Things You May Be Overdoing During Lockdown
posted on August 20, 2020 | by Sanhita Mukherjee
We’ve discovered new podcasts, we’ve baked banana bread, we’ve tried out intricate recipes that we never thought we would be able to master (homemade gnocchi, anyone?).
The lockdowns have been going on for long enough that most of us have curated a long list of ways to keep ourselves busy. In fact, the problem is that we might now have too many things on our plate! While initially, these might have helped kill boredom during the long hours at home, overdoing them can cause more harm than good. I found myself guilty of quite a few of these, so I thought I’d put these out there. Are you overdoing any of these things too?
A quick scroll through social media when you wake up. The long list of news articles and updates after you’ve had your coffee. The podcast you listen to while you work out. The massive TBR list you work through on the weekends. Being cut off from the rest of the world can quickly send your content consumption off the charts — you might feel like now is the time to catch up on all that you ever wanted to read, watch or listen to.
That’s great if it actually brings you joy and keeps you occupied. But what if it’s making you feel stressed out? Turns out, over-consuming content can be bad for you. Being constantly bombarded with new information can be pretty overwhelming, and can end up hampering your ability to focus and process all that information. So if you feel panicked at the very thought of all those podcasts, book recommendations, and must-watch documentaries you still need to check out, it might be time to trim that list and close some tabs.
Take a moment to figure out what you actually like versus what you are reading or watching out of social pressure. Don’t feel like you need to power through that book that everyone says you have to read, or that grimy documentary you feel guilty for not watching. And the news can be super-triggering right now, so no one will blame you for cutting back if you need to. It’s ok to re-read an old favorite book instead or re-watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine for the 437th time if you feel like you need a laugh. Or simply switch off for a little bit and do absolutely nothing!
This is another soothing self-care activity that can very easily be overdone when we have a lot of time on our hands. Find yourself frequently scrolling through your go-to beauty sites and adding too many things to your cart, even though you swore you were ‘just looking’? Tempted to try out a new mask or treatment every other day? If so, you might be going overboard with your skincare routine.
And as I found out the hard way a while back, overdoing this can have some not-so-soothing consequences. Did you know that over-exfoliating can actually cause you to break out even more than before? I sure didn’t. Likewise, if you’re using too many different kinds of products on your face, you run the risk of some ingredients not reacting well with one another. Given that you might not be able to rush to a dermatologist for an emergency consultation, it’s probably best to play it safe. If you are not using too much makeup these days and are largely staying indoors, you can probably get away with a minimalist routine instead of the usual multi-step process you follow. Go ahead and enjoy your favorite sheet mask if you’ve had a long day, but stay away from giving yourself that chemical peel at home!
Is it just me or has working out become much more enjoyable than it was before? I work out at night, so after being cooped up at home all day, it feels great to stretch my legs and sweat it out a little. Plus, there are so many fantastic workout videos and online classes available right now (not to mention, so much cute workout gear on sale!) that it has become extremely easy to stay active, right at home.
But overdoing this simply because you have more time now can be harmful for health. Over-training or using incorrect techniques can cause some pretty serious injuries. So if you are trying out a new kind of workout for the first time, start with a low-intensity version and work up from there. Make sure you also know what kind of warm-up and cool-down exercises you need to do before and after. This is especially true if you are training with weights at home — throwing out your back in the middle of a pandemic is not going to be great! Do remember to give your body enough rest in between sessions so that your muscles can repair and recover.
I feel like the lockdown has brought with it a high dose of toxic positivity among other things, and too much of that is certainly not great for our mental health. It is obviously important to try and stay upbeat — but let’s not forget that sometimes, it may be pretty hard to do so. It is ok (and most definitely normal, given the circumstances) to have a bad day and feel sad and depressed about it.
A couple of months back I was quite stressed about work, and my first reaction was that I should stop wallowing and keep on hustling. But what I really wanted to do was get in bed, wallow a bit and watch some cheesy movies while I was at it (if I had any ice cream at hand, I would have had that too). I went with the second option, and it was only later that I realized how badly I needed that.
So the next time you catch yourself feeling guilty about having negative emotions, hold that thought. Avoid telling yourself that things could be worse and accept those feelings of sadness, anger or frustration. You can then go about trying to make yourself feel better. Indulge in things that make you happy — a book, a bath or dancing with loud music in the background. Talk to someone who will not judge you or tell you to be grateful instead. In my experience, giving yourself that time to wallow for a short while goes a long way in helping you ‘be positive’ in the long run.
How are you staying busy during lockdown without overbooking yourself? Any new ideas?