The stages of lockdown breakdowns

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Lockdown is no piece of cake: most of us go through a sequence of reactions that starts with "It's all fine" and ends with "How did this happen?". Rafaella, from University College Utrecht, breaks all those stages down in a funny, relatable blog post.

After going on and off lockdown for almost a year, I like to consider myself a little bit of an expert on what it’s like to be stuck in a never-ending cycle. I’ve been coping with the situation in different ways, which follow one another in a sequence. So, instead of writing my assignments, I’ve decided to present you the stages of lockdown breakdowns, based on my personal experience.

Stage one - ‘It’s all fine’ :  You’re thinking this isn’t so bad. Two weeks will pass by easily -- it’s the perfect time to start that self-care routine you’ve been trying to follow for the past few months with little success. Maybe you’ll even start watching that Netflix documentary to expand your knowledge!

Stage two - ‘It’s okay to let go’: You’ve had your first lazy day. After all, there is no need to change out of your pyjamas if you aren’t leaving the house or planning to see anyone. You broke your attempt to be healthier by ordering takeout. It’s okay, though, because you’ll get back on track, right?

Stage three - ‘I’m still in control’: This is the tipping point. You haven’t left your bed in the past 24 hours (except to grab a bite in the kitchen). You have two options: get out of bed, get dressed, and start that paper that’s due in a few days; or start watching the next episode of The Queen’s Gambit. We all know which one you’ll choose – but, hey, you’re doing it because you want to.

Stage four - ‘I’m just reflecting, this isn’t a spiral’: The days blend into nights and you’re now running on the same schedule as your family 6,000 km away. It doesn’t matter if you’re sleeping at 5:00 am every night, because time is a social construct anyway. You’ve transcended watching shows on Netflix and moved to watching TikToks. It isn’t long before you reach the crochet side of TikTok and order 50 euros worth of crocheting supplies, because you know you’re a creative person deep down. Your bank account hates you.

Stage five - ‘I give up’: After watching hours of YouTube tutorials, you’ve figured out that you are not cut out for crocheting. But that’s okay, because you’ll try embroidery instead, you convince yourself as you’re lying on a pile of yarn. You check the fridge for dinner, but it’s empty. The grocery store is just so far away, so you end up browsing Thuisbezorgd.

Stage six - ‘How did this happen?’: You slowly come out of your quarantine trance what feels like years later. Half finished (horribly made) projects are scattered between takeout boxes on your kitchen table, and your laundry basket is overflowing. You realise you need to fix this, so you spend hours cleaning up your house, before going to the grocery store. Tonight’s dinner is the first home-cooked meal you’ve made in days. You smile, and notice that life is slowly (but surely) getting back on track.

Although this was a satirical take on quarantine/lockdown experiences, I do want to emphasise that it is important to look after your mental health. With social interaction becoming increasingly rare, it is understandable that this can take a toll on you. Consider this as a little reminder to check up on yourself. Take a minute to remember the small parts of your day that made you smile. Be sure to also take time to go on a walk (which is a Covid-friendly activity to do with a friend!) and don’t overwork yourself. This is an extremely stressful time for many of us, so reach out for help if you need it (there are resources available for international students struggling with the Covid-19 crisis)

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