It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog or recorded a podcast. I was wondering why this might be, and it occurred to me that when you have very little happening in your day to day life, your creative juices don’t flow as readily. There is very little content of note available to talk about. This led me to think about how I have got through the last two lockdowns, and how I intend to tackle the third, and I think possibly the hardest.
The first lockdown was easier in a strange way. I remember being shocked and upset about it, but once we had negotiated the return of two of our children from abroad I began to get into the swing of things. Perhaps it had a novelty factor attached to it, I do know that the amazing weather we had was a massive help. That and the added bonus of prolonged time together as family. Time we would not normally have. Of course we also thought that if we endured that lockdown it would take away the possibility of there being any others. But sadly that was not to be the case.
When we find ourselves in a situation out of our control, all sorts of emotions run through us. Frustration, disbelief, anxiety to name but a few, but we have to find a way through it, as we know it’s not going away any time soon. Enter stage right one of my favourite words. HOPE. Its exact meaning, ‘an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large’. Sums up things quite nicely doesn’t it, and it’s all we’ve got at the moment, that and the vaccine.
I will say that this lockdown I am finding there is an element of monotony attached to my day to day life. It was always there, the chores haven’t got any different, it’s just there is very little to look forward to. The weather is another major factor for me, blue skies and sunshine are guaranteed to lift the spirits of almost everyone. In contrast the combination of winter and short days is definitely a much greater test for us all this time.
As a positive person I can see the pleasure in the small things like a dog walk, and the added bonus of family time we wouldn’t have had. But even I am struggling as I write this, to think of what things other than walking and exercising we are allowed to do. My beloved tennis is a no, a quick drink in the pub – no, visiting London – no and so the list goes on. But we have to find a way to push forward and to make the best of each day, to create memories even though we have little to create them with.
So how do you keep moving forward when you have lost your mojo as so many of us seem to have done? I know it’s not the same for everyone, many of you are juggling working from home, or home schooling. Some of you are cooped up in a small home and may have no outside space, so yes same storm, but very different boats.
Firstly getting up and doing some form of exercise is a must for me. It sets me up for the day and gives my mind the boost it needs. As I am not sleeping well at the moment (I am writing this at 4am), it also gives my tired body a much needed kick start. Next, is to get dressed properly and by that I mean into normal clothes and not always loungewear. Hair, make up and painted nails are all a way of making me feel more on top of my game, and therefore ready to take on the day. Try and think back to an occasion when an outfit made you feel like a world beater. It might have been something you wore to the office or for the school run but you know that feeling when you’ve nailed an outfit. I find if I wear lounge wear or ‘trackies’ I am automatically propelled into relaxed mode as they are synonymous with relaxing.
On the exercise front, set yourself a challenge, whether it be to walk each week or an take an online fitness class, however small it is make it your challenge and push yourself. I have been committing to walking 6K twice a week on my own in addition to a walk with a friend twice a week. Our next walk we are challenging ourselves to 9.5K, which is 2K more than we usually do. The main challenge with that will be not needing the loo half way round!! Another lockdown issue.
Keeping the house in order. Clean sheets, hoovered floors and a tidy kitchen all create a sense of calm and I guess a feeling of control. I know for me it’s one of the few things I feel I have control over at this current time. Also in my case as everyone in the house is busy doing their own thing, I feel it gives me a sense of purpose.
Something I have done each lockdown is a lockdown list. A list of tasks to complete, things like photo albums and this lockdown my address book. The important thing about this is to make them achievable, the last thing you need at the moment is to set yourself up for a fall. Little and often, and things you can tick off, it needs to feel like a win. It’s amazing how powerful the sense of achievement will make you feel. Particularly when you have no control over what is going on around you.
You have to make some time for you. Even if this is only half an hour a day, you need to nurture you and be kind to yourself. We can’t give and help others if we ourselves are running on an empty tank. You never know, it may give you the energy and the confidence you need not just to keep going, but to perhaps change direction in your life. Is there something you have always wanted to do? Learn a new language, learn to knit or skip? If so grab it with both hands as you may never get this chance again. Look at this time as a gift to do something with and go for it.
As a parent of older children, their University experience is far from what they signed up for. However I am trying to encourage them not to dwell on that too much, but instead to try to find the positives. Looking for a way to make things work for them and the situation they are in. After all we all know that life has a habit of throwing the odd curved ball here and there. Lemons and lemonade spring to mind!
Being optimistic, I feel these lockdowns have given us and the world a chance to slow down. Time to take a breath and reflect. Time we will never get again. It doesn’t stop my heart aching for those less fortunate than myself. I am in no way taking away from the misery and sadness it has caused for so many, but if you are able to see some hope then I implore you to do so. With the vaccine on the horizon the world is destined to start turning again and will gradually return back to some sort of normal. What that normal will be is anyone’s guess.
My final word – what being in lockdown has taught me about myself is that I am impatient and better with a routine. I get tired of thinking about what to cook and I have come to hate queuing with a passion. I have most missed seeing friends and hugging those that I have seen. Stay safe and well and as always your feedback and comments are always welcome.
Much love, Tina x