As with any stressful, turbulent moment that comes into our regular lives, everyone reacts differently. It could be a breakup, the loss of a loved one, or even just struggling to keep up at work or with class.
Some, like me, want to try and get back to a normal routine as quickly as possible, mainly to try and distract us from bad thoughts and feelings. Others need time on their own to process the situation, and they might take a bit longer to move forward with their lives.
To me, the coronavirus pandemic is similar, but with two key differences.
First: everyone around the world is going through it at the same time. Second: you can’t really get any advice from someone who has been through it before, as there simply isn’t anyone who has been through a pandemic of this scale in recent memory.
Usually, my mom or my close friends are my first port of call when I go through a difficult time, but now they’re just as clueless as I am. This makes it hard to know what to do or how to act in these unique, unprecedented times.
It’s been a while now since the lockdown began in Denmark, and I have noticed a few distinct behaviours emerging amongst my friends and family, and I’m sure you have as well.
So, here’s my attempt at a light-hearted list of the 6 different lockdown personalities. Can you recognise yourself, or your friends?
1. Productive Peter
For this guy, lockdown means there’s no excuse to hand in work late. Now that he has no commute, no social engagements, no fitness classes, he has all the time he could wish for to knuckle down and get things done.
Working from home is a godsend for him as he has everything he needs mere steps away and is saving a lot of money on lunch and transport.
2. Social Susanne
Just because the gym, bars and cafes are closed, doesn’t mean that this girl will let her usually busy social calendar fall by the wayside.
Morning yoga sessions over zoom, virtual Friday bar with her friends over video call and possibly even tuning in to some raves being streamed online – anything is possible to replicate real life once you put your mind to it. She’s doing her best to make her life seem as close to normal as possible – of course while updating her Instagram feed regularly.
3. Nervous Niels
The coronavirus has hit this guy quite hard, largely because of how many unknown variables there are. When will he be able to go back to the gym? Or just sit in a café by the window, sipping an actual latte instead of the mere instant coffee that he makes at home.
He’s constantly checking the news for updates on how many new cases there are every day, seeing what the rest of the world is doing about the virus, and looking for signs of hope that a vaccine is on its way.
He often finds the need to share his findings with his friend group in an effort to lessen his own stress by talking about it with others, but inevitably stressing them all out as well.
4. Lazy Lene
She’s possibly taken the fact that she won’t be seeing anyone in person for a while a step too far, living most of her days in pyjamas on the couch or still in bed.
She doesn’t turn on the video for lectures or meetings unless she has to, in which case she tries to make her top look a bit more classy while still wearing sweatpants out of the camera’s view. Probably rewatched Friends or The Office at least twice by now, but is definitely up for round three.
5. Lonely Lars
Unfortunately, not all of us have been able to quarantine with our loved ones for a number of reasons. Perhaps your family are all abroad or have weak immune systems so you don’t want to risk infecting them. This can mean that Lonely Lars is living in lockdown alone.
Initially, it may not have been so bad, finally having the peace and quiet to just do whatever he really likes without anyone bothering him.
However, it’s been over a month now and it doesn’t matter how many video calls or online gaming sessions he does with his friends – it’s still not the same. When he hangs up the phone, he can’t help but feel more isolated than ever.
6. Self-growth Sarah
Perhaps this girl was a relatively quiet member of the friend group, or you just didn’t know much about her. Now in lockdown, she seems to be thriving – baking and icing a beautiful cake one day, fixing up the plants in the garden another and even learning to make pasta from scratch!
Everything she’s doing and posting on social media looks really impressive, and you may be feeling a little bit jealous. But maybe she’s only doing it to feel and look as if she has everything under control and that she’s not wasting her time, in a situation where pretty much everything is out of her control completely.
The truth behind all of this is that you’re likely to have experienced more than one of these behaviours at some point during lockdown so far, if not all of them.
Sometimes, you just want to jump out of bed and get something done. It doesn’t matter what, just anything that’ll make you feel a sense of achievement and normalcy.
Other times, you’re just so sick of the news, the pressure, the overwhelming feeling of ‘When will this end?’ that binge watching shows on Netflix and only getting up to make a sandwich seems like the only thing you’re capable of doing.
My point is that all of these behaviours are completely normal, and you don’t have to fit into one category in particular. You don’t have to be productive all the time. You don’t need to learn a new language, or take up coding, just because you have the time.
At this point, lockdown is a marathon, not a sprint. Nobody really knows when it will end, and even though it’s great news that Denmark is slowly re-emerging from its strict lockdown and returning to normal, there’s still a long while to go yet.
So, don’t punish yourself for the ‘bad’ days, but do make a note of the good ones.
I recently made myself a ‘best of April’ list and surprised myself with how much I had managed to achieve despite the lockdown. Do think of a few activities every week that you can look forward to, like getting an expensive loaf of bread or pastry from a bakery instead of just ordinary supermarket bread.
Or, in my case, baking my mom’s signature chocolate chip cookies (even though they’re not nearly as good as when she makes them).
But most importantly, do take care of yourself. There will be an end to the madness one day.