Have You Reached The Rage Stage Of The Pandemic?
PSA: constant irritation due to the pandemic is a *thing*
I’m just going to throw it out there – little things irritate me. A lot. The TV volume not in multiples of five? Irritating. My skincare products not in their own little home in the bathroom? Exasperating. Someone chewing with their mouth open? I combust with rage. I’m well aware that I sound like a bit of a weapon, but I’m lovely, I promise. So I’m no stranger to being irritated, but lately, I’m finding everything to be that bit more irritating than normal. Scrolling through Twitter (sometimes the social media ‘home’ of rage), I can see that I’m certainly not alone.
Everyone is finding everything annoying. Even activities that used to bring joy, like a relaxing little walk with a podcast has become another irritating item to tick off a daily to-do list. Not that I’m a fan of walking without a purpose, but now the very idea of going for a walk for the sake of going for a walk has my eyes rolling to the back of my head. From those irksome insurance ads on the TV to hair washing day rolling around, yet again, everything is infuriating.
Now that you know where I’m at in this stage of lockdown, as I was on one of my hundreds of daily Twitter scrolls, I came across the term ‘pandemirritation’. It’s a mouthful, and I’m sure you can guess that definition without needing any further hints. Believe me, I’ve tried to concoct a shorter term. But during yet another lockdown, I’m sure you’ll forgive that my brain isn’t exactly working at its highest capacity each and every day.
But just to ensure I wasn’t alone in this, I reached out to some of my gals who wholeheartedly backed up my pandemirritation feelings. One was getting more and more irritated by the second with her closest colleague, “We get on great in the actual office, but while working from home she’s asking for updates every five minutes. Every time I see her name pop up on my screen, I swear I feel the smoke blowing out of my ears.”
While another said her girlfriend is the reason behind most of her irritant moods. “Everything she’s doing is boiling my blood, from leaving spoons on the edge of the sink to not making the bed when she gets up each morning. I’m hoping this will phase out, or else it’s just gonna turn into The Ick.”
Another seemed to sum everything up perfectly in one sentence: “I’m just annoyed that we haven’t got our lives back yet.”
Comparing levels of irritation has almost become our hobby at this stage, along with imaginary conversations (or imaginary arguments, shall I say) with those people who simply will not pull their face mask over their nose.
It’s a thing, we’ve reached the aggravation stage of the pandemic.
“Being in a confined space all the time, in the same four walls, with a limited social bubble, all of our feelings and emotions are magnified. We have a cocktail of emotions running through our body, from fear, uncertainty, stress, anxiety, and anger, that’s all be repressed,” explains emotional health advisor Susana Serradas (susanaserradas.com Instagram @mindcarecoaching).
“If you think of it as a pressure cooker, before the pandemic we didn’t realise how we would easily blow off steam, by default. So for example, say you’re at home and you’re annoyed with your kids, partner, sister, whoever it may be. Simply by leaving the house you’d blow off steam. You’re moving, you go to different places, see different faces. You could be chatting to a colleague and blowing off steam about what’s annoying you, then you’d be focusing on other things throughout the day, by the time you get home you would probably have forgotten about what you were annoyed about in the first place.
“Now, we are no longer blowing off steam on auto-pilot, and have to do it in a subconscious way,” Susana explains to STELLAR.
So how can we just take a minute to literally calm the eff down before combusting? I’m not here to tell you to take a deep breath and jump on the meditation bandwagon every time you feel your intolerance levels rise, but according to Susana, there are a few things that we can do.
Firstly, let’s kick things off with the basics. Because just like with anything else, if we can smash the basics then we’re off to a flying start. “People often underestimate the importance of sleep, food and exercise”, continues Susana. “Sleep regulates our emotional and hormonal stress, while the liver (which is actually associated with irritability) repairs itself between the hours of 11 pm and 1 am. So the importance of getting a good nights sleep is vital.
“When it comes to food, a lot of people are getting into health and fitness during lockdown, which I’m all up for. But I don’t think we should deprive ourselves as a lot of the time we restrict then binge. Rather than restricting or depriving ourselves, eat what’s nutritious and what your body is asking for. For example, it’s so cold out at the moment so our body is looking for warm and hearty meals. Even moving jumping around for a few minutes each day can help you with a burst of endorphins and allow you to let off some steam. Put your music on loud, jump around and have a good time for ten minutes before getting back to work after lunch,” advises Susanna.
Since the beginning of lockdown, journaling has become a bit of a buzzword. But according to Susanna, there’s more to it than just jotting down a few notes. “Lastly, quiet time for ourselves will certainly help with those feelings of irritability. One quiet time activity that has become popular since the pandemic is journaling, which I’d always recommend. But another one to try is a happy list.
“A lot of the time when I ask my clients what makes them happy, they always have to think about it.
“So write a list of small things that make you happy, for example, having your nails done, sitting down with a cup of tea, reading a book. If a manicure is something that makes you happy, and you’re thinking ‘oh but I don’t want to do it myself, I want to go and get them done’ think of the finished product instead, and the fact that it will bring you happiness. Focus on the outcome, and you’ll enjoy the process more. Each day, do something from this list. In the end, it’s just about something that makes you happy.”
So, if you’re feeling irritated by everything and everything, it’s time to cut yourself some slack. Maybe even cut some slack for those around you too. It’s a weird, weird time. It’s completely normal to feel so weird about life right now. And yes, to feel annoyed at everything, because we all just want our lives back. Feel annoyed, but try not to feed your inner grump too much, eh? Get out that pen and paper, it’s time to write a happy list!
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