I’m sitting at my desk, I’ve done my morning yoga, and I’ve even eaten my breakfast. Perfect start the day, right?
Well it would be if Mr Neighbour wasn’t currently scraping the paint off the outside of his house, right outside my window. Like chalk on a blackboard. Ouch. The other week he was pointing the flags all day outside - so much so it was shaking the house. Heck, even the sound of his hoover inside his house is driving me crazy. Please someone send help.
I usually love my neighbour. He’s a widower in his 70’s who normally has a busy schedule away from the house, and when he is at home, he always remembers to take the bins out for us because we’re so useless and forget. So why am I so God damn annoyed?
Is the Pandemic making us more irritated?
The short answer to this is yes.
According to Gail Saltz, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, “It is making people irritable or having a shorter fuse or more quick to anger. When you give people high anxiety or even when you give them a lot of sadness and loss, irritability is often a symptom.”
The good news is we’re not alone — and I didn’t even need the back-up from Gail to make me feel better. I had an understanding phone call with my best friend a few days ago who told me that even the birds outside are getting on her nerves. I mean why should they get to tweet joyously and enjoy the outdoors if we can’t?! Unbelievable.
We’re stuck at home day after day, with the same routine and the same people — even if it is just ourselves.
We’re worried we might get sick, if we’ll have a job at the end of all this, and how long this will all last. We are bound to get cabin fever and lash out so don’t worry if you completely lose your shit.
“Feeling overwhelmed and anxious right now is completely normal. It is important to be aware of that and allow ourselves space for feelings and even forgive ourselves for them,” Jessica Gold, MD, MS, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis.
So what can we do about it?
Take a time-out
As soon as you feel yourself getting antsy, stop, notice it, and take five. Notice how you’re feeling, acknowledge it and then deliberately let it go. Focus your attention immediately onto something else — something that makes you feel good.
Maintain healthy habits
I know I’ve not been getting enough good quality sleep lately, so this is adding to my irritability. It’s important we prioritise our sleep routine, eat as healthily as we can, meditate or try some form of exercise each day, even if it’s only for 20 minutes. We got this.
Connect with others
Support right now is super important whilst we’re all socially distanced. Jump on a video call or send a text message to those closest to you. Chat about what’s bothering you and then have a good old giggle.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. ” — John Lennon