, but with our national lockdown anniversary just passed, the charms of lockdown one are all but dead in the water, and even though the light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger and brighter every day, I won’t lie, every day we spend tunnel-bound is getting to be more and more of a drag.
There are endless screeds of “how to survive lockdown” blog posts out there, and the chances are that everything I have to say has been said before, but far too many of these posts are filled with fairly meaningless platitudes and advice that while in theory, is good, in practice when you’ve had a terrible day and you miss your mum and you miss the pub and you miss the cinema and you miss the sun, really isn’t all that helpful. So this is my advice for when you’re feeling your most mopey and most miserable, and a reassurance that whatever you’re doing, it’s probably alright, no matter what a thousand influencers would have you believe.
It’s Okay to be a Negative Nancy (in moderation)
It’s very, very easy to get stuck in a mentally muddy spiral, and while there is lots of advice out there to help cheer you up and keep you from the clutches of lockdown boredom, I think that sometimes, if you’ve had a terrible day and just want to stew, there is too much focus on doing everything possible to stay out of a rut, even if it’ll make you feel worse to ignore the fact you’re feeling rubbish. While, of course, it is inadvisable to stew in your own negativity for extended periods of time, sometimes the best thing you can do to feel better is, ironically, to let yourself feel worse for a few days.
When it’s All Gone Tits Up, Forgive Yourself
On a very similar note, give yourself a damn break! For the perfectionists and high-flyers among you, this might seem like a truly horrendous prospect, but honestly, life’s hard enough, so giving yourself that little bit of compassion can make all the difference. In a world of “started a side hustle in March and now I make six figures”, “I renovated a van in the summer and now I live a life of adventure on the road” “I posted inspirational quotes on the ‘gram and now I’m flying to Dubai”, I think lots of people forget that most of us have not only not done any of that, but we’ve eaten too many biscuits, not gone for a run every day (or any day) and left the dishes to pile up for a bit longer than we maybe should have, and that’s okay. Leave them for another day. The world isn’t going to end any more than it already has. It’s fine. Pinkie promise.
Glow-Ups are for Dweebs
Before y’all get ready to hate on me, if you’ve had a lockdown glow up, good for you! I’m genuinely happy that you’re feeling your best even through one of the worst times of our collective lives, and no one wants to take that away from you! So maybe skip this section if you’re feeling your blood start to boil and your home workout muscles starting to tingle.
With that said, if I see another lockdown “glow-up” I might actually run away to live in the woods for good, April 12th beer gardens be damned. The last year has been terrible, to put it very lightly indeed, and the idea that we should all be looking and feeling our best right now is honestly ridiculous. No one has had a haircut in at least six months, the post-Christmas gym rush was promptly cancelled and most of us don’t have a spare 300 quid to blow on a Zara haul. Plus, its 2021, are we still promoting the nonsense idea that being super fit and utterly gorgeous makes you a better person? I think not. We’re going to have made it through an awful period of time and get to see the people we love the most again, and that’s quite enough for me. Glowup shmowup.
Post-Lockdown Dread is Real
And I don’t just mean having to relearn all of your social skills again (although the thought of not wearing joggers and no bra to work every day is a truly upsetting one), I mean the post-lockdown fear of FOMO, or FOFOMO, as I will refer to it from here on in.
You can see it now, can’t you? The mountain of Insta Stories, TikToks, #photodumps and more of everyone frolicking with huge groups of friends and family every day of the week. However, the reality is that a lot of us (myself included), never did that to begin with, and yet I can already feel myself getting anxious about “what will people think if I spend a Saturday night in on my own!?”, even though I have always loved a Saturday night in. Will I be considered a pity case because I don’t want or have a 15-strong group of friends all in one place to go out with? What if I’m already hungover and someone asks me to go out again? What if I’m hungover and no one asks me to go out?
The FOFOMO is real and it’s hitting hard. Fortunately, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in feeling like this, so if we all just put on our big person pants and admit it, we might well be better off for it.
And that’s all the advice I have – follow it if you want, don’t if you don’t (God knows I’m very inconsistent with the application of my own rules), but remember that no matter how crap things look, you’ve made it this far, and you’ll make it to the end too (and you’ll even make it through the “end” as well – go you!). 💖