Losing it: a privileged rant

When lockdown was first announced, I think I had the same thought as many in the world, “Great, more time to myself.” My mantra was: “I finally get time to do all the things I never had the time
to do!”

I took up baking banana bread every week. I saved my gym membership fees by working out at home. I took up some hobbies, caught up on all my favourite shows, and meticulously organized my closets. Of course this was all amidst an alarming pandemic.

Remember when we first started hearing more positive news coming out of Italy and Spain? There was a collective sigh of relief, I think, when COVID-19 numbers finally started to trend downwards. Everyone was trying the latest internet fads, like dalgona coffee, learning the world of sourdough, and dancing on TikTok.

There were some good times for many of us, me included. In mid-May, B.C. went into Phase 2 and we began to venture out of our homes, a novel idea it seemed. We had survived and soon life would return to normal – or so I thought.

Summer was welcomed almost in tandem with Phase 3 of B.C.’s restart plan. As July turned into August, and August to September, life became rather mundane. Staying local and within our bubbles was the smart thing to do.

We are now well into fall and still in Phase 3. Restrictions have been tightened because of rising numbers. My mantra is now, “I’m bored of being bored because being bored is BORING!” Part of the difficulty is that none of us know for sure when this phase will end.

Quarantine fatigue is a real thing. We are seeing a backlash against restrictions in different parts of the world. I totally related to a New Yorker cartoon I recently saw, “Boy, time really flies by when every day is joyless and exactly the same.”

Yet, I am ranting from a very privileged position; I am lucky enough to have a home and fortunate to have kept my job. I am longing for spontaneous visits and eating out with friends. I worry about the uncertainty of our economy in the years to come and how difficult it might be for those who have lost their jobs. I hope that Shakespeare was right and that “this too, shall pass.”

My sense is that mental health is now at an all-time low for many. The ways we interacted and took care of ourselves may not be realistic right now. Many of our go-to treatment and support options are harder to access, or are temporarily unavailable.

In times of high anxiety and stress, it’s more important than ever to safeguard our mental health. Instead of internet fads or new hobbies, let’s focus on our emotional well-being. Replacing constant streams of disaster reporting with music may actually benefit our mental and physical health. Chatting online with friends and family is probably key for all of us to come out of this in one piece. Journaling, blogging or even submitting an article/rant to your local newspaper can also help one feel that we are all in this together.

The Canadian government also has some mental health resources to help us out. Look them up.