• Teresa Lansing

Covid Has Derailed My Give-A-Damn, Part One

Updated: Feb 10

Although I have personal views and opinions about the Covid-19 “pandemic”, this article is not about the virus, or the politics, but about the emotional and mental fallout which has resulted from the restrictions. And more specifically, how it has affected me.

Are the restrictions getting you down? Humans are social creatures – it would be highly unusual if you were NOT affected by the isolation and masking mandates! I know MY Give-a-Damn, if not broken, is badly damaged.

Let me explain.

Pre-COVID-19, I was extremely healthy, not just for my age, but healthy! I rarely ended my day with less than 10,000 steps on my Fitbit, usually more. These days it takes me three or four days to reach that total. Pre-COVID-19, regular workouts, at least three times per week, plus daily walks with my dog, were the norm. Since the new year, I have completed two workouts and averaged no more than a couple walks per week.

Living in the country, I often do not worry about cosmetics or hair-styling but Pre-Covid since I either drove to town for groceries, to visit my family, to attend church, or invited people to my home two – three times per week, I did take some pains with my appearance. Over the past 2 weeks, I have shopped for groceries once, and stopped briefly at my daughter’s to pick up a package. Masks make cosmetics pointless so I wore makeup once over the Christmas holidays and again the other day because I purchased new products in an attempt to break out of the doldrums. The only people I see are either outside or in the grocery store so I always have on a touque to protect me from the Canadian winter weather and usually stick my hair in a ponytail. Pre-Covid, my hair was cut every 5-6 weeks. In the past eleven months I have seen my hairdresser twice.

Pre-Covid, I was busy all the time. I baked, to take it to our grandchildren when I went for a quick visit, and to be sure I always had goodies on hand for company. I looked for new recipes to try, courses to take, health topics to research, and and excuse for family gatherings. These days it seems I have nothing to do and all day to do it! The days are endless, running one uneventful day into another until I am uncertain which day it is. It has become more difficult to force myself to do anything. Always a list-maker, Pre-Covid I used my Day Timer to ensure I completed everything I needed to get done from daily household chores to special projects, appointments, and social engagements. Now I write entries such as “take a shower” in my schedule as a reminder that even though I really don’t have any reason to get cleaned up and dressed, I really should.

Daily household chores once took me and hour or two each morning to complete but now I’m often trying to finish them in the evening, or rationalizing why I may as well leave them for the next day, not because I’m busy but because I cannot find the motivation to do anything but scroll mindlessly through social media or complete puzzles on my devices – there just isn’t anything really pressing to do. My dining chairs have been upturned on the table for two weeks because no one uses them and I need to pick them up every time I clean the floors so why not leave them there? I now take my meals to an armchair in my room, to the living room sofa, or simply stand at the kitchen counter. It doesn’t really matter because my “meals” have slid into no-fuss, no thought finger food – raw veggies, fruit, toast with occasional servings of yogurt or eggs. I have always battled my inner night owl but I had learned that getting at least seven hours sleep was optimum for my health and usually lights were off by 11:00 p.m. These days, I rarely get even six hours sleep, simply because it seems too much effort to turn off the TV or crossword puzzle and go to bed.

Does any of this sound familiar? I recognize that not everyone has experienced the restrictions exactly as I have as each of us lives in unique situations. Some are urban dwellers while others live in the country with no neighbour in sight. Some live with family members. Many are employed. Others work outside of the home. The experiences of these people are entirely different than those who live alone, have lost their jobs or work from home. Some have struggled to cope with school shutdowns when they needed to work but had no childcare options nor time to supervise schoolwork. Others juggled their schedules, and homes, to incorporate home schooling into their lives. Many of our elderly who have not embraced the technical age found themselves alone, and cut off, nervous about the fearful reports they saw on the news. Some were eligible for government Covid relief programs; many were not. Small businesses forced to shut down for weeks or months at a time, unable to meet financial obligations were closed permanently. Many children and adults suddenly found themselves without sports, gyms, or even access to outdoor pursuits, and unable to cope with the lack of social and physical activity.

Stress, weight-gain, alcohol and drug abuse, family violence, suicides, and depression have risen to concerning levels. Every time I see a government-sponsored message on television about the signs and concerns of mental health, I curse the government whose restrictions are responsible for so much of the problem – especially when these public service ads are sandwiched between their unending Covid warnings. It would seem more prudent to save those advertising dollars for treatment rather than the “sorry, not sorry” communiques.

Everyone I speak to has a different story but all seem to be weary of the situation. The common theme is “I am so done with this!” I tended to agree, gradually let my personal habits slide, and rarely contributed much of value to these conversations until last week my daughter reminded me that as a certified health coach I knew, more than many, the importance of mental health, self-care, and the mind-body-soul approach to health. What a wake-up call that was!

So, I would like to share with you my journey back to “normal”, not the “new normal”. I plan to take back my health – mind, body, and spirit – and I would love it if we could do this together.

Stay safe, healthy, and happy on your journey,