We all knew that our lives were going to change (possibly for the long term) when lockdown started. Between wearing masks to the grocery store, working from home, and staying 6 feet apart from everyone outside of our houses, there was no way life was going to go on as normal.
I have found a few unexpected changes, however. Some of them totally threw me, and some of them I admittedly should have predicted. This week, I wanted to share those unexpected consequences of lockdown and how they’re affecting me.
Looking Forward to Getting Dressed Up
Back when I was going into the office and had to dress up for work every day, dressing up wasn’t really exciting. When you’re at work in dress clothes and all you want to do is get home and put on your sweatpants, the thought of going home only to get dressed and leave again is cringe-worthy. Now that I basically live in my loungewear, I absolutely love breaking out my nice wardrobe and dressing up. I get excited for any opportunity to put on a dress, switch out my earrings, and feel fancy. I never thought I’d see the day when the thought of wearing a dress actually fills me with joy.
Playing More Video Games
Before COVID hit, I legitimately can’t remember playing video games besides “Mario Party,” “Mario Kart,” and “Super Smash Bros.” I started playing “Let’s Go Eevee” and “Scribblenauts Mega Pack” before lockdown, but there’s no way I would’ve finished them so quickly had I been able to actually go places and do things. You might think that I would’ve anticipated this spike in gameplay — more time stuck at home = more video games. It makes perfect sense! But I really wasn’t much of a video game person before I was trapped in my house with nowhere to go. Since lockdown started, I’ve been playing “Save The Light” (I even got a Steven Universe phone game when I finished it), “Pokémon Shield,” “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” “Paper Mario: The Origami King,” and “Luigi’s Mansion 3.” Video games are a new form of escapism for me, but an effective one!
Surprisingly enough, I’ve been showering more during lockdown than I ever did when I was going into work. What was once an activity that I had very little energy for has now become a nice self-care activity. Especially on days when I leave the house for any reason, I look forward to coming home and decompressing with a nice shower. Sometimes, I’ll just take a random shower in the middle of the day. It’s a great mental reset.
One of the reasons that I have this surplus of energy is the way that lockdown has affected my sleep. I knew that I would get more sleep since I wasn’t commuting into the office, but I didn’t realize how much better I would sleep. You know that anxiety you have when you know the alarm is set for early in the morning so you watch the clock all night? I used to wake up in the middle of the night restless with anxiety about how early the alarm was set. Now that I’m able to sleep in later, I’m not plagued with as much anxiety and my quality of sleep has improved! It’s amazing what you have the time and energy for when you actually get quality sleep!
More Driving Anxiety
This one is something that I should’ve seen coming. It took me several years to get rid of my driving anxiety (I still have it when going somewhere new!), but overall, I have learned how to drive to familiar places with relative ease. Since lockdown started in March, I don’t think I drove my car again until June, and while I was only going down the street to my dentist, I could feel my driving anxiety coming back. Who knows how frequently I’ll need to use my car as we find our new normal, but if I need to use it regularly, I’ll need to take some time to become reacquainted with my car and familiar routes.
Less Seasonal Allergies
This one may sound totally obvious, but it didn’t really hit me until I started doing yoga outside. Seasonal allergies have long been a part of my everyday life. I take Zyrtec every day to keep that post-nasal drip at bay. Since I’m not going outside and being exposed to allergens every day, I’ve cut back to only taking a half Zyrtec every day, and my symptoms are all but gone. When I go to the park to do yoga, however, it’s a different story. I return home with itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, and a wicked post-nasal drip. Without my normal exposure to the elements, I’m just not used to the allergy symptoms anymore. But if I only have to deal with allergies on the rare occasions that I go out, I’ll gladly take those occasions over daily symptoms.
Networking, Networking, Networking
Since I’ve started coaching school and began building my coaching practice, I’ve had to find new ways to network. I’ve joined more FaceBook groups and connected with more awesome people than I can count! Now that everything is virtual, I have been able to network with people around the world that I might never have met otherwise. I’ve found several virtual groups who were strictly in-person until COVID hit, but now that they can’t meet in-person, they’ve opened their network up to everyone. I’ve even been able to host my own meetups and guest on some pods, too. Between the Facebook groups, LinkedIn connections, and various meet up groups, I’m doing more networking now than I ever have!
Change in the Energy I Have for Socialization
Now that I’m getting more sleep and have so much more energy than before, small-scale socialization has become so much easier for me. Messaging with friends doesn’t give me as much anxiety! Making new connections has become exciting! Going to yoga classes doesn’t trigger my social anxiety! When I used to spend all of my day socializing, excess socialization was difficult for me. I’m an extrovert, so I loved spending my days talking to my coworkers. But I still only have so much energy every day. On the other hand, large-scale socialization has become immediately draining. While larger crowds of people used to overstimulate and exhaust me after a few hours, now those types of gatherings are so rare that they immediately exhaust me and make me want to escape somewhere secluded. Who knew that hanging out practically alone in your house all day would make you feel intimidated by crowds?
With all of the networking and showering that I’m doing, I’ve had very little time for writing. And as I’ve said previously, I was hoping I would get way more writing done during lockdown, not less! I hate the fact that I’ve been doing less writing, but I’m just going to see how my writing fits into this “new normal.”
I suck at change. I mean, I really struggle when things around me start to change. When I experience big life changes, I start to reassess everything else going on in my life and see how I can make changes to enjoy life more. This time at home in particular has caused me to reflect on a lot. I’ve gained more confidence, started connecting to people in the poly space again, Dan and I have started seriously looking for a place to buy, and we even bought my engagement ring and wedding band! Going out less and being less go-go-go has caused me to really sit back and take stock. As it turns out, when there isn’t much going on in the external world, I have a tendency to see if things need to change in my internal world.
How about you? What’re some unexpected consequences that lockdown has had on your life?