I feel really weird.

As someone who writes for a living, I wish there was a better way to say that, but I don’t have any other way to describe this feeling.

While makeup is something I love and enjoy, some days I have a hard time getting excited about new products or using them. When I have the urge to use makeup, I feel more reckless. I don’t care about perfect lines and wings or looking pretty.

I am also living with this pit in my stomach that I must produce as much “pandemic content” as possible. I feel as though I should fill my days with writing more blog posts, trying more makeup looks, filming videos, doing product reviews, interviewing pros and more to keep my social media feeds fresh. It’s a cycle where I plan to do this; end up only doing the bare minimum; and feel shameful, guilty, useless and like a waste – and then it starts all over again.

I’m very tired, so I asked Melissa Loughney for help. Loughney is a psychotherapist with Thaxton Wellness Center & Counseling Solutions, Scranton, who works with patients to help them achieve their emotional wellness goals as well as process depression, trauma, grief and more.

First and foremost, we have to stop being so hard on ourselves, she said. It doesn’t help that every time we look at our smartphones, someone or something is preying on our own insecurities.

Loughney recalled a meme she saw recently which read, “If you don’t come out of quarantine with a new hobby, a new side hustle or a new skill, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline.”

“That’s just not true,” she said. “Besides, many people are still working 40 or more hours per week. Parents are working from home and taking care of their children. There are so many reasons why that logic doesn’t work. … If you do have a new hobby, that’s great, but it’s not a requirement right now.”

Loughney spoke about using reality-based factual affirmations to counteract negative feelings and thoughts. When we feel guilty for not “doing enough,” we have to remember we are doing something pretty amazing: staying healthy and alive during a global pandemic.

This means that instead of worrying about my lack of creativity, I need to think about the positives. Since I’m not trying as much new makeup, (which sometimes causes irritation), my skin looks better than ever. I have streamlined my skin care routine, too, and gave away products I wasn’t using to friends. I am not wearing full makeup and false lashes, and I feel more comfortable with my natural lashes, which is something I never thought would happen.

I also am not alone in feeling a little out of control some days. Loughney pointed to the uncertainty we all feel during this time and how we might want to – and should – just do the things that make us feel good. If I want to wear green eyeliner, I should wear it, because that’s how I need to express myself right now.

Above all, Loughney has encouraged her patients to be gentler on themselves right now. Whether or not life feels like business as usual, a pandemic is happening. We must prioritize our mental health, because if we aren’t taking care of ourselves, how can we be good friends, parents or partners?

“Work is ingrained in our culture, and there’s this unspoken rule that when we take time for ourselves, we need to explain it, and we really don’t,” Loughney said. “If you need some time away from the world, give yourself that 10 minutes.”

She suggested gardening, listening to a podcast, limiting screen time or calling a friend. Weighted blankets and aromatherapy are great ways to de-stress, as is giving yourself a mini spa day. These things sound like no-brainers, but how often are we actually giving ourselves a good wellness check?

“Be kind to yourself,” Loughney said. “Realize that we’re all doing the best that we can. This is temporary.”