It’s Okay to Not Feel Normal Right Now
A few weeks ago, I was listening in on a phone conference for work. Near the end, someone asked the group, “Do you know of anyone who’s struggling during the pandemic?”
There was silence. Then I blurted out, “You mean, besides me?”
That broke the silence, and many people spoke up to say that they were struggling and having a hard time admitting it.
These are dire times: people are literally dying because of the virus. But there are other miseries, like businesses and jobs lost. And most of the time, things are just boring.
Life is a bit odd right now. I still have to go in to work a few days a week, but I can’t go to a movie theater or have dinner in a restaurant. There’s Netflix and my husband’s excellent cooking, but it’s always within the same four walls. Fun is gone.
I mean, just look at this photo:
Isn’t that depressing? If kids can’t play, things are not normal.
A study of how people are coping during the pandemic underlines what we already know: isolating ourselves at home, while necessary for public health, can lead to depression, boredom, and insomnia.
Even going grocery shopping, which used to be just a weekly chore, is now a source of stress. In late March, shelves at my local grocery store were bare.
Stores are now fully restocked, but when I go in, an employee writes down on a piece of paper that I walked in. Only 200 people can be in the store at one time.
I have to wear a mask, and the aisles are one-way, marked with taped arrows on the floor. Of course, every few aisles someone decides to be contrary and pushes the other way, blocking people. By the time I come home, it feels much longer than the hour it was.
I am grateful that I still have a job, and that part of my job can be done from home. But I find hours sitting at a computer alone, without my coworkers, to be exhausting. I’ve also experienced the “Zoom fatigue” people report after hour-long facetime conferences. They leave me drained, in a way that real meetings never did.
I could be sewing masks, but I find it hard to get the motivation to do anything. Someone I know sewed 400 masks. Four hundred! I’m about halfway done with one. I’m also stuck with old scrap fabric, since new fabric is hard to come by.
Still, I’m staying home and social distancing, which is good. Next week I can start my vegetable garden. Even if I’m bored, I know that I’m not alone, and that I can get through this.