First of all reader, how are you dealing with the pandemic? I find that during this whole two months of being in lockdown I’ve had two moods — incredibly happy or incredibly upset, with no in-between whatsoever. I will admit the whole first month and a half was really rough for me — I was staying up from anywhere between 3-5 am and regularly waking up at 2 pm or later, usually spending my nights crying to Korean dramas, and not feeling motivated to do any work. I am self-employed, so I assumed I’d be able to cope well with being home 24/7. However, I quickly realized that being in lockdown meant being in lockdown with my mother, father, brother, my sister and her boyfriend, all while being away from my fiancé, and my friends. Growing up, I’ve always relied very heavily on outside sources of support, always leaning more towards friends than family. Maybe it’s because I’m the middle child and suffer from middle child syndrome (aka the forgotten child syndrome), or maybe it’s because I realized at an extremely young age that I required so much more social interaction than my family could ever provide. So this period of isolation turned out to be way rougher than I thought.
Back to how I was coping. I would wake up at 2PM, have breakfast at 3PM, do a workout at 4-5PM, shower, eat lunch at dinnertime, eat dinner in the middle of the night, and sleep in the morning. If I had planned to film, bake, or edit during the day, I would force myself to get up earlier that day but it was always an extreme struggle followed by grumpiness and irritability. I often felt ashamed for even having this kind of schedule, and it made me feel inherently lazy and worthless, always thinking about society’s usual glorification of being busy. It was a dangerous cycle to be in. My mood was in one place or another, happy or sad. I felt so much pressure to push out more content now that I would have no distractions, yet I was also struggling. The kitchen space I was used to using would normally be vacant during office hours, but now that everyone was working from home, the kitchen had become the hub for socialization and clutter. Not to mention I was very hesitant to deplete our supply of flour, eggs, milk, and butter because I didn’t want any of us going out if we didn’t need to.
So back to the pressure of having to pump out amazing, creative content. I felt the need, the WANT, to spend this time throwing myself into projects. Again with my moods, I either felt completely immersed and driven, or just sluggish and unmotivated. All this invisible pressure was weighing down on me, and I think it just contributed to my unbalanced everyday routine. During the whole first month I was constantly seesawing between suppressing my feelings, thinking “this is fine it’s all fine” or allowing myself to really be in my feels, oftentimes crying to my fiancé over Skype about how much I missed him, or about how much Yoon Se-ri’s birthday episode resonated with me and left me bawling my eyes out. That was a Crash Landing on You reference, honestly a great show that I highly recommend everyone watch, whether you’re into Kdramas or not (I definitely wasn’t before watching this).
Not only was I getting 10+ hours of sleep, I was also having extremely vivid dreams of being with my friends and fiancé, while travelling the world. Every. Single. Night. So every single afternoon, I was waking up feeling heavy. At this point I was really concerning myself with my sleep patterns, but also telling myself that “this is fine, it’s all fine”. It then came to the point where I started the attempts to fix my sleeping schedule. There was a week I took melatonin supplements to correct my sleeping patterns, and I found that while it definitely helped to make me fall asleep, most nights I would jolt awake at 3-4AM, leading me into a random reintroduction of paranormal paranoia (which was probably my fault since I binge-watched new episodes of Ghost Hunters). I say reintroduction because I hadn’t felt this paranoid to be sleeping alone since I was child.
So I’ve made some compromises with myself. I decided that despite the fact that now is a time when content creators would be avidly pumping out content, I had to accept the fact that with the shared spaces, and rapidly decreasing amount of baking ingredients on store shelves, I would just have to stick to my normal schedule of releasing one video a week. I also had to come to terms with making content that was slightly irregular to my own and accepting that it is completely fine. It’s a chance for me to still be creative, but to also delve into other filming techniques, new set ups, new video formats, and to just really improve on my camera presence, my editing skills, all while learning to fully be me and have it show through my content. Some days I’m still beating myself up to do more, but for the most part I’ve come to terms with what I am able to do.
Aside from the workload that I’ve been tasking for myself, and trying to correct my sleeping patterns, I’ve actually found that I’ve been feeling a lot more connected to people from my past more now than ever before. There are many friends I’ve made throughout my life that have just faded slightly away due to the fast pace of everyday life and changes, and maybe left a few petty or bitter feelings here and there. I’ve always struggled to maintain and keep deep friendships, which is something I’ve been working on for a while now. However, with the lockdown, I feel it really helped speed up the process by forcing myself to learn how to reach out more, be more open and vulnerable. Also, by not having other commitments to be used as scapegoats, it’s helped me to not be so quick to run away from situations, and in turn, allowed me to let more people back into my life, and for that I am truly grateful. My only goal is to stay this way long after the pandemic is over, and everyone resumes their busy lives.
So you may be wondering, how am I handling life now? Well after organizing the postponement of my wedding, and cancelling all the trips I had planned for this summer, I now feel a sense of closure and therefore a little less anxiety. I’ve been working on waking up earlier everyday, no matter how late I sleep, and no matter how comfy or cozy my bed feels in the morning. I reward myself with a hot and delicious breakfast, usually consisting of fried eggs, toast, and coffee. The first few days I woke up early I was a mess, feeling nauseous and grumpy, or just being downright irritable. Waking up early left me with so much more time in the day that I didn’t know how to fill — making me anxious to spend my time creating content, and then pushing me back into a nervous flurry that would leave me feeling drained and result in long naps in the afternoon.
Nowadays I find that I am now feeling more adjusted, falling asleep at night has been easier, I’ve decided to get back into hobbies without pressuring myself to turn it into content, and just trying to enjoy every minute of everyday, challenging myself to often sit still and be in the moment. Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been spending the peaceful mornings sitting in the sun, either listening to an audiobook, or reading an ebook — thank goodness for the Toronto Public Library for free ebook rentals, and for friends helping me get back into reading. I’ve recently downloaded GoodReads the app, and now have a list of books to read, and more to look forward to. Usually after a few hours of cool sunshine and reading, I head back in with a clear and calmer mind to continue my days as I used to.
I would like to mention that this blog post is all about my struggles during this odd time in life, but I won’t hesitate to acknowledge that this pandemic has been a breeze for me compared to many others, as I have been lucky to not lose any family members or friends, I haven’t had to put myself at risk to go out to work, and I am in a full house so I’m never alone and never hungry. I feel extremely privileged to be able to take this time as a moment of reflection, especially because I’ve been able to really take this time to reconnect and chat with friends. In some ways this has been more of a blessing in disguise for me, but I’m aware that it’s been an incredibly hurtful and sorrowful time for others. I am ever so grateful towards every frontline worker, whether it be the hospital workers, long term care workers, those restocking grocery shelves, post office workers, and just anyone who’s had to put themselves at risk during this time. So I just want to say, I hope you’re doing well, staying safe and sane, and I pray that this pandemic will end soon.
Also yes, I’m one of those people who will come out of this with bangs.