The Social Pressures of Achieving While Social Distancing: Covid-19

Anxiety is through the roof at the moment. Lots of people are worried about their vulnerable friends and relatives, while being unable to visit or comfort them in person. And just to top it off, I’m seeing so many influencers and social media users telling people all of the things they should get doing while they have ‘time off’ during the pandemic. Of course, if you feel like you’re in the right headspace, learning a new language or getting super fit might be the right thing for you to do to fill your time during lockdown. However this just isn’t the case for so many people. The pressure to achieve all these goals while living in extreme uncertainty can be massively overwhelming and counterproductive.

The most important thing in this situation is to put your health first; physical and mental. Please don’t feel like this time in limbo needs to be used to achieve things, putting yourself under that much pressure is so unnecessary and so bad for your mental health. Some people are suddenly finding themselves under extreme financial pressure. People are having to leave their university residence without closure or any idea of what comes next. Young adults are moving back into their family homes after having only just made it out. Vulnerable people are having to completely distance from all of their loved ones and suffering as their support systems struggle to cope with demand. Parents suddenly find themselves under the pressure of having to educate their children. If the only thing you come out of this lockdown with is your health then you have achieved something huge. If your biggest win of the day is getting out of bed, celebrate it.

The mute button on social media is my favourite thing. I’ve spoken about it before, but muting anyone who is making you feel inadequate is such a positive move for your mental health. Although I’ve seen so many positive corners of the internet recently, a social media detox is never a bad thing. Seeing people not taking the government advice seriously actually boils my blood and so I know it’s really not good for me to spend hours scrolling through Twitter. Give yourself a break. If you’re fed up of influencers telling you to take up a new hobby or start running everyday, get rid. You don’t need them and you won’t miss their input.

If you do feel like you need to do something new and create a routine, set small daily goals. In my house we’ve reorganised kitchen cupboards, planted seeds, baked a cake etc. Take every day one at a time. It’s okay to be stressed out and to find this time overwhelming but make sure you’re looking after your mental health. Don’t drown yourself in news. Look after yourself and your family members. Check up on your friends. Support key workers and keep safe.

R x

Saying Yes to More

I wouldn’t say that I’m a particularly outgoing individual.  Normally, the idea of going to an event alone, without anyone I know being there, would completely freak me out.  I like the comfort of having a friend there who I can follow about and get introduced to people by.  So, God knows why I signed up for a 10 day volunteering scheme 200 miles away, on my tod.

While procrastinating from my final essays of university, I was scouring my emails for job opportunities and came across a message from my course leader concerning Cheltenham Literary Festival.  I signed up to volunteer, almost as just something else to do for thirty minutes instead of writing my essays.  About two months later I was having a telephone interview in my lunch break, out the back of the pub I work in.  To be honest, I didn’t really expect much to come from applying on a whim.  I was shocked I was actually chosen for an interview.  Several months later I found myself on a train to Cheltenham, just me and my little bag.  I was a bit terrified to say the least.   I realised I was surrounded by people I didn’t know, who all seemed to know each other, and I was completely stuck.

My actual worst nightmare come to life.

I find it amazing that from this, I went on to have one of the best, most fulfilling experiences.  Forcing myself to speak to people and put myself in situations I’d otherwise avoid, made me realise how outgoing I can actually be.   I made amazing friends, some of who I’m still in contact with.  I met incredible people; Richard Curtis, Ruth Jones, and Simon Mayo to name a few.  I was overwhelmed by how rich and motivating the entire festival was for me.  I realised I was good at the things I wanted to do and although you can’t make everyone like you, you meet the loveliest of people in the weirdest scenarios.   I went to parties and helped at book signings and saw Michael Morpurgo in real life.

This year I hope I find more opportunities to say ‘yes’ to.  I want to do more things that are out of my comfort zone.  I don’t want to always feel safe.  It’s good to sometimes feel vulnerable and create a stronger you out of it.  I know this was only a tiny little thing in the grand scheme of things, but I’m quite proud of myself.  I applied for a thing, I was chosen for the thing, and I made the absolute most out of the experience.

Here’s to 2019 being full of fulfilling opportunities and chances to say yes to more.