Self-care isn’t always as simple of putting on a facemask and watching movies and eating cookies.
The human brain is a crazy place, and we experience so much. We are essentially big children who still feel the same way kids do, but we just learned to cope and get on with it in whatever way works best for us in that moment.
We learn to cope by blame shifting, self-deprecating, using vices, manipulating our own emotions, complicating things. That might be a bit of a dark view of things. We also learn to cope by being productive, baking, exercising, meditating, socialising.
Basically, we are all going through a rough time at the moment.
Being in the year 2020 it seems to have become so normal to hate on people and monitor people we don’t even know, just because we can.
Yesterday I had a quick look on facebook and my whole timeline was full of people commenting unhelpful and distasteful things on other people’s posts.
Old people commenting on young people’s photo’s viciously blaming them for lockdown 2.
People of all ages using a strange method of trying to control other people- ‘follow the rules and it will all be okay!’.
Then on twitter, oh my gosh, it was like entering an abyss of hopelessness. Pessimism everywhere.
“The lockdown is obviously going to be extended”, “we’re trapped”, “It’s going to be hell”.
And of course all of these are natural responses to what has just happened.
As I said, we are all essentially children experiencing all these big emotions and using learned coping mechanisms to get through.
The thing is though, our coping mechanisms become self-destructive at times.
As we grow up we seem to feel like we are always in a rush, we need to be impulsive and act on emotion and responsd immediately. Especially in times of panic and crisis.
We use social media like it’s an extra arm. So of course, our coping mechanisms of blame shifting, projecting emotion, etc. are going to be posted.
I have been guilty of doing this too, which is why I am trying to create this blog now.
When you go on social media and engage in an argument or attack someone or use your (limited and highly emotional) understanding of something so big and widespread; do you feel better?
Have you contributed to society in a way that makes you proud?
Do you love yourself more because you contributed to another person’s struggle?
Because I eventually found that I didn’t. I was digging myself into more hurt and becoming more isolated.
I was angry, I was tired of having people blame and attack me, I was tired of the posts on social media being so vicious.
My response was to contribute more to the noise and project my inner turbulence.
That’s not what I’m here for. That’s not useful.
If you feel lonely, or realise during lockdown that the people you thought were your friends are not really your people, you may be far more bitterly active on social media. And this is natural.
How are you supposed to connect when you feel alone and can’t go out?
We have been through this once before. The world has changed and so much has happened since March this year. In all the strain and suffering we have had an opportunity to grow.
Since the last lockdown I have experienced/ learned the following things.
I live in Sheffield in university halls and in my first week I lived through a huge outbreak of coronavirus. Everybody I know was exposed to it and had to isolate, and we now have the antibodies for it. Research shows that the likelihood of contracting it again once being exposed to it is VERY VERY low.
After that, cases in Sheffield halved in a week and continued to decline.
As young people, we were all in good health, so I cannot pretend to understand the panic and emotional impact that this pandemic will have on those who are high risk. We were able to ‘get it over with’ and deal with the minor symptoms in order to make sure we do not carry the coronavirus back home to our loved ones.
One thing I noticed is that there was more unity and less panic in an area where more people were exposed, because there was less room for speculation and hysteria. There was the opportunity to be practical. There was a level of compassion because everyone was sharing this experience. I also think that this was due to the level of community we were able to have.
In times of great panic like this; the thing everyone arguing on social media has in common is that we all want to be let free and told it will all be okay.
You can’t get that from those who are also panicking; so you have to give it to yourself.
That is self-care.
When you feel panic, I encourage you to disengage from social media.
I have uninstalled all the apps from my phone (barring Instagram) and I only go on it when I am emotionally stable enough. You have no control over the news (real or fake), opinions, and judgements that will be filtered to you; so when I go on social media I am playing Russian roulette with what sort of a day I have.
I love myself too much to have myself sat here crying over what judgemental Hilda thinks about the world.
I predominantly connect with my loved ones through whatsapp, text, calls (if I am not able to speak to them in person). There is less of a middle man to cause division that way. Connection is more authentic and I am less likely to become triggered at the way they are handling the pandemic.
If I were not able to think of a person I would want to connect with, I would struggle more. I did last time.
I have found that by consuming media aligned with my interests, I have been able to find likeminded people. There are groups you can become a part of. Free meetups are still conducted on meetups.com where you can meet new people. If you use social media with intention, joining groups aligned with your interests, even that can be a good way to connect.
At the end of the day as a human being I don’t have control over the outside world, and there is nothing I can do about that. So we have to learn to be okay with that, and focus on what we can control.
When I feel an emotion come up, I deal with it by journaling, meditating or exercising.
I read more (as part of my course) but in learning new things I am given way more inspiration to create and feel like I belong in the world. I feel like I am growing as a person and contributing to society, helpfully. That benefits your mental health in a huge way.
And I create. I sit and paint, or write, or do something that I can take my time on in that moment.
I don’t need everything I do to be seen or commented on, which is something I’ve actually had to learn due to growing up with social media. The same way, what other people do is none of my business, so unless I feel a connection with a person, I don’t have to care or comment or even see what they are doing.
These are the things I have learned since the last lockdown, and I hope they will help someone who is caught in hysteria right now.
Take care of yourselves, and I hope to help calm the tone of your newsfeed.
Facebook: Rebecca Jade Journalism and Tarot
Links below may be of use to somebody.