Home workouts? Baking banana bread? Online courses? If you haven’t completed one of these activities yet, you may well be feeling that you are the only one in the world who hasn’t. My social media is filled with videos, photos and messages of people using their time in lockdown to be really productive. Whether that be doing a HIIT session in their skimpy, colour co-ordinated sports gear in their sunny gardens, or attempting a new Paul Hollywood bread recipe, or signing up to a new online course where they are going to be expanding their knowledge and becoming better people, everyone seems to be doing it. And do you know what I have done? Sod all.
I had big plans for lockdown. All these things I thought I could do, and things I actually needed to do as well. But when lockdown started, my motivation, energy and enthusiasm also got locked down. I had, and still have, no focus, concentration or motivation to do anything. And everyone else seems to be doing so much better than me. Or that is what social media would like to portray. Everyone else is doing all those activities and I am sat staring into space, scrolling social media, or watching TV. I haven’t even got the energy or concentration to read a book, let alone start doing burpees and star jumps in my back garden! And because social media portrays that everyone else is being productive, it makes me feel horrendous about myself. “What is wrong with me?” I ask myself. “Why can’t I do anything?” “How is everyone else in the world being so productive and I can’t be bothered to do ANYTHING!”
I try and force myself to do something “productive,” but I end up watching The Chase or looking on Amazon for where I can buy a Spice Girls T-shirt. I promise myself that tomorrow will be different, tomorrow will be the day that I actually DO something. But tomorrow comes and I find myself googling “How old is Dominic Raab?” and “What are Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen doing now?” Again, tomorrow will be different…but it never is. It is not a choice – I don’t want to be not doing anything, but I just can’t get my head in gear.
I also haven’t taken part in any Zoom meetings. That seems to be a social media favourite at the moment. Families and friends gathering on their screens and doing quizzes and virtual pub trips. I have only just learnt how to do a video call on WhatsApp – a Zoom quiz or virtual pub trip is far beyond me. My quizzes come through me watching The Chase. I don’t talk, I don’t entertain…I sit and watch Bradley Walsh. I do feel left out. I see everyone else in the world meeting up virtually and I feel alone.
But, despite what social media is portraying, I don’t think I am alone in feeling like this. I don’t think that I am the only one who is simply surviving each day, as opposed to making the most of all the free time. And I am writing this for all those people who, like me, are seeing everyone else being productive and feeling like absolute failures for not doing the same. You are not alone. And do you know what? We are totally okay. We are getting through each day and that is all that matters. We may not come out of lockdown with a six pack, having read Jane Eyre or learnt Spanish, but we will come out of it. We will have coped. However you are coping right now, that is a win.
Social media is a harsh world. I am a very gullible person and I do have a tendency to believe everything I see. I believe these wonderful lives everyone likes to show off. But we must remember that social media is not reality. It is a highlight reel. This situation we are in right now with Corona Virus and lockdown is unprecedented. We have never had to deal with anything like this before. And everyone reacts to the stress and anxiety in a different way. Great if you are using the time to be active and develop a skill but equally, if you are not doing anything and are simply surviving each day, then that is just as good. We don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone. We aren’t going to be judged in five years time for what we did during lockdown. Beating ourselves up over what we are not doing is not going to achieve anything. We need to be kind to ourselves during this time. And if we learn to be kind to ourselves then that is the most productive thing that could ever come out of lockdown.
As a quick note – I have been nominated for two categories in the Mental Health Blog Awards. I am in the category for Vlogger of the year with my YouTube – Bex’s Anorexia Recovery, and also in the category for blogger of the year with this blog – Food For Thought Anorexia. It would mean the world to me if you could take 1 minute to click the link below and vote for me. I don’t have much of a social media following so all your votes would be greatly appreciated.