Collage created by Emma with images from Pixabay
Emma de Duve explores her feelings and responses to the pandemic, and offers ideas about how to stay positive during tough times
The one thing plaguing everyone’s mind at the moment is coronavirus; named the worst global humanitarian crisis since World War II.
I’m struggling to remember a time without it! It’s a pandemic, which no one was, or could have been, prepared for. Nobody knows when it will end either.
At first, I found it so hard to know whether people were being over-dramatic or not cautious enough, regarding the threat of the virus.
It’s stressful, confusing and scary at times. Every day, every hour, new media reports can get you worrying about worst-case scenarios.
And now there’s a lockdown, to try to stop the spread of the virus, by reducing the amount of contact we have with others. How far will it really go?
So I arrived home to north London, from university, on Thursday 19th March and spent the weekend enjoying time with my family. By the evening of Monday 23rd March, we heard the announcement, lockdown was going to be introduced to the UK imminently.
Panic shot through me. I had arranged to go back to my student flat in Nottingham, with a friend, to get the rest of my stuff. Now I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to go. I had literally only packed enough for a weekend.
This lockdown was predicated to last: two weeks, a month, three months, or even more…
How would the pandemic affect the mental health of our society, with such uncertainty, and the fear of becoming sick or seeing a loved one become unwell?
Anyway, the next day I did manage to make a trip to Nottingham. When I got back home, it dawned on me that I was going to have to find some new activities, to keep me occupied and sane.
After all, the lockdown would put a stop to seeing friends, and just doing things that we all take for granted; no more time at the gym, going out to eat, or to the cinema.
My greatest pastime has been brought to an end; my dad, sister and I going to watch football! Tottenham haven’t had the greatest season, so it does mean we won’t have to suffer the pain of watching them lose every week.
As my immediate concerns subsided, I began to consider the bigger impact of the outbreak. How would the pandemic affect the mental health of our society, with such uncertainty, and the fear of becoming sick or seeing a loved one become unwell?
Despite the very real ramifications of the virus worldwide, I know for me, there was no point in dwelling on the negatives. I have too much time stretching ahead of me to be moping about. I just have to get on with life one day at a time, and find different ways of being.
After a slow start, I eventually finished unpacking my stuff and have undertaken a massive sort out of my room. To some, streamlining their possessions is not a big deal. For me, it is challenging.
My friends call me a hoarder. I certainly love a pair of trainers, which used to take up a big space on my bedroom floor.
Decluttering is good for your mental wellbeing, creating a clear space for a clear mind
With the thought of having to spend more time inside, I had an overwhelming need to declutter. To clear some space for this new, imposed lifestyle to begin, perhaps?
Take a look at this useful video from decluttering queen, Marie Kondo.
Decluttering is good for your mental wellbeing, creating a clear space for a clear mind. Research from the University of California’s Centre on Everyday Lives and Families, has identified a direct link between the stress hormone cortisol and clutter.
Gyms have obviously closed, which has meant I’ve been doing home workouts. Check this link to Joe Wicks’ YouTube, where he’s been live streaming a workout every morning, at 9am.
I’m using my one hour of freedom to go running in my local park. It’s been brilliant to get out of the house and into nature, even for a short time.
There’s something about being restricted that is making me feel more determined. The rewards are great. It’s been amazing to feel well exercised and clear headed.
I seem to be doing more than I would normally do in a day – long may it last!
Hope you’re all having a productive lockdown so far. Keep active and keep well.