My Self-Isolation Diaries: Week 2

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Quote the Raven: Sarah
Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies, minor in Disability Studies

Sarah

This week has been pretty different from the last. If you haven’t read my first entry in My Self-Isolation Diaries, isolation started out well. I used the self-care techniques I’ve learned over the years to keep myself happy and healthy.

However, this week the fatigue started hitting me. As I mentioned in last week’s entry, my doctor and I increased my anti-depressants, and every time I’ve done this in the past, I’ve gotten one week of boosted energy and one week of fatigue before leveling out. This time was no different. The day after my last entry was posted, my boosted energy dropped and the fatigue took over my life. I had a hard time getting up in the morning, sleeping in until around noon most days and still napping at some point in the evenings. My chronic pain also flared up from how productive I had been the week before, and the pain paired with the fatigue made it really difficult to get things done. I was also dealing with something very anxiety-inducing in my personal life. All things considered, my productivity plummeted.

Having my productivity plummet really damped my mood and the things I felt like I should be doing weighed on me, getting heavier and heavier every day. I hated knowing that I had the motivation to do the things I wanted/needed to do but wasn’t able to accomplish them due to physical limitations. My fatigue caused me to have to shift around my schedule for work, which I hate having to do, but I am so incredibly grateful that not only do I still have jobs right now, but that they are so flexible. Keeping busy and getting things done for work was essential to keep myself from dipping into depression, which is easy to do when fatigue and pain flare up.

Now, while writing this, I keep seeing all of the “need” and “should” I throw around, and I have to tell you what I keep reminding myself, which many of my counsellors have stressed to me over the years: I need to stop with the “should”s. “Should” doesn’t help anyone, it just creates a lot of pressure and guilt. Why do I feel like I “should” be doing all of these things? Will it be the end of the world if I don’t get them all done? What is making me feel like I “should” be doing these things?

This is a hard time for all of us. We do not have to be productive 24/7. Productivity is not a measure of success or failure. We need to give ourselves a break. Yes, keeping busy, cleaning your environment, learning something new – these are all great things to keep your mental health stable. However, they are by no means mandatory, and they by no means are the only way to look after yourself. Sometimes letting yourself stay in bed is self-care. Sometimes doing nothing is self-care. Sometimes getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, and smiling are the biggest accomplishments of your day, and that’s great! You do you. Give yourself a break. Take a breath, let go of everything you feel like you should be doing, and figure out what you need to do to look after yourself.

Be proud of yourself for everything you do. Congratulate yourself for doing even the smallest things.

If you

  • Got out of bed,
  • Got dressed,
  • Had a glass of water,
  • Texted a friend,
  • Cuddled with your pet, or
  • Ate something

Give yourself a gold star! You’re surviving. You’re getting through this. And that’s enough.

Say it with me: you are doing enough.

Keep looking after yourselves lovelies, and I’ll see you next week with another update.

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