Why am I not depressed?

Somehow this lockdown isn’t so hard on me as previous ones. Just like when I wasn’t feeling so good last summer, I can’t really pinpoint what makes the difference.

A few things are different though. First of all, I’m losing track of what this lockdown is. I think Germany has been in an official lockdown since November. And that it’s only the second lockdown. Initially under the pretext of bringing down cases so we could celebrate Christmas with bigger groups. And then it got extended again and again. But somehow there was public debate about whether or not there should be an Easter lockdown. As if we aren’t in one already.

The messed up thing though, is that in some respects, there’s never been a lockdown at all. Legally it’s been allowed to work in offices all along. On the other hand, daycare has been closed for the third time now. It’s not really closed though. It’s only open to children who have at least one parent with employed as one of professions deemed ‘system-relevant’ in the 31 page PDF issued by the city. And then there are several other exceptions. Allegedly I could get a haircut again and I think last time was end of summer.

I’m also losing track of time more than before. The first few weeks of the first lockdown were an eternity. Now the weeks are flashing by.

It really helps that I have really low expectations of what I can get done at work. Paradoxically, this helps me focus as I don’t get frustrated and distracted anymore by the things I’d want to do but can’t. I also have low expectations of what I can do at home. Every common household chore I finish is a win, whereas last year I thought I could do some home improvement things while taking care of the children. Last year I could get pretty frustrated when by 10:00 the children would still be in their pyjamas and refused to eat breakfast. Now I know that they then will likely get hungry enough to come to the kitchen. And that when I go outside, they want to come along and all of a sudden can quickly change their clothes.

My mindset also improved in another way. I do my best to focus on activities. When I work, I make sure I don’t get disturbed. I’ve been teaching the children to knock on my office door before entering (it works half of the time, but more importantly, they seem to just leave the door closed more often). When I’m with the children, I enjoy that. Instead of trying to solve work problems in my head or, god forbid, trying to do work from my phone. My mindset improved t in another way too. I do my best to focus on activities. When I work, I make sure I don’t get disturbed. I’ve been teaching the children to knock on my office door before entering (it works half of the time, but more importantly, they seem to just leave the door closed more often). When I’m with the children, I enjoy that. Instead of trying to solve work problems in my head or, god forbid, trying to do work from my phone.

It gets better! Last year I had to do an effort to accept that I had to work less and spend so much time with these children who wouldn’t want to listen to all my ambitious parenting ideas. This time, I’m trying to optimize some things for just this situation. I ordered juggling balls, because having a non-computery, non-thinking learning activity would be a great distraction (too bad that due to pandemic reasons they haven’t been delivered yet). I got myself a longboard so I have something to do other than looking at my phone while with the children outside, already a while ago. But now they claim it every time I get it out of the shed. So I also ordered skateboards for them. I’m looking forward to riding with the three of us!

But yes, the situation still sucks. I want my children to enjoy their regular routines and learn more. I want the people with covid to get better. I want to meet people without feeling irresponsible. But those are things I can’t change. But I can and somehow do now accept the situation and make the best of it.

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