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Archive for November 21st, 2020

Coping During COVID

I would like to believe that I am unique and unaffected by the over-culture ‘out there’. I would like that to be true, but I have found that I am far more affected by what is going on in society than I want to be. I am not so invested in the over-culture that I obsess over new fashions or ways to stay looking younger than I am, which seem to be the only thing ‘they’ are selling, but I am affected none-the-less. I think I have had low-grade depression since our lives were disrupted by COVID. I stay up too late, sleep late, or more likely, get less sleep than I need or should and then feel tired and unmotivated. I have not been exercising and have gained weight which really makes me uncomfortable and then more depressed. It is a vicious circle and cycle I seem to get caught in.

In spite of frequent Zoom calls with friends (weekly knit circle Zooms and infrequent ‘coffee’ Zooms with friends), monthly (or more) Zoom meetings for three separate organizations, twice monthly Zooms with my Coven, twice monthly Class facilitator Google Meets for a local organization, and plenty of ‘work’ to keep me busy, even in my retirement, I notice I have a high level of anxiety. My neck and shoulders are tense, and I feel like I am behind in my commitments, even when I am not.

Being busy, in itself, is not so different. I have always been a ‘joiner’ and before COVID was very busy with all that I am involved in. I am the Secretary for my Local Knitting Guild, the President of my all-volunteer Neighborhood Association, the Recorder/Secretary for a National Organization of Witches, and the Webweaver/website creator and public class facilitator for my local Council of Witches. This is the ‘work’ I refer to. I am also a High Priestess to a Coven of six beautiful women who have been struggling with much the same feelings of anxiety and depression or other mental illnesses since this all began. All these commitments are still present but now all the activity has moved online.

This might be part of the problem. Too much online is never good for a body or mind.

I am also a maker. I knit and crochet and make gifts and want to do something creative every day. And even though I find much satisfaction in creating, it does not seem to work out my anxiety or stress. I still enjoy it and have even been reading a little more than I did before COVID and I really enjoy this too, but again, the only thing that seems to work out the anxiety is hard, physical labor. And there is only so many things to do around the house. Once I was done painting the ceiling beams on my deck, building a gigantic new kidney-shaped garden in my front lawn, emptying, turning over the dirt and refilling with new dirt in all my back gardens, replanting, repairing, and replacing my gardens and garden art, tiling and painting different pieces of furniture in my house, and tiling two cupboards and shelves outside, there wasn’t much left to do. I’ve threatened to repaint my large master bedroom, just for something to do, but really don’t want to.

My life does seem to be full of ‘shoulds’. I should be sleeping more, exercising more, drinking less, eating less, and being more productive. Can I blame this on my upbringing in the Calvinistic Mormonism that prides works and productivity more than anything? Perhaps, but it somehow feels different during COVID.

This is why I feel I am not coping as well as I should be.

I have a wonderful partner so am not without human contact, but I do miss contact with my friends and family. I’m also reminded often how fortunate I am to be where I am in life and to have all I do. Even just writing this shows me what I am still keeping up with and all that I have accomplished. I do love to accomplish things… So perhaps I am coping better than I think I am, but it all feels off somehow. I hope this is not the new normal.

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