Are you in team quarantine queen or lockdown loser? A serious question. Quarantine queens are the ones who have repainted their master bedrooms, lost 10lbs and shared their meal plans, become TikTok famous, ran a marathon daily, and baked banana bread after banana bread (no hate, I fucking love banana bread… it’s just become a symbol really hasn’t it?) and of course, started a new business and already cashed in hundreds – no, thousands – from it. Lockdown losers are the netflix and chill group. Doritos for breakfast. Doritos for lunch. Doritos for dinner – but with DIPS! And a bottle of wine!
The names may seem harsh and polarising but I couldn’t really help it – because it does seem that those who are bursting with productivity really are ruling this quarantine space like literal queens. And that just happens to make everyone else who isn’t managing to utilise this weird time feel like absolute losers, and worst, failures. It’s annoying. If I want to Netflix and chill all day I will, why does baking banana bread make Becky a better person than me?
When the lockdowns started, and the questions on how to cope during lockdown began flooding in on my Instagram, my advice was its usual productivity-positive vibe. I told people to exercise. Eat healthily. Learn a new skill. Learn a language. Do a hobby you never had time for anymore. And now, looking back on that, I’m like wow what a condescending crock of shit that is.
It’s all valid – but we’re in the midst of a pandemic. I seemed to forget that we all have weird emotions and feelings about everything right now. (To give context: at the time I gave this answer, I was stuck self-isolating in NZ with my boyfriend and although restrictions were tough there, it still didn’t feel entirely real. And part of me was thinking “I can’t wait to get home and have all of this spare time to do loads of great work!”)
Of course, on returning back to the UK to my lovely but sad empty flat, alone by myself with just a mice-infestation for company, reality hit home. The complete uncertainty and the depth of what was going on started to swallow me like big, heavy waves, slowly dragging me down into a deep dark ocean.
But on social media we are seeing weight loss plans and diets (now is NOT the time to be starting a diet people) endless skincare routines, people DIYing their houses, shouting #StayHome at city people that live in tower blocks and tightly-packed flats with no outdoor space, from the comfort of their country estate gardens. (They say that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate with class, but the issue of class does naturally rear its ugly head but I’ll leave that for a political post instead…) I have found it incredibly overwhelming and it’s pushed me back into this negative mindset I used to struggle with a lot – one that makes me feel like a failure. Like I’m failing to quarantine correctly. Not because I’m going out 5 times a day and coughing on people in the street… but because I can’t find the power and motivation to bake banana bread and start a fucking TikTok account.
They say comparison is the thief of joy, and right now we are comparing more than ever before to more people than ever before, whilst also feeling more sensitive about our lives and the changing circumstances we’re just trying to navigate.
Another reason why I think a lot of us are struggling is because we feel we have lost a lot in this pandemic, and feel selfish for thinking that and are unable to grapple with the emotions around it. There was a kind of sentiment I was seeing and feeling on the social space that you shouldn’t be sad, upset, angry or disappointed that plans, holidays, jobs, travels, birthdays, weddings etc have been cancelled because of this, and that you should merely be grateful to be healthy and alive. Now I’m calling bullshit on that and saying it’s possible to be both. And it’s normal, in fact, perfectly healthy to be pissed off that our life has been put on hold whilst also thankful for our health and happy to do what’s required to prevent things getting worse. It doesn’t have to be so black and white. It’s the kind of toxic moral dick-swinging I’ve seen so much more of in the past year and is peaking even more so now that serves nothing other than to make the person doing the moral dick-swinging feel like a better person than you. Don’t let people make you feel like your feelings are not valid. Yeah sure, it could be worse… but it definitely could be better too.
I for one feel stuck in the balance – I’m managing and coping. I’m working out every day (which, I do honestly think is important – especially if it means you can get outdoors! and I share a screenshot of my routine as the request of others to help inspire without overwhelming) and this is my second blog post this week #productivity. But I’ve also drank wine most nights. I’ve cried probably every day. Some days I have done nothing but watch Netflix and eat. And that’s ok too.
Don’t let anyone make you feel that you aren’t dealing with this utter bullshit well enough because I’m telling you, whether it’s baking bread or eating doritos, that is fine. This is a crazy mad UnPrEcEdEnTeD times. And most importantly, it really is okay to not be okay.