Life in Lockdown - Further Thoughts of a Sussex Student
Jenny Bathurst is hoping to study journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).
The coronavirus crisis has robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. We have asked Jenny to share her thoughts on the difficult times we are living through... Here is her second contribution.
"Well, I’m still here. As the three week extension to the lockdown has been announced the temptation to have a complete meltdown has heightened, and the thought of watching one more underwhelming Netflix romcom makes me wonder how tedious Shakespeare really was. It seems that my body has been taken over by an eighty year old crazy cat lady, where I’ve been spending hours under my blanket piecing together jigsaw puzzles with a sleeping cat on my lap, bringing a new meaning to ‘wise beyond my years’. Yet, despite all this, I must admit that I am in fact very much enjoying myself. Where previously the prospect of spending even a single day cooped up inside my house felt nearly unbearable, hours spent reading with the gentle hum of my record player in the background have been incredibly cathartic. As much as the prospect of lockdown being extended even further is certainly nerve-wracking, there is no doubt that this time in my own little bubble has perhaps been exactly what I have needed for a while now.
"I remember in primary school reading a book by Andrew Norris called Bernard’s Watch. When in possession of a magical pocket watch Bernard had the ability to pause time and his surroundings meaning he could do whatever he pleased without reality getting in the way. Not only could he lend the watch to others, but he often used it to get himself out of sticky situations, and ever since I first read the book I have told people that if I could have any superpower that would be the one capability I would love to have. The ability to silence any stresses or dilemmas even momentarily seemed idyllic, to have even just one day without responsibility to breathe and find my feet. When I look at the current climate, it seems the world has offered everybody our very own Bernard’s Watch. With an abundance of time now on our hands it can be so easy to feel overwhelmed and unproductive, something those of us who use social media can certainly relate to. Just a few swipes and taps and suddenly not only do you feel inadequate about your shape and size, but also the way you’ve spent your day and the fact you may still be in your pyjamas. Recently I took part in an Instagram challenge to run 5 kilometres and then donate £5.00 to a charity supporting the NHS, after which I posted a photo proving I had done so. What wasn’t shown was that I later devoured nearly an entire Easter egg whilst watching my favourite boxset, probably gaining every calorie that I had earlier lost.
"Comparison at this time can be unimaginably self-destructive. It is often the days that I am feeling pessimistic and disheartened that an influencer I follow on social media has tidied their entire house, completed five workouts and eaten salad for every meal, yet when I attempt to have a healthy and productive day my feed is filled with claims that it’s okay to eat chocolate twenty four hours a day and binge watch television. No matter where we turn there is a new expectation for how we should live in these bizarre times, but why are we listening? For the majority of us this is the break for which we have been yearning for so long, yet we’re allowing others to dictate how we spend it. I am certainly no expert on mental health, but what I do know is what we need at this time is security. I cannot continue to listen to every expectation and fulfil every assumption, but what I will do is search for a balance that I’m comfortable with. I will go on a run and later demolish a whole Easter egg, and for me, I’m okay with that. This strange situation can be a time for positive change, and we have the power to do that however we wish.
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