Lockdown has been strange, but I am more scared about it ending

When lockdown was first introduced, it was a scary concept. No one had ever experienced anything like it before so there was literally nothing that my mind could cling to. However, it wasn’t long before I had adapted to a new routine, and the thought of altering this is frightening.

My routine involves the following few things:

– Yoga
– Painting (badly)
– Reading (slowly but steadily reaching my 40 books in 2020 Goodreads challenge)
– Tidying

What has been so lovely in lockdown is time away from everyone and everything. With deadlines pushed back, I find myself having time to do things I have wanted to do for years (including, but not limited to, the list above).

Lockdown has made me realise the pressure I felt before to be doing something, or seeing someone, most days of the week, rather than be perceived as “lazy”. But, what’s wrong with being lazy, if you’re happy and healthy too? Sure, I do miss my friends. I can’t remember the last time I saw some of them, but I also love my own company. I haven’t had this amount of time for myself and my mental health since before secondary school and it is so refreshing.

With this lack of pressure to be doing things, I have managed to get my creative juices flowing, after lacking for months. I am less exhausted, despite getting less sleep, and I look forward to starting the days. Turns out, to-do lists are a lot more fun when you are choosing what you want to do – who knew?!

That’s one reason why I’m frightened for lockdown to end – I’ll miss having all this extra time for myself and my arts. However, the biggest problem I think I have with the concept of lockdown ending is the consequential agoraphobia I have developed in the past two months.

Anxiety is something that I have dealt with for a good few years now, but it’s only recently that I’ve started to call it what it is rather than hide behind labels like “introverted” or “shy”. I am aware that it tends to flare up after prolonged periods in my comfort zone (which happens to be my family home), but for some reason I did not clock this at the start of lockdown.

It’s an issue that I know I can fix. I’ve done so before. But, I would rather just wait a little bit before I try to go out again. I’m enjoying my reading, painting, writing, and yoga far too much, and I’m not quite ready to give all of this up yet.

Therefore, I hope that as lockdown eases, people do not rush to get back to the “normal” they are used to. Because that “normal” is unhealthy. We no longer need a fast-paced environment. We do not need to be mindlessly travelling and never settling 24/7. The old “normal” is mentally and physically debilitating and leads to cycles of envy and shame. So: by all means, visit your friends and family when we’re allowed. But, please be aware that not everyone is ready to leap back to the “normal” we were once used to. We’re fine where we are.

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