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?