Having an existential crisis in lockdown

That overwhelming feeling you’re having of anxiety, confusion, loss, uncertainty of what you’re doing and why it matters… you’re having an existential crisis.

We’re all prone to an existential crisis in times of change or sometimes in a plateau and lockdown due to the coronavirus is enough to make everyone stop and think.

Most people I know are having these feelings to some extent. Some of them have been furloughed, fired, are a key worker, are wfh but a non-key worker, others have lost someone, had the virus and overcome it – all of them are questioning and reassessing their life, as am I.

You stop and think about what matters, what doesn’t, what did and what shouldn’t.

Harvard Business Review wrote an article that stated the discomfort we’re all feeling is grief, for the people we’ve lost, a life we had and a world we knew before the outbreak. I couldn’t agree more.

There’s blame to push around, improvements to be made on every level, as our country begins to break at the seams from the demand on the NHS and the government funding the income of hundreds of thousands of people out of work.

It’ll come as no surprise then that as I regularly catch up with my friends, and scroll online or watch another YouTube video, I noticed we’re all having variations of the same identity crisis.

Have you thought?

  • I’m not a key-worker, what do I contribute to society? Does what I do matter? (This is definitely one for me)
  • I am a key worker, but I’m put at risk, underpaid and been undervalued for years. I’m doing what I’ve always done, why hasn’t it been given the credit it deserves before?
  • I’ve lost someone and I can’t process the loss or be with and comfort my family
  • Where am I going in life?
  • What am I doing?
  • Where should I be living?
  • I don’t have a job, what do I do next?
  • I have a job, but I don’t enjoy it
  • I have time to be productive, but I can’t motivate myself to do anything
  • I’ve got a reason to celebrate and no one to celebrate with and no way to celebrate.
  • My heart is broken and I can’t go anywhere or see anyone to distract myself
  • My mental health is deteriorating and I don’t know what to do
  • I’m having a baby and I can’t prepare myself or enjoy the excitement with my family and friends in person.
  • I’ve had a baby and nobody can come and visit or hold the child.
  • My internet is down. I can’t connect with anyone online or distract myself by streaming online.
  • I’ve had a break-up and I can’t get out of my rental agreement.
  • I was meant to buy a house and I can’t move in.

And breathe.

There is enough existential crisis material in that list for an entire lifetime, but it’s all happened in the space of two months.

Then it’s time for the important question… What do I do now?

What do you love?

The positives are a good place to start. What interests or hobbies do you have and love?

Yes Netflix might be a love of yours, but also why? Because it’s an escape or because you want to be in or write or produce TV shows?

What do you enjoy? Note a few things down and then it’s figuring out how to dedicate more time to those aspects of your life both during and after lockdown.

What do I no longer give a fuck about?

Pretty simple, but there will be certain things that have plummeted off your priority list faster than the banana bread being made across the world.

It’s a-ok to not give a fuck about those things anymore. Don’t forget what it is when you leave lockdown, and be sure not to waste another fuck on that aspect of your life, job, a person, ever again. If you need help with your fuck budget, Sarah Knight has got you covered.

The Life is too short for list.

Life is too short for comparing myself to others.

Life is too short for caring what other people think of me.

Life is too short for FOMO.

Life is too short for saving my best outfits for special occasions.

Life is too short for putting off seeing my relatives.

Life is too short for putting off the trip of my dreams to New Zealand for another year.

You get the idea. Then it’s time to eliminate these excuses, fears and pressures and make things happen.

What do I miss?

The quote flying around is “in the rush to return to normal, let’s use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”

For instance, I miss my friends, family gatherings, London, going for coffee, walking from the station into work, being able to get into the car and drive to the beach and sit by the sea.

It’s worth noting what you miss as it’ll remind you what you want more of as well as what you want less of and what in future you might want to avoid for your own wellbeing.

Research

Read, YouTube, Podcast the shiz out of the hobbies or interests you have and look at what kind of career or future that could translate to.

It comes down to, what do you want more of in your life?

Be specific about what it is and then find those things you want more of, or find people that already do or have that to see how they made it happen.

I’d like to write more either on a freelance or full-time basis, so I’m reading scriptwriting books and also working on small projects myself for competitions or simply as practice.

I also want to have more fun. I’ve made a list of bars, restaurants, clubs, gigs, shows that I’ve wanted to go to for ages to go to once the world reopens.

Distract yourself.

Perhaps you don’t want to figure out the next steps right now, just enjoy the break from regular life – slow down, do what you enjoy and distract yourself in the meantime.

Go for it. Immerse yourself in other worlds! It could be escaping into a good book (read my top 5 lockdown recommendations here) or a great film, my personal favourites at the moment are any Marvel film, Men in Black III and Harry Potter (obviously).

The point is, we’re all in the same rickety boat. Some days the weather is good and we sail through, other days the weather is bad and it’s an uncomfortable journey to the end of the day.

But you’re doing great, just keep riding out the storm.

Have you been feeling like you’re on the brink of an existential crisis in lockdown?

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