I’m Back–Let’s Get Introspective

04 August 2020


I often ask myself how many ‘sorry I disappeared’ posts I can write in a single year yet here I am ready to write up another. I took far longer out of blogging this time around, though. This coronavirus pandemic has really been kicking my mental health's butt. I’ve appreciated the downtime. Apart from the 200+ blog posts I’ve not read from you guys, it’s been great. I feel very out of the loop now, though. It’s like trying to figure things out when you first get into blogging all over again.


I don’t want to do another life catch up, since my life has been very dull lately (I did go to the cinema for the first time in 6 months the other day which was interesting). I won’t fill you in on my TV watching and the repetition of daily life currently as that will be dull. Instead, I got a little introspective during my downtime (since I wasn’t reading) and decided to talk about the things I’ve learnt about myself while being stuck at home.


When I’m Stressed My Blogging and Reading Suffer 

I figured we would start off with the big stuff. I think it’s obvious I’ve not been blogging, but I’ve also not been reading a whole heap (it’s picking back up). I never realised it before but my blogging and reading take a major hit whenever my real life is getting particularly stressful. As I told you before, I got told I was going to be made redundant a couple of months back and the stress of figuring out how to deal with that meant that I pretty much stopped reading altogether and since I wasn't reading I felt like a fraud blogging. It didn't help all of my free time was being used to find and apply for jobs. My company did a total 180 with my job about three weeks ago and now my job is safe (I’m still salty about it, I’d accepted redundancy and so was angry they changed their minds) and so money worries are gone and my stress levels are back down to normal ‘we’re living through a pandemic’ level rather than full panic stations. Things are picking back up and I can remember I used to do other things other than look for a job and worry (still browsing for jobs but don’t have to apply for everything I see now). I definitely missed blogging.


Audiobooks and Podcasts are Awesome 

I kind of have Vera to thank on this front. She told me about The Magnus Archives podcast and I started to listen to that while I was working from home and the rest is history (if you haven’t already, listen to that podcast, we’re on the last season and it’s killing me). I never really got into podcasts before, I just didn’t get them. The same way I’ve always struggled with audiobooks. The only podcast I’ve really listened to is the Smart Bitches one and that just adds to my continually expanding romance TBR list. Never listened to a fictional podcast with a story and everything. So TMA was eye-opening. I’ve yet to listen to anything quite as good yet. I also recommend David Tennant’s podcast (very funny and interesting) as well as Louis Theroux’s podcast which was crazy informative. He spoke with such interesting people over lockdown, I hope he does more things like that as there’s only so many of his documentaries to watch. But I also mentioned audiobooks. I struggled to find audiobooks I liked and hated how on Audible you’re limited to one a month and then remembered both about borrowing them from the library (limited selection there) and also remembered that Scribd had a big selection to choose from. I’ve got myself a free trial and so far it’s going well, I've been using it for about a week or so and I've already finished two audiobooks. I do know Scribd can put some caps on you and such but now I've found contemporary YA audiobooks work perfectly for me while I'm working I'm hoping to clear some stuff off my TBR shelves. I'm still new to audiobooks, I do have to be in the right mood to listen to them, but it stops me being too lonely at home and stops me listening to the silence or the shattering of the silence when I can hear my neighbours kids.


Rewatching and Rereading (and Fanfiction) help with Stress 

Honestly, until I saw a tweet about how many who suffer from anxiety prefer to rewatch shows than see something new I did not realise that is something which I do all the time. I wouldn’t say I have anxiety but I would say that high-stress times make me want to delve into the familiar. It means I’ve rewatched a lot of romcoms, rewatched Firefly and now have started a rewatch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the past few months. The familiar is just easier right now. I’ve turned to a couple of old favourite books to help both with the reading slump and because my brain just can’t handle the tension in waiting to find out what happens next with a story. And I have been rereading so much fanfiction I’ve favourited it’s unreal. I am reverting back into 16 year old me. I am slowly pulling out of the world of the familiar but turns out if I'm stressed out or really emotional I want the TV and reading equivalent of a hot chocolate and warm fuzzy blanket and to delve into the comfortable for a while and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.


