What a strange title. If you told me last New Years’ eve that the entire world would soon be on lockdown due to a global pandemic, I would assume you were talking about a plot from my favorite show…Ancient Aliens (Hey George Tsoukalos). But no, this is reality. And if you would have told me my anxiety struggles would lead to growth while self-isolating this year, I wouldn’t have believed you either.
Phase 1 – Peak Anxiety
Every morning in January of 2020 I’d turn on GMA and learn about Covid-19 aka the Coronavirus. They politely would say it’s coming and dangerous.
The federal government didn’t say much or anything helpful. Then by the end of February, the news of the virus was everywhere, the news, social media, and my group texts. I have friends that live in China and Italy saying the sky is falling and that they would isolating for months. We had a president saying it’s fine. I’ll keep my political opinions to myself, let’s just say I chose to listen to my friends overseas.
I shopped for a reasonable amount of toilet paper, soap, water, and batteries. If I learned anything from apocalypse movies, that the power will go out…spoiler alert it didn’t. I work from home and I’m basically already a germaphobe. But I got a call from my doctor to say I needed to avoid this like the, well the plague ironically enough. Isolating myself and my family is important because if I caught COVID-19, it could be fatal, I’m one of those 3% with pre-existing health issues.
One small anxiety attack later, I convinced my husband to start working from home. We started ordering groceries and then disinfecting them, overkill? Probably but it made me feel better so yeah, I did it…err still doing it.
Phase 2 – Extra Lazy
My anxiety subsiding a lot for a while. I was working from home; my husband was working at home. We cooked every meal, which got tired quickly. I got lazy; I mean really lazy. Like work and then binge-watch TV all day kind of lazy for a good month. I told myself it was self-care, but yeah, I went a little overboard on that one too.
One day I noticed, the house was kind of messy. I had a little talk with myself and it wasn’t cute. “Girl, how is your house a mess and you have time to do it all? You haven’t even put on real pants in a month! Pull. Yourself. Together” Valid points I made with myself. I decided to listen to myself, instead of my inner saboteur telling me to shower tomorrow and watch another episode of Tiger King.
Phase 3 – Getting it Together
By now we were in quarantine from March until May and I still was only wearing leggings every day. I mean hey I was self-isolating I wanted to be comfortable.
I’m most impressed my husband didn’t file for divorce and that he still loves me.
Where was I? Right. I asked Alexa to put on my Beyoncé playlist and I cleaned the house like a boss, a boss in pink leggings, and a messy bun.
I picked one room each day and deep cleaned it like all the good Pinterest moms said I should.
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Then I cleaned my car, then actually started projects and finished them. Did I have lazy days, of course, but aside from work, I also made sure I did something productive every day. Cleaning the clutter is the best cure for my anxiety, even though I hate doing it.
I told my therapist during our Zoom sessions and she said it was because everything has a place, and I gained back control from the chaos that is Covid-19 and my stress over human rights issues in my country. My therapist also added that’s why I like baking because it’s precise and controlled. And my binge-watching? My depression winning the fight against my anxiety. A lot is going on in my head.
Phase 4 – It’s ok to have fun
Our friends were also quarantining/self-isolating at home and had no outside interaction so we decided to do game day once a week at someone’s house. And just like that, I had something to look forward to each week. This changed my mental health completely. I wasn’t scared to be “out”, I got to put on real clothes, I even shaved my legs.
We laughed with our friends for hours, I remembered that even in the darkest of times it’s ok to laugh, that’s real self-care. I felt happy for the first time in months, real happiness.
Phase 5 – The new norm
It’s June now, we still have weekly game nights. It’s more like a game day, we spend all day eating, drinking, and playing crazy board games. We talk about politics, human rights, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the vacations we are going to take when this is all over. I feel heard, I found reasons to laugh and suddenly I’m less of an introvert. What. Is. Happening!? I feel like Lady Gaga coming out of her egg, I’ve been reborn.
I started a home gym and work out 4-5 days a week. For some reason, I developed a baking habit. I learned how to decorate cakes, make muffins, and bread. I learned that I’m a damn good cook too. And I even learned how to cut my husband’s hair, and it looked fantastic.
No one was more surprised than me about what I can actually accomplish if I have no other choice. I can’t remember the last time I failed at something and then actually tried to get better at it. You should see the first cake I made it was hilarious, like a caricature of what I was trying to make. Each cake got better (thanks YouTube).
My self-esteem has never been higher. For some reason, I’m becoming the person I always wanted to be.
Our state is still on a modified shutdown. The only hard thing is not seeing family. Technology is a blessing. If you are feeling lonely video chat with your friends or family it’s incredibly entertaining. Whether it’s staring at your Uncles ear during face time or watching your nieces and nephews show you all their cool toys, it’s worth it.
What I learned while Isolating
Learning to sit home with me, and really be alone with myself helped me a lot. I self-reflected and learned a lot of ugly truths about myself. But then, it hit me, I can change. Right now, I can do anything I want to do because no one will judge me. My Anxiety Angel, you know the one that sits on your shoulder, she deeply fears being judged unfairly. She wants me to blend in and go unnoticed. You know what 2020 has taught me, that bitch is crazy! I’m learning to quiet her down and live for the moment…a breakthrough! No one has time to judge me, except me. (My husband loves every weird thing that I do, so don’t worry about him judging me).
Who knows what the rest of the year looks like, we won’t be self-isolating for ever, hopefully.
Wishing the best of health to all our readers. We’d love the hear about all the things you are doing to stay sane during the pandemic. Share with us below in the comments or follow us on social media for updates.