Today I’m going down a road much-travelled. It’s something we all want to escape from but can’t. Trust me when I say that this is not a post about the awful state of the world. I hope this makes my readers feel hopeful, even positive about all that’s going on. We need more positivity!
There’s a lot going on out there right now, and everybody in the world is a part of it in some way. It affects us all. Everywhere I look, the fear-mongering press is trying to scare the bejeezus out of me and people are cooking up crazy conspiracy theories. I don’t want to talk about that; I’ve had enough of it. So, here’s what I’m learning during this crazy time – about myself, the world and those around me.
- I take more time to do things. Washing my hands (yes, I’m going there) was something I did but never really thought about. Now I’m very present when doing this most basic of acts. I actually quite enjoy humming a tune and getting a good whiff of the handwash (vanilla scented – mmm). I used to rush through chores because I found them tedious. Now that I’m in no rush and actively finding things to take up my time, I’ve found that I enjoy them. I never realised how much time I spent on autopilot instead of seeing every little thing I do as part of living; something that should be nurtured and enjoyed, not rushed through. Because honestly, we will spend the majority of our lives doing menial, ‘every day’ tasks. Do we really want to rush through most of our lives on autopilot?
- Scary situations bring out the best and worst in people. While half the world is pulling together and working their butts off to get us through this pandemic, the other half is moaning and being negative. Are you critically ill? Is someone you know critically ill? Have you recently lost someone? Are you cut off from everyone and everything with no-one to talk to? Are you working all the hours under the sun and risking your own safety for the benefit of others? If the answer is no to these, then it sounds like you’ve got a good deal! So, you’re bored and want to go out and play in the sunshine? Get a hobby, talk to your loved ones or eat cake until you feel better like the rest of us are doing.
- I didn’t realise how tired I was. I have done a lot of sleeping recently. A lot of lounging, too. I now wake up to work from home feeling refreshed rather than groggy and my mood has improved as a result. I normally get up at 5:45am – now I get up between 6:45 and 7:30 which is just incredible. Every day feels like a holiday. I don’t know how I’m going to go back to 5:45 starts and the commute, I really don’t! So, I’m enjoying this extra rest while I can.
- Exercise, comfort food and teddies are important. These are the three things that fuel me on a day to day basis. I do fifteen minutes of exercise a day and it makes me feel good. Teddies keep me company around the house (yes, I am very aware that I’m nearly 30, and no, I don’t care). COMFORT FOOD is the be all and end all. Chocolate, sweets, crisps, cake, pizza; you name it, I’ll eat it, and that’s fine. I am so done with beating myself up about my body, what with all that is going on right now. Do what you need to do to keep your spirits up, pass the time and bring you comfort.
- I enjoy my own company and doing nothing is actually pleasant! I’ve never been the kind of person who feels lonely or gets bored. I can occupy myself with my many hobbies and I like being alone. Peace and quiet is where I thrive. Even so, the prospect of lockdown still sounded daunting. But it has actually strengthened my relationship with myself, and that’s always a good thing! I know that not everyone is the same as me in this respect but the other day I just sat and looked out of the window for fifteen minutes. I could hear birds and see bees buzzing about. I had nothing to do, nowhere to be and it was bliss. I realised how much I want that to continue in the future. I need more instances of ‘nothing’ in my life. Try doing nothing except watching the world go by. Free your mind, even for a few minutes; you might be pleasantly surprised.
- I speak to people more now that I don’t see them. And it’s nice! I like my catch-ups with my mum and the conversations with my teammates on Zoom. I feel like I now know more about what’s going on in my friends and family’s lives than I ever have before. I’ve been walking around in a daze and now, I’m really awake, really listening, really present. It’s a breath of fresh air. I will make a conscious effort to keep in touch with people more often in the future and not just meaningless small talk, I mean true, substantial conversation.
- Hugging is something I never thought I’d miss. I am not a hugger (unless I’m drunk), but when my colleagues and I were struggling during the week leading up to working from home, I wanted to hug them very much! It felt strange not being able to comfort each other in such a basic way. I also miss my mum’s hugs terribly. Just my mum and my family in general, really. I will never take precious time with them for granted ever again, and I think a lot of people will agree with me on that one.
- Brain food is super important to ward off insanity. Watch a documentary, an engaging film or podcast; read a book, a magazine or a blog (oh look, you’re already doing what I suggest!); do something creative like journaling, drawing or crafting; play a game; or even just have a little sing and a dance! There are so many things we can do to occupy ourselves and keep our brains healthy and active, and it’s important that we maintain such a vital organ.
- Lockdown is not the time to start writing my next book. The first thing that entered my head when I realised that I was going to be at home for quite a while was, ‘yay! I can do LOADS of writing.’ I was wrong. All this time and freedom has jammed up the works, so to speak. I write best under pressure, something which I am severely lacking right now. So instead I’m conducting research for my next book (and possible other future books). I’m reading TONS, which is one of my favourite things to do. Thank you, lockdown, for that. At first, I was angry at myself for not utilising this time for writing, but we need to be kind to ourselves right now. I can’t force myself to write, it just doesn’t work that way. I hope that whatever you’re doing, or not doing, you’re enjoying it and not beating yourself up about anything.
This situation is really changing me. Not how New Year’s resolutions change me (which is very little), but really changing me for the better, in little ways which have huge impacts.
When faced with situations that are out of my comfort zone and my husband can’t be there by my side, I sometimes suffer with separation anxiety (this is a long story, the gist being that I was extremely poorly a few years ago and I depended on him for everything, which has ultimately had an impact on my mental health), and yet, over the weekend I went to the supermarket on my own to do the weekly shop. I forced myself to do it instead of hiding in the car and letting him do it for me, and though I didn’t let on, I felt proud of myself for it. I would even go so far as to say that I enjoyed it and am looking forward to doing it again this week. In addition, I’ve now started this blog! That’s twice in one week that I’ve faced my fears and I feel all the better for it. I really hope that everyone else is learning new things and finding silver linings in all this like I am. I hope that, like me, even in your darkest moments you can find a sliver of light.
So, to sum up; be kind, stay positive and hopeful, be grateful and appreciate the little things, do things you enjoy, relax when you can and eat loads of cake. Most importantly, stay safe! It will all be over in time. Thanks for reading.