I Used to Think I Was An Introvert (I Was Wrong) 

I have never hated my own company as much as I have during lockdown. I used to like spending time alone. I could relax best and recharge my batteries with a couple of days at home. Now? I spend most evenings at my mom’s just to say I’ve spoken to people that day. I haven’t spent a whole day at home alone in a few weeks. Pretty much ever since our lockdown was eased enough that we were allowed to spend time in other people’s houses. I mean, ever since I was allowed to form a ‘support bubble’ with my mom’s household really. I have hated being alone during lockdown, it was probably the worst time to move out because I was both in a new house getting familiar with its quirks and then I was stuck alone while doing it. I hadn't even got round to getting a pet because I wanted to get settled first! I think it’s why I’ve not caught up on your blogs as well. I just don’t want to be at home alone right now so I've not sat at my computer for a while. Things will obviously change as we can go out more and maybe even return to the office, I will see more people and will want that alone time again. But until then my introvert status will be under review.


Working From Home Isn't As Fun As I Thought

I think you can tell from my other points I've not enjoyed being at home as much as I thought. And part of that is working from home hasn't been all that fun. I don't think it helped we thought we were all losing our jobs during that time. And we've had to do more work with fewer people due to staff being furloughed. Work has been stressful lately. Being sat in the same house for nearly 4 months does build a little resentment to your own home. It's made even worse that my company never provided me with equipment to work on so I'm working on my own laptop every day. When I finish work at 5 I don't really want to sit at my desk any longer blogging, it's another reason I'm behind on blog posts. At the start of lockdown, it was great, I spent loads of time at my desk, I played loads of Sims... now, not so much. I don't want to spend more time in the same seat. I actually debated getting the expensive apple keyboard for my iPad and blogging on there instead because then I can associate my laptop with work and my iPad with free time. I'm still undecided but I need to do something so my desk doesn't fill me with dread whenever I sit at it as it makes me think of work right now. I need to get good desk associations and that's not happening when I'm working 40 hours a week here.


I Thought I'd Be So Productive


And the big thing has been beating myself up I've not done more in lockdown. All that free time? I thought I'd get loads done but turns out I was wrong. I didn't blog, I didn't finish loads of boxsets. I didn't finish loads of books. My house is messier now than when I first moved in. My garden needs some serious TLC. I have not been productive. But then I remind myself it's probably one of the most stressful things we could have gone through. The uncertainty of a global pandemic with no cure, no vaccine, no real understanding of how it's spread. I can kind of get why I've been a little distracted. Life has been tough lately. And all those people posting on social media saying they're thriving in lockdown... I don't need to compare myself to them because social media is just a small snapshot of people's lives. I mean, I wasn't the most productive person before I was forced to stay home every day so why did I think that would change? I'm still lazy, messy and the queen of avoidance. And that's cool. I've managed to hit a 104-day streak on my Duolingo German lessons. I've learnt how to cook new things I would never have tried if I wasn't at home so much. I've discovered I like podcasts and audiobooks when I was adamant they weren't for me. I've figured out I really enjoy eating fruit but put a chocolate bar on my desk and I will always eat that first. I know I drink loads of water, but only when I'm sat at a computer, all other times I will forget about my need to drink until I'm dehydrated. So I may not be insanely productive in ways that might impress others, I've still figured out new things about myself and really I'm the only one that matters, screw everyone else.




And there are some lessons in introspection while I’ve been stuck at home. Do you feel like you’ve got to know me better? Think I'm a little crazier than you originally realised? Great, we’re practically best friends now then. Don’t worry, a review post is coming up next so it’s not loads of me rambling at my screen about how life is hard. I’ve started reading again, I have loads of books to review and I might get crazy with a discussion post! But for now, I'll be sat here nervous about posting this crazy rambling post for my return back, it seemed like a good idea at the time!


What have you learnt about yourself during this pandemic? And how are you occupying your time?

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