Here in the UK we are in our 12th week of lockdown.
In that time I have experienced one hell of a Coronacoaster, ups and downs weekly, daily and sometime hourly. I’m almost used to them now and the knowledge that whatever I am feeling in that moment, sad, angry, frustrated, joyous, happy, it will not last. It is just a moment in time, and that, is keeping me sane.
There’s certain things I am missing that I knew I would, my family, my friends, being able to touch other people (not in an invasive, get the f out of my space you should be locked up – way) to affectionately give someone a hug or not be petrified to brush past someone on the street. Then there’s some things I definitely did not think I would miss that I really really do. Like, commuting, I never thought I would say this, but I miss getting up, doing make up and getting dressed in something that has buttons at the waist.
I have days where I am able to spring out of bed, exercise, do my hair and make up and feel good about myself. Other days it’s a HUGE effort to get out of bed and even put on clean underwear. Its like a roulette, but as time has gone on I have learnt to stop putting myself under so much pressure. I don’t need to lose weight over this period, I don’t need to master the perfect eyeliner flick. I just need to keep myself safe and look after those I love.
There are alot of things I’ve discovered in the last 12 weeks, so I thought I would finally put pen to paper again (or bare, un-manicured finger to keyboard) and jot them down.
Pressure to ‘stay connected’ stresses me out
I love my friends and family but there are so many groups, conversations, people checking in on everyone that sometimes honestly, I can feel a little overwhelmed.
Obviously I want everyone I know to be ok and I want to be there for people but sometimes it just frazzles my brain slightly. I’ve found that muting the odd WhatsApp group does me the world of good. When I am on a down day and I dont feel like talking to anyone I try and pick up the phone and speak with at least 1 person, ask how they are, take me out of myself and try to think about someone else. It sounds weird when it’s the last thing I want to do but it really helps!
I also love not talking about whats going on in the world at the moment and having light hearted fun. One of my WhatsApp groups with my friends had a game going of ‘guess who’s socks’ one friend posted a pic of socks each day and we had to guess who they belonged to in the group. It was a really nice thing to look forward to everyday.
I don’t really like TV
I’m not one of those people who can binge watch a full show back to back – honestly I am a bit jel of those who can… I think its an attention span thing… but there are a few shows I love when I have been watching the box;
- Schitts Creek
- Breaking Bad
I love watching a VLOG – I honestly didn’t really know what they were until a few months ago but now I am totally hooked on a few! It’s like a reality TV programme with just 1 person – Patricia Bright is my fave!
Walking is my escapism
I used to go for a lot of country walks with my Mum when I was younger and I forgot how freeing they are. I cherish my daily walk and am lucky enough to have a park nearby to walk round and be close to nature.
The girls love it too – just like I did when I was younger. If I suggest going for a walk they light up and get their shoes on as quickly as they can. Going out with them and Mr M can make me feel young again, we play make believe – like we are lost in the jungle, super heroes and generally just be silly.
But when I am on my own I’ve discovered I love walking round the neighbourhood looking at people’s houses (from afar – pretending I am not gawking – you know how it is). We have some huge houses a few roads away from us and I can spend ages walking down the roads of the rich, playing make believe in my head about how amazing it would be to work towards having a massive house one day. Then I think of all the cleaning that would be involved and come back to reality and my own lovely little rented place.
A bath is not self indulgent
I never used to bath, I liked to shower – in out and sparkly clean as efficiently as poss. Now I have a bit more time on my hands yet feel like I need more relaxation than normal (weird little paradox) I have succumbed to the relaxation a bath can bring.
I fill it to the brim with bubbles, LOCK the door because my god, when I am in the bathroom Mr M comes in for a chat, Annabelle loves to come in and ask about my boobs, Ted comes in to stare… locking the door is ESSENTIAL. Read, chill, go pruney and then smoother myself in body lotion after. Bliss.
We can acheive what we put our mind to
I’ve written about this before, but I used to love reading. When alcohol suffocated my life I obviously wasn’t able to to read and the first book I read in recovery took over 12 months to get through. My attention span was shot and I just found it really difficult. But I have kept at it and now I have rediscovered my love of reading and listening to audio book when I am walking alone.
I’ve read a lot in the last few weeks, from self help books, biographies to light hearted romantic novels. Here are a few of my faves:
- Educated Tara Westover
- Cows Dawn O’Porter
- Anything by Oprah
- The Miracle Morning
Ted gives me so much joy
My persian cat Ted is they bestest little kitty witty, snookem, fluffball in the whole world!
Every time I see him I smile and this house wouldn’t be the same without him. I often wonder what all the pets are thinking during this time… if they are delighted that we are all home and keeping them company or if they are longing for the day we bugger off to the office so they can ransack the house?
It’s OK if you want to escape your precious family
I had a mini melt down the other day when I confided in friends that I was finding it tough working when the girls are here. The girls are obviously being home-schooled and the best space for that is the dining room table, which leaves me to work in our bedroom. They then watch TV or play in the living room (which is open plan with the dining room) until dinner and bed. Which meant I was limited to the kitchen and bedroom which was reallllllly getting me down, working, relaxing and sleeping within 4 walls.
My friend suggested that they go to their rooms to play at a certain time each evening so we can have ‘adult time’. Apparently a lot of parents do this! Obviously I am new to all of this and was completely oblivious that it was even an option! So now, the girls will go upstairs for their own ‘chill time’ before bed. It means that we usually get about an hour or play time all together either before or after dinner, rather then me avoiding them because I was feeling resentful (which is horrible to admit but thats how it was). Then we get about an hour of chill time in the living room before I fall asleep promptly at 10pm (I literally can barely keep my eyes open after 10!)
Being with anyone 24/7 is hard work, but because we are supposed to love our family and our kids unconditionally we give ourselves a hard time when we want our own space. I really needed reminding that thats ok – and its normal to feel like that.
Family time is to be treasured but that doesnt stop them getting right on my last nerve at times!
Find the little joys
I guess this is about mindfulness. Finding joy in the small things.
A quiet cup of tea, a corner of the house that’s completely mine, BBQ’s with food I love, lighting that expensive candle I have been ‘saving’ (for what I do not know!).
I love exercise and I get so much joy out of it, but for me it needs to be about balance. As soon as I feel like beating myself up because I haven’t exercised for 24 hours- I make myself stop 3 days. For me it can be a slippery slope and I want to exercise to stay healthy in body and mind, not for any other reason. I don’t want to feel pressure to look like the instagram models and it’s only me that can control that. Which I do by not allowing myself to go OTT with it – does that make any sense?
Life hasn’t stopped
Things may be different, we may not be able to go out or go to restaurants or physically see our friends, but that’s not life, that’s not everything.
We are still living, things continue to change and move forward. Since lock down Emily (12) has lost a tooth and Annabelle (6) lost her first tooth! These are memories that will stay with me forever, signs that we are all still growing, living, moving forward and a reminder to be grateful for each and every day.
Stay safe everyone, thank you to all the healthcare workers and key workers who are keeping us safe and keeping our country afloat in these uncertain times.