Discovering the hidden (or not so hidden) ways the pandemic is impacting us.
June 8, 2020
How have you been handling lockdown?
For those who have lost loved ones, it is a time of deep grief. Many people are anxious over being forced to stay at home. They’ve lost income, jobs, the ability to feed their families. Others struggle over not being able to see loved ones, especially grandkids.
Some lucky ones glory in their free time. Still others have become super-productive. And then there are those who began cooking (and eating) like mad.
I am lucky. I haven’t lost a loved one or a job. I can pay my bills. I like alone time, mostly, although isolation IS getting old.
Baking my way through the first month
Baking was my solace at first, mostly because I was watching The Great British Baking Show. I couldn’t resist the urge to make the American version of “sponge.” And some yummy bread. Pizza. Cookies. Oh, the wonders of baking!
The mirror became a bit scary and I didn’t even want to confront the scale. So by the time I finished all 10 seasons, about 90 shows (90!) I was ready for intermittent fasting and my favorite Juice Plus program. To be honest, they were a relief. So was walking every morning and evening to juice up my metabolism. All those hours in front of the TV made my muscles feel slack, atrophied.
But then, a compulsive need to buy clothes cropped up. Even though I was changing sizes, online retailers were hearing kaching! emanate from my laptop.
It was illogical. I had nowhere to go. And two closets full of clothes I could wear…nowhere. But buying clothes and stuff became almost a compulsion.
Buying my way through the second month
I bought two bodysuits whose unforgiving fit terrified me so much that I called to discuss returning them. (But kept them.) Did I need 2? Did I need any?
I bought a sweatshirt dress that I thought would be too small so I cancelled it to reorder a size larger –that’s now too big. I bought some t-shirts. Two strapless camisoles (where am I going that would require a strapless?) and two pairs of leisure lounge pants.
Those pants? The best buy. They’re favorites, so a good purchase. I’ve been wearing one of the bodysuits with a shirt thrown over, (so I don’t scare myself when I pass a mirror). It’s super comfy, but stripping down to visit the restroom (the downside of full bodysuits) is a pain. Maybe not such a good buy.
Inexplicably, I started buying booze. The liquor cabinet is now stocked with bottles of things I didn’t know existed before spending so much time online. Whipped Cream Vodka. (Whipped Cream Vodka???) Vanilla Vodka. Plus creme de cacao. Kahlua. Godiva chocolate liqueur And more.
It’s not like I drink a lot–once a week is a lot for me. And never exotic drinks. But at an online party I hosted, I had two chocolate martinis. Whoa! Then it was a Creamsicle cocktail a few days later.
I couldn’t be the only one with a red-hot charge card. How are so many retailers declaring bankruptcy?
“Our credit card bill isn’t any smaller than it was before we locked down,” my husband observed. “But we aren’t going out to eat or traveling.”
I pointed out that Instacart groceries are at least 35% more expensive. And that’s true. Prices are up overall on most groceries. But that didn’t account for all of it. What was going on?
I wasn’t addicted to shopping. Not yet, anyway. But I knew it was past time to rein myself in. To stop compulsive buying.
What was really going on?
So what was my compulsive buying spree all about?
My need to feel I was in control of something. That life would be predictable once again. Because right now, very little is in my control and who knows what the future will hold?
Although I was unaware of anxiety and seemed to take lockdown in stride my subconscious was definitely concerned. It knew that my world was now different and would be for a very long time. And that I couldn’t control that. So it sought out whatever mechanisms it could to give me a sense that I was in charge. For me, it was shopping. For you it might be something else.
In any event, I stopped mindlessly buying.
The tide is turning
After three months of feeling pretty ok with isolation, I’m now starting to tire of it. There are things I wish I could do. Places I wish I could go. In our house we err on the side of caution so we do not leave our bubble. At all. Groceries are delivered. We walk twice a day and that’s it.
I thought I’d be ok with sheltering in place if it lasted the year but I can see it’s going to be a bit of a challenge, especially as the world around me opens up. Because even as it opens up, I won’t be leaving my bubble until our doctor and we feel it is safe to do so. And only under controlled conditions. Which is to say we’ll be among the last to go out. At the least I want a treatment and a safe, reliable vaccine.
Getting on plane was something I did practically every month. It’s now something in the distant future. A “maybe.” I’m not sure when I’ll ever sit in a restaurant and have a meal. Maybe never again. I don’t know. Each month I’d attend several networking groups. That won’t be happening this year and maybe never again.
These are huge changes to the way we live and we are all feeling them. When we start to regain some semblance of our old life, will we be fearful? How will Covid impact the rest of our lives?
These are the questions on my mind as this pandemic scorches the earth beneath my feet. And I’m wondering, what’s on your mind right now? How has Covid impacted you and the way you look at the future?
Well, my daughter and my niece both had COVID. A mild case for both of them that kept them in a mild fever for weeks on end. Love-One checks the stats in our county daily. Men his age are dying every day.
So, although I’m longing for hugs and kisses from grandkids, and I got dressed up in rain slicker and facemask, just to get a fix, I’m taking it seriously. It’s not a cold, it’s not the flu. I do wish we had it behind us.
I am so glad they were mild cases. Yes, this is really a challenge.
How life changed in an instant. Within weeks, it seems. I also love baking more than I did and I have my now daily half glass of red wine.
Half a glass, good for you!
Ohmyword! I never quite put it together before. Of course I’m trying to find a way to control my careening world! Of course!
My way of ‘taking control’ has been to walk the bejeepers out of my doggins. (Three two-mile walks per day.) And make a lot of puzzles. And play a lot of Solitaire.
Things I can organize and control. It makes so much more sense now!
Whatever works, girlfriend. Whatever works. xoxo
Lightbulb moment! It’s about control. But why can’t I control the food I am stuffing into my gob? And I even started a wine fairies group in my town. So my wine consumption has gone up. My clothes are tighter, my roots grayer and my nails gone. I’m not sure what life will look like either. I loved to go out to eat. Now I’m not sure when I will again. And travel? Not on a plane any time soon. Oh and my concerts I loved to attend are all cancelled but I don’t think I’d go anyway. Now people I don’t know scare me. This is no way to live. My heart breaks for my children.
Oh my God. Wine fairies. How I love this!
Two of my friends had Covid. One was a cancer survivor and he had it bad. Said it was worse than going through chemo. The other is a Nurse. She had a mild case and was not only exhausted but if she tried to do a slow walk around the house her pulse rate would spike up into the 190s. She’s finally better. As for me, we are mostly housebound but do go outside for shopping and exercise. We also have friends that are homebound too so after 3-weeks of isolation on both our parts, we started visiting with each other. If we didn’t have that, I’d think it would be worse. I did go through a funky/depressed period but I feel like I’m coming out the other side of it. And not going out to restaurants or movies has started to increase our savings. (I did treat myself to a pedicure the other day…heaven! And was not only masked up but the employees and the few other people who showed up were as well.)
I’ll never understand those who are denial about the severity of this virus.
I’ve been going a little mad although I’ve been pretty productive. Since I moved into a small room with limited refrigerator space in the kitchen, I’ve actually lost some weight. I’m not snacking like I used to. I go to the store to buy food but wearing a mask everywhere isn’t always easy. I’m afraid I’ll trip. I occasionally order food delivered with Grubhub. I want to take off and go to the beach or someplace interesting to look at but I don’t want to use a public restroom so it’s frustrating. I also usually have to bring my dogs with me.I’ll be happy when we can get back to normal but I’m afraid it will be a while for that especially for those of us who are older.
I agree that it will be quite some time.