I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post during this time but I’ve found writing a bit therapeutic. New Zealand has been on a lockdown for roughly 5 weeks and this is my 6th week of being at home. I have gone through a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions during this time and I thought I’d put them down here and reflect on the past few weeks. I’m sure what I have felt during this unusual time is not unique as we’re all in a similar boat.
So NZ has been in an Alert Level 4 from 25 March which basically meant staying at home unless we’re going food shopping, seeking healthcare or exercising (walking, cycling or running) locally. We stick within our household bubble and physically distancing with anyone else outside this bubble. If you’re in NZ, you should know this by now but for those who don’t, our whole country has been in complete lockdown.
The past few weeks has been pretty tough and I know I’m not the only one that have felt this way. At the start of lockdown, I started a bullet journal with a tracker of my emotions and habits and it’s been interesting looking back to the waves of different emotions I’ve felt throughout this time.
I’ve found I had these different phases in lockdown:
1. Feeling Okay
The first few days of lockdown was weird but I generally felt okay. I think I was still processing what was going on and adjusting to the new ‘normal’. It hasn’t really sunk in yet and I was in a good mindset that we’re all doing this for the greater good which is to save lives.
I was even motivated to start my bullet journal, declutter my room and try working out. Sadly this phase was a bit short-lived.
After the above phase, I started to get angry as the moment I stepped outside I saw all the other people that weren’t adhering to the lockdown rules and I also saw and was told of people online who were blatantly showing their disregard for the rules. I was so angry. It was infuriating to me how ignorant people are and at this time, NZ didn’t have any deaths due to Covid-19 yet.
I was also just very irritable at everything. Everyone online was making sourdough, cleaning every single room and space in their houses and posting their workout videos. Everyone was so productive that I was getting annoyed for some reason.
Eventually I realised that I needed to focus on what I can control and what I can do. Other people’s actions is outside my control and it is up to me as to how I absorb content online and how I react to things.
3. Anxiety and sadness
I’m not a super anxious person but during this time, my anxiety has been heightened. Being in the supermarket, not touching my face and making sure I’m 2m away from everyone outside when half the people I pass on the footpath or the beach don’t seem to care.
I also know I’m lucky that I still have a job and I am able to work from home but I’ve also felt stressed that I’m not being as productive as I should be or as I normally am. I had to realise that this is such an unusual time and we’re trying to work during a global crisis. There is a sense of helplessness and grief felt during this time.
I’ve had some really down days this past few weeks. A the start, it was due to missing the social interaction but other times, I didn’t really know exactly why I was sad. I just was and I just had to acknowledge what I was feeling and knew it will pass.
4. Boredom and Tiredness
The past few days, I’ve hit this phase and it sucks! I actually don’t mind being at home but I truly miss the freedom of being able to go anywhere I want to. I’ve tried to do a few things to use up my time such as colouring in, reading, bingeing on TV shows and watching movies and a spot of gardening here and there but I’ve come to a point that I’ve lost any motivation or energy to do anything.
I was so bored I started playing games on my phone. I’m not a gamer. My sister has a PlayStation and I’ve never used it. However, I’ve started playing games on my phone which I didn’t want to get hooked on because it’s good to be away from a screen. I don’t like being bored and I know I need to find ways to entertain myself in a more efficient way.
5. Feeling grateful
I thought I’d end this on a good note. Amidst the negative feelings I’ve said above, there were also moments of good. This lockdown period has given myself and I know others too, a time to reflect on the good things. There is a lot of bad happening around the world, one look at the news and it will be in your face but there is also a lot of good.
On days that I felt really low, I tried to pick myself back up again and find some strength to go for a walk or get some fresh air and it is during these moments that have made me think about what I’m grateful for.
Some of them are:
I am so lucky to be living in New Zealand during this time. As a country, we are doing well and we have a Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who is competent and compassionate. Along with the Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, they have made most of us NZers feel safe and informed. In comparison to how other world leaders have dealt with this pandemic, I reckon we got the best one.
I am also super grateful I live close to the beach. It’s within a few minutes from me and hearing the waves calms me down without fail. I have the option of going to the beach on one side and having the city and Harbour Bridge view on the other. I love the area I live in and there is nowhere else I’d rather be.
We have a love / hate relationship with technology but at this current time, it is quite nice that we’re able to talk to people easily. To stay in touch with friends and family, we can call them or video chat them wherever they are in the world. I’ve enjoyed having Zoom meetings with friends and catching up with a bigger group of people as well as one on one chats and video calls. I think hearing someone’s voice on the other line or seeing people even though it’s through a screen is a nice way to still have the social interaction us humans need.
My cats are pretty much my life. I love them to bits and I am so grateful I have them. Pets can sense when you need extra love. My cats aren’t really lap cats but they can be quite cuddly. Turbo sleeps in my room and usually by my feet. Mouse comes in early morning when I’m still asleep and by the time I wake up, he’s usually lying on my chest. They can be little shits but they’re adorable and have kept us entertained.
Even the smallest thing such as being sunny is like a Godsend to me. We’ve had gloomy autumn days which affected my mood so much. Whenever I wake up in the morning and see the sunshine peeking through the gap in the curtains, I know I’ll feel a bit better that day.
A chance to slow down
What we currently have a lot of right now is time. We have all the time in the world to spend at home within our bubble. Before this, my weekends are usually spent by me waking up to go for an early morning walk along the beach, going out for brunch and being out and about. Whilst I do miss those things a lot too, it’s made me realise that it is okay to slow down and have a day to myself without any pressure of ticking off everything in my to-do list. My weekend mornings are now usually spent reading in bed.
This time has given me a chance to cook more Filipino food at home. I’ve made spring rolls (lumpia shanghai) for the first time and I’ve had other Filipino meals I haven’t eaten in ages such as Afritada and Binagoongan. I love Filipino food and I’ve got the chance to be more creative in the kitchen.
I have also finally learned how to use the coffee machine so I can make a proper coffee with freshly ground beans. I no longer rely on my Nespresso pod machine and I don’t feel the urge to run to my nearest cafe to get barista-made coffee.
I think this time has made me appreciate the little things a bit more. Whilst I had moments of negativity and sadness, it’s usually followed by moments of happiness and gratitude as well.
From today, 28th of April, NZ has moved into an Alert Level 3 which means we can get takeaway food and more things are available online for us to buy. Stores and malls are still closed and I’m still working from home but we get a bit more options now. We can have a shared bubble too as long as it’s small and exclusive. It is really nice to be able to hug someone and cuddle next to someone especially in these cold autumn nights.
I don’t know how long we’ll be in lockdown for and there is still a lot of uncertainty but I am hopeful we’ll get through this relatively okay and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you’ve managed to get to the end of this post, thank you for reading my late-night ramblings. I hope you’re safe and keeping well. If you’ve gone through the different phases I’ve noted above, let me know and I’m always up for a chat here or more easily on my other social media channels.