While I’ve tried not to talk about the pandemic too much in the past eighteen months, but its a bit hard to ignore, especially when it has taken a toll on the mental health of virtually the entire world. Maybe except the super-rich with their giant mansions and indoor golf courses – yeah, I have no idea what rich people do with themselves.
When we had to lock down and stop our usual routines, the mental shift alone took a lot of energy. But the grind of trying to go about our lives in this unprecedented situation has made staying positive and optimistic a lot harder, especially for those of us with mental health issues. Maybe it’s the glory of summer giving me hope for the future, but I’ve already started making plans to put anxiety back in its place when the world opens up again.
Here’s what I’m going to do to challenge my anxiety when this pandemic is over:
Taking a holiday abroad right now is a time-bomb of stress. With the statuses of different countries changing at a moment’s notice, an ordinary holiday to Spain could have an additional several thousands of pounds added onto the price tag thanks to quarantining and testing. That two weeks of sun, sea, and sand is suddenly far less relaxing, and far more habitually checking government websites to check you can get home without two mandatory weeks in a £200 a night hotel.
When the pandemic is over, and we can travel without quarantining or fearing catching the virus from that guy on the back row of the plane who is coughing kind of a lot, I’m getting on a plane to somewhere, anywhere. Ideally some place with sapphire blue seas and cheap cocktails, where sunburn is inevitable.
Right now, we’re expected to relax in the same places we spend our every day lives, and that’s tough. When this is all over, let’s heal somewhere we’ve dreamed of since the day we learned holidays were off the table.
There was a time before the pandemic hit that I would go swimming almost every day. It really marked a financial achievement in my life because before then, I could never have afford to pay for a gym with a swimming pool. It is a privilege that I don’t take for granted.
Swimming made me feel amazing, and kicked off my day with such vigour that I felt like I could do anything. It created a time in which my mental health was at its best, despite working in a retail at the time. (Check on your friends in retail, especially right now, they are not OK).
I want to get back to feeling that good every day, and until this pandemic is way more over, I’d rather not share swimming water with anybody. But as soon as it is, I’m doing a cannon-ball.
Working In A Coffee Shop
For clarity, I don’t mean giving in my resume to Starbucks and hoping for the best. Even when I had a job in retail, I would go all manner of places to get my writing work done, the most memorable of which was the Natural History Museum in London. I used to go up to the Anning Rooms at the museum, get some lunch and get some work done in the quiet, while surrounded by museum exhibits, and with an incredible bird’s eye view of the capital city.
Now we are no longer in London, I’m super disappointed I probably won’t ever jump on a tube train to Kensington and go there again for that purpose. But the next best thing is a coffee shop: those things have a unique ambiance, which is probably why they’re so popular. That coffee smell, the comfy seats, and the abundance of electrical sockets, make them the perfect place to get some reduced-stress work done.
I haven’t sat down in a coffee shop since November, when I broke my promise not to stay indoors in a public place because the temptation was too much. In my defence, I was living alone on a bare mattress in an empty apartment for a week as I finished my last week of work before we moved house. But hopefully soon, going to a coffee shop regularly for work might actually become a possibility.