I've been wearing an envo (reusable N95) plus surgical mask since July. The envo seals around my face so not only does it give better protection but also eliminates the glasses fog. Some people looked at me weird when I first started showing up with this (especially the ones who were more concerned about matching their mask to their outfits), but now double-masking is a thing sanctioned by the top professionals.
When I start to get overwhelmingly down about the state of the world and how stuck I feel, I try to think of the positive sides to this pandemic. There are lots, but so many come with a darker side. For example, we've saved a nice chunk of change from not sending anything to the dry cleaners for the past year. But that probably means that a lot of others did the same and that business went under.
My weight has been going up and down in direct correlation to my mood. At the start of the pandemic I gained. Toward the fall I lost enough to get back to baseline (pre-pregnancy weight). At this point I'm finding myself comfort-eating more often than not and it's showing. I feel my clothes fitting tighter and get surprised when I catch an unexpected angle in the mirror. I try to fight the "what's the point" attitude with "this isn't forever." It takes a lot of mental energy to eat mindfully and I'm not in that mindset. I want to be healthy and strong, with all the right reasons to motivate me, but with so many limits on our lives food is a reliable, easy reward during a time we can all use extra love and comfort.
I took some time this week for personal grooming and self-care. I encourage my husband to do the same. We're deep in survival mode doing the bare minimum. After an incident left my feelings deeply wounded I needed to reset: I lovingly made a giant vat of chicken soup on Sunday. I had been saving the ingredients the week prior and finally got everything I needed in the last delivery. Since baby boy is currently transitioning from two naps to one, those nap minutes are precious and I used them to chop and clean veg to start the soup. I let it simmer for hours, and the house smelled amazing. I patted myself on a job well done and was so happy to have healthy lunch and dinner options for the next few days. The next morning I woke up literally by sitting straight up in bed: I had forgotten to put the soup in the fridge the night before and the whole pot spoiled. Between teething and the nap situation, I'd been getting less sleep and I was so tired and out of it the night before that I just forgot. I had no one to blame but myself and I was so, so upset. It put me in a funk and I needed something tangible to snap me out of it so I waxed my eyebrows and gave myself a pedicure. I gave a donation to charity to try to offset the sadness I felt by this seemingly minor incident to try to put out some good vibes into the world. [Thinking more about it I realize this was the last straw to something else too. I recently took on the challenge of watching all the Star Wars (yes, 9 movies). I didn't realize it at the time but I was feeding off of the energy of the rebellion who had something to fight for: a unifying goal that they were all working hard toward together. Excitement, adventure, hopping in a ship and taking off. All the things stuck people don't have. I'm thinking the soup was the last straw for me and it sent me down a dark path. I'm still not totally over it but at least better.]
We've discussed the option of trying to figure out how to schedule the cleaning crew to give our house a scrub since that's something that brings us joy. But with the cold weather making outdoors not an option and no safe indoor options, we literally have nowhere to go for several hours. Something else to push to the back burner for "when this is over."
I'm trying to think ahead and believe things will get better. There will be a time when we can hang out with friends and hang out with family and feel safe dropping our child off at school. I try not to think too far ahead because then it makes it harder to come back to the present when none of those things are an option. It's like playing the What Would I Do If I Won The Lottery - you imagine all the things you can buy with unlimited funds; how the world would be wide open for you to explore without the burden of debts or a daily job to report to... but then you need to come back to reality and realize you're still stuck to the financial ball and chain that is the daily grind.
On top of the mental struggle is the cherry on top known as guilt. As challenging as things feel for me, everyone I speak to is going through something. Some are challenged with trying to settle the estates of loved ones who were lost to the virus; others are dealing with struggling with food insecurity and financial instability because they lost their jobs; some are dealing with the crippling anxiety that comes with isolation, loneliness, and fear of what we're all dealing with. It doesn't mean my challenges are real to me, but putting things in perspective is important too.