The short answer to why it’s ok doing nothing in lockdown is because we’re in lockdown. It’s a scary time. We weren’t put in lockdown so we could finally finish that novel, we were put in lockdown so we don’t catch or spread a potentially life-threatening virus. Nobody said you had to use your lockdown time in any particular way.
We are in a bit of a weird situation right now (understatement) and nobody is expecting you to do anything other than stay home, stay safe, wash your hands and keep your distance. Yet, it’s only too easy to put ourselves under the usual pressure we put ourselves under by questioning why we’re not suddenly the most flexible yoga-doing women on the planet, or why we haven’t transformed into Nigella Lawson overnight.
As always, it is essential to remind ourselves that social media isn’t the truest account of someone’s life. I know that I’ve posted a happy picture moments after having a meltdown and crying, so I’m certain people with millions of followers have done the same. Nobody has found this easy.
As far as my lockdown experience goes, I have bought a resistance band and proper sports leggings, but I also took a week off exercising to handle my cramps. If I exercise, it will be minimal because I’m quite a lazy person, but I will do it once or twice a week for the sake of my sunlight deprived brain. I have not cooked a grand meal or baked anything exciting but I have eaten over half of everything my sister or mum has baked or cooked. I eat, I don’t cook.
I haven’t finished my novel, I’ve opened it and closed it because I wasn’t in the mood. I took part in Escapril for personal practice, writing quite poor poems, and gave up halfway through the month. I haven’t kept up with any of my writing books or diaries but I did read a book with my sister-in-law, catching up over FaceTime once a week, and I am on a pretty decent Duolingo streak (I’m still not good at the language though).
I could do more. I could try harder to write my novel or to start meditating but I don’t feel like doing it and I don’t see the need to force myself. I’m getting occasional fresh air, social company (with my household or virtually – don’t forget the 2-metre rule!) and I’m eating regular meals and drinking water. I’m lucky enough to still be employed so a lot of my time is spoken for, and my schedule hasn’t changed much.
As much as it’s a popular coping mechanism to keep yourself busy in times of stress (I’m guilty of this), it is just as important to make sure you rest. You need to be kind to yourself and take that time out every now and again. What you do to rest and to look after yourself is individual. You don’t need to feel pressured by your friends or family to be doing more or constantly working on a project. We’re in a pandemic, you’re allowed to binge-watch a television show and eat what you feel like.
Ultimately, this is me, on behalf of Anthem, promising that you don’t need to feel bad for not doing things in lockdown. If you want to craft, you craft, if you want to exercise, you exercise. If you want to, and can have a lie-in, or enjoy a movie marathon then you do that too. Whatever you want to do is okay. For now, I’m going to try to read some books, practice no more than 5 minutes of German a day (sorry Duolingo), and continue eating all the cakes my family produce.
Words and images by Briony Brake for Anthem Online.