• Malvika Jaganmohan

A list of things I said I would do during lockdown which I have not, in fact, done


I don't do well with lots of free time. Free time gives me too much space to become trapped in my own head, worrying about things that I really don't need to be worrying about.


So when lockdown came into effect and my workload largely disappeared overnight, I had far too much time on hands. In typical Malvika fashion, that meant going into overdrive, packing my time with training and articles and interviews and podcasts and basically whatever else I could think of so I wouldn't be sitting at home inventing anxieties.


So many people have complimented me on being so productive during lockdown. By contrast, they put themselves down for not having done much (or they think they haven't done much).


Look. Me being unable to enjoy doing absolutely nothing is not something to aspire towards. Enjoying your own company and being fully present in an increasingly time-pressured world where productivity is king - that's a real skill. And it's not one I'm particularly good at.


On top of that, my social media is my highlight reel. My Twitter feed will show off the talks and panels and podcasts because that is the picture I want to present. I am not going to be posting about the all-day 'Selling Sunset' binge sessions or the 5-hour midday 'naps' or the wasted time I spend refreshing my Instagram likes.


Anyway, because the Internet can sometimes be a breeding ground for negatively comparing yourselves to others, I thought I would create a list of things that might help you be a little kinder to yourself when making those comparisons.


So behold: a list of all the things I said I would do during lockdown which I have not, in fact, done.


Learning Tamil


My grasp of my mother tongue is pretty grim. Yes, I can get by; I can exchange pleasantries; I can usually understand what the people around me are saying. But I'd quite like to say something to my grandmother beyond "uh huh, I've eaten lunch" and "yeah, I don't really have work today". Anyway, I told myself that this would be prime time for me to do some online Tamil classes to build up my vocabulary.


Outcome: my Tamil is still shocking. I have not done a single class. My updates to my grandmother continue to be related to whether I've eaten that day.


Online courses


There's a running theme here about my links to my cultural heritage (clearly, I have a complex). On 17th April, I signed up for a 'Hinduism Through Its Scriptures' online course.


Outcome: I haven't started.


Organising the house


My mother and I would put the Kardashians to shame with the amount of clothes we have. I made it a goal to clear out all our unwanted clothes, Marie Kondo-style.


Outcome: I have more clothes than I did at the beginning of lockdown because online shopping has become a new weakness. I have cleared out nothing.


Writing a novel


Every NaNoWriMo, I tell myself: this is the year. This is the year I'm going to write my masterpiece. Sally Rooney, who? What better inspiration for said masterpiece than being in lockdown during a global pandemic?


Outcome: I haven't written anything more than a lengthy text message.


Finishing my newborn niece's baby blanket


My gorgeous niece was born on 16th May. My plan had been to knit a baby blanket for her (after learning how to knit) before her birth. Two failed attempts later, I am about a quarter of the way through baby blanket no. 3. In the meantime, my mum's friend made my niece a little collection of knitted booties, a hat and various other extremely fashionable, handmade mini clothes.


Show-off.


Outcome: obviously, my niece doesn't have a baby blanket from me yet.


Finally, here is a list of things that I have spent far too much time doing.

  • Refreshing my notifications on social media

  • Staring into space trying to motivate myself to exercise

  • Binge-watching Netflix

  • Reading nice comments about my writing

  • Reading not-so-nice comments about my writing

  • Worrying

  • Napping

  • Napping to stop worrying

  • Staring at my cat while she's napping

  • Staring at my niece on WhatsApp while she's napping

  • Taking photos of what I am doing rather than enjoying what I am doing

  • Changing outfits 5 times a day

  • Taking selfies once I am dressed

  • Making my parents take photos of me once I am dressed

  • Reading memes

  • Sending memes

  • Making memes of my niece's face

Anyway, the point of this post is: if all you manage to do day to day is to brush your teeth, or wash your face, or get dressed - that's amazing. Lockdown is tough on mental health. If you're struggling to keep your head above water rather than swimming graceful lengths of the English Channel, you should be proud.


Be kind to yourself because things are going to be tough for a while yet.


And don't be fooled by the personas people put up on social media; it's never the full picture.


If you are struggling with your mental health during lockdown, there are helpful links on the 'Resources' page.

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