Who knew? Zoom and Microsoft Teams don’t cure a lack of self-confidence, low self-esteem and impostor syndrome…

I thought there would be a number of positives to take from the Covid-19 world we’re all currently living in: spending more valuable time with my wife and daughter; not having to spend 100 minutes per day commuting; spending a little longer in bed each morning; spending less money than normal (though sadly that’s at the expense of not supporting local businesses); further confirmation that the simple things in life really do matter; positives I’m sure many of us are trying to take right now. Another positive I hoped for was improved mental health, due to not being in those situations which typically make me anxious and heighten my lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem. Where work is concerned, I thought working remotely (i.e. alone) for the majority of the time, and conducting meetings via MS Teams, would suit me down to the ground. In my personal life, I thought catching up with friends and family via Zoom and WhatsApp video calls would also suit me down to the ground. It seems I was wrong…

Regular readers will know that I have an issue with how I look, in that I hate it. Detest it, actually. I can’t bear to see photos of myself (the number of photos I figure in that I actually like are in single figures) and, even worse, I can’t stand seeing myself on video feeds. I’m not fishing for sympathy here – these are just the cold hard facts. Unfortunately, there are no hiding places where Zoom is concerned. Even worse, when compared to regular face-to-face scenarios, Zoom actually makes things worse as I’m seeing myself on screen, which just exacerbates the problem. MS Teams is a little better as many colleagues blank out the video feed but that isn’t always feasible, for instance when attending meetings with people I’ve haven’t met before. It really is bad manners to blank out the video feed in such situations, hence the issue remains.

So, what to do about it? Unfortunately, where work is concerned, I’m not in a position to ditch MS Teams so I just have to persevere, continue as normal, and try not to let these issues prevent me from making a valid contribution to discussions (which has been the case in the past). On a personal level, I don’t want to ditch Zoom as it’s a great way of keeping in touch with close friends, so I just have to bite the bullet there too and not look too much at my camera feed when it’s showing on screen. Therefore, the only option I have is to further attack what I believe is one of the main causes of these issues and continue trying to shed excess fat. Whilst that wasn’t going too well during the first 5-6 weeks of lockdown, the past few weeks have been a real step in the right direction. I haven’t had an alcoholic drink for a fortnight now and feel much better for it – I certainly don’t feel as tired or bloated as I previously did and I’m absolutely loving waking up with a clear head every day. I never thought I’d be an advocate of zero alcohol beers but they’re working really well for me at those times when I feel having a beer in my hand is necessary (such as when BBQ-ing or cooking). My initial aim is to go a month without alcohol then, after that, who knows? I’m hoping 2-3 months is feasible, if not longer, if I continue to see tangible benefits from doing this. My diet has also improved, though there is still work to do there. There is still a tendency to hit the biscuit tub a little too often and I’m eating too many ice lollies at the moment, though I should be able to ditch those quite easily. I went back to the 16/8 fasting a couple of days last week and saw immediate benefits so I’ll now be doing that 4-5 times per week, which really helped when I previously did it with some consistency. I also need to step up the Wii workouts from a few times per week to a daily routine. They can be surprisingly difficult and, in conjunction with other forms of exercise, have been working well for me of late.

In short, I know what my issues are, I think I know what the primary root cause is, and it’s therefore up to me to address this. I’ve taken quite significant steps to help over recent weeks (ditching alcohol being the main one) and I’ll continue to do so until I get to where I want to be. If I don’t do it now, I fear I’ll never do it, and that’s a situation I just can’t afford to be in, for many reasons. My daily mood when I wake up goes some way to dictating what my state of mind will be like on any given day and, lately, I’ve been waking up in quite a bullish mood, ready to attack these issues head-on and step up the fight. My current train of thought is that anxiety, a lack of self-confidence, low self-esteem, and impostor syndrome can kiss my ass. I hope I continue to wake up with that viewpoint for many weeks to come as I’m enjoying fighting back right now. Perhaps a little melodramatic but I do see this as a battle and it’s one I absolutely will win. Of course, I’ll continue to provide updates here, addressing both the positives and negatives…

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you’re doing everything you’re able to in order to get by right now.

Take care and best wishes,

Mick

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