A scared new world.

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What a time to be alive, right? It’s a lot to process, this COVID-19 stuff. I certainly don’t have a handle on it all right now, but I’ve told myself that’s OK. As an over thinker, I need to just accept things for what they are. Feel how I feel and not constantly be trying to make sense of it.

In saying that, I definitely take it all seriously. I want not only what’s best for the health of my family, but for everyone out there who may be vulnerable. This is not a time to be selfish.

I stay as educated as I can on the facts (and not the Facebook comment hype) as I can, but I accept that I will never be a qualified expert. I can only do my best and I have to balance everybody’s best interests with my mental health.

I don’t want this post to be yet another smarmy guide to handling what feels like the apocalypse nobody asked for. I don’t want this to echo the thousands of posts out there about WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR TIME.

I don’t actually even know where this is going, but I just feel like I need to check in. Say hi. Let you know I’m here if you’re feeling scared or anxious. Let you know how I’m feeling and the thoughts I’ve been experiencing because I know that it can help us to feel better when we know we’re not the only one. To document this because it’s a very significant time that will go down in our world’s history.

Here are some of my thoughts and observations:

We could have predicted who the dickheads would be before this happened.

You know the people I’m talking about. The ones who are STILL selfishly hoarding toilet paper and other ridiculous things. The ones who refuse to self isolate or to socially distance themselves for the greater good of the community.

We know these people. They were selfish, irrational, wilfully ignorant, herd mentality (in the negative sense) types before the virus and they will be afterwards (although I hope we do learn from this). Whatever coping mechanisms for stressful situations we had (or did not have) before this crisis are the same ones that are going to be playing out during it.

The virus is not an excuse to be a dickhead and it will also not make us all instantly resilient heroes either.

It’s OK to feel like you’re somewhere in the middle too.

I just hope that we all learn something about ourselves and that this tough situation helps us to grow.

I am so grateful to have beautiful natural surroundings.

I think nature is what will save my sanity. I live in the suburbs but we have beautiful waterways, lots of vegetation and open spaces everywhere. I can go for a walk and not come into close contact with anyone (or anything that might be covered in germs). Provided my family and I are physically healthy, I know that getting out into the fresh air will be vital to keeping us mentally strong. I feel very fortunate.

I am acutely aware of my privilege.

I feel very lucky to have the life I do right now. Our kids will be safe if schools close. My husband’s job is more secure than many others’ (although honestly nothing is guaranteed these days). I am a SAHM who can absorb the consequences if there are big lockdowns and my child cannot attend school. I have a qualified doctor in the family who can help with certain things. We are financially able to afford any extra supplies. We have working internet, OKish TV reception (LOL – it’s terrible – I don’t know what is going on), the ability to afford entertainment subscriptions etc to keep us from absolute boredom. We can actually get bored because we are lucky enough to.

I have studied teaching, behavioural science (helps me to understand why we are all behaving the way we are and how human nature works which takes some of the confusion and chaos out of things for me), and counselling. I am a creative person. I excel in critical thinking (as my husband knows HA HA). I hope these things will assist my family and those around me.

We have support networks. We know that if we couldn’t make it to the supermarket in a worst case scenario situation, there are statistically enough people in our lives who would/could deliver us things (non contact of course), for example.

We know we could help others too.

I know that these things could change in the blink of an eye. I am not taking any of it for granted. I hope I can figure out how best to use this privilege to help others in some way.

We have a responsibility for what we share online.

I try to analyse what I’m reading/hearing/seeing. Who has put this ‘information’ out? What is their motivation in doing so? Is this someone’s opinion or is it based on scientific facts and evidence? If it’s an opinion, does it line up with what’s sensible and what makes sense rationally and logically? Does it whip everyone into a frenzy or will it provide important food for thought?

Sharing stuff that is not true or not from a reliable source is unhelpful. Listening to rumours started in the comments sections of news articles by scared Facebook users you’ve never heard of is not helpful.

I’m trying really hard to keep my anxiety in check (as a lot of us are). To know the difference between dumping my fears and unchecked emotions all over other people who are vulnerable to anxiety (I don’t want to trigger anyone else) and expressing myself in a constructive way that makes them/me feel less alone.

I have tried to share little snippets of nature or beautiful things on my Instagram account. Daily reminders to just breathe or look at something that isn’t virus related, even just for 15 seconds or so. Like a little palate cleanser to strengthen us for the next deluge of news. I know that stuff helps me and I hope it helps someone else. It’s the smallest thing but I think we can totally harness social media for good and not evil!

There is a lot of stuff to be worried about and I will never tell anyone to just switch it all off or to put on a happy face when they’re not feeling it. Or post stuff that seems completely jarring next to the tough stuff. It’s just about balancing out the hysteria with some calming moments. I know my blood pressure will thank me for it.

I am fascinated by this world’s creative minds (and how the virus crisis will affect pop culture) right now.

People are bloody amazing. Some of the content that has gone viral on TikTok etc has been nothing short of awe inspiring. Some people thrive creatively when in stressful or unusual situations and my mind is blown by the ways people cope. Whether it’s humour (sensitive of course) or any kind of artistic genius, I’m so impressed and grateful to be able to enjoy such entertainment.

Jimmy Fallon is creating his own show from home like an every day YouTube vlogger for goodness’ sake! Haha. I wonder how we’ll look back on this time. This era will be reflected in pop culture and looked back on with great interest in years to come. No crowds at televised sporting events. Jokes about self isolation in comedy content. Trends that will make no sense to our grandchildren.

Every day is different. My goal is to be able to roll with the punches enough that I am not constantly exhausting myself by fighting so much change instead of accepting that we are living in a new reality. But I also want to make sure I’m always remembering my voice and what autonomy I do have. If those around us aren’t being careful enough, we should not give into the social pressures of taking the same risks. It’s OK to say no.

My heart goes out to everyone on the front lines. To our teachers, medical staff, supermarket employees, etc. People in ‘essential’ services. To the delivery people who allow us to shop online and who have to put packages on our door steps. To those who are scared because maybe they don’t feel safe in their homes. To those whose livelihoods are under imminent threat. To the physically vulnerable who can’t just reassure themselves that everything SHOULD be fine for the young and healthy.

Let’s all be kind to each other. We are all stressed – nobody’s stress makes them more important than the next stressed person. This is not a competition. We are all in this together.

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