Last week I wrote a blog post called Adjusting to Life at Home. Having experience of working part-time and also 7-years of being self-employed, I know a thing or two about being at home and getting organised. Creating a healthy daily routine, eating well, getting dressed, and exercising daily are all things that have helped keep me on track.
It sounds simple. But I’ve come to realise, there’s a huge fucking difference between being self-employed and having the option to leave the house, compared to the entire country being on lockdown.
The COVID-19 self-isolation lockdown is in full-swing, and I’m currently on day 14 of being under house arrest. Although my new daily routine is helping, being on lockdown is tougher than I thought it would be. But not in the ways you might think.
When I realised, I might be off work for 3-months, I breathed a sigh of relief at the thought of slowing down. Although my to-do list could keep me busy for the next 12-months, I also wanted to move at a slower pace of life and take my time with things. I wanted to be more mindful with some of the activities I do.
Reading, writing, gardening; yoga, meditation, Zentangle and sewing, are all things I wanted to do more of. To me, these activities indicate a slower pace of life. They all feed my soul. Yet I either rarely get time to do them or I don’t allow myself to do them regularly. Apparently, slowing down is something I have trouble with.
It’s taken nearly two weeks for it to sink in, but I’ve finally realised I don’t have to be anywhere. I don’t have to live by a tight schedule and it’s okay to slow things down. My to-do list is slowly changing each day, and I’m no longer cramming as much onto it as possible. I’m taking my time getting things done in the house, but I’m also allowing myself some me time. I’ve been gardening, re-potting plants, reading, and meditating; I even made a cushion.
That’s not to say I’m finding it easy. There are points during the day where I still feel anxious and agitated about how things are changing, but I’m doing my best to ride the wave.
I’ve been given the gift of time. But apparently, time is running out for all the things I want to do.
In last week’s blog post, I talked about how to use this time wisely.
“The situation we’re in is far from ideal. But if you’re fit and healthy and not currently working – you’ve been given the gift of time. How you decide to use that time, is up to you.
Do you have a stack of books you’ve been wanting to read? Have you been waiting for the right time to start writing a novel? Is there a home study course you’ve been putting off? Have you been meaning to sort out the loft?
It might be that you need to slow down. Although the circumstances aren’t ideal – this is your time to take some time out. If work has been stressful and you’ve been feeling burned out, listen to your body; rest and find a slower pace of life”.
While one side of my brain wants to slow down, the other side is freaking out. Normally at 4am while I’m trying to get back to sleep.
If I’m going to be off work for 3-months, what can I achieve? We’re renovating our house so there’s plenty to keep me busy with that. What about all the books I’ve been collecting on my Kobo, the courses I’ve started but never finished, decluttering the house and completing my Level 2 Counselling Skills course at college?
I’ve been given the gift of time, but it’s not enough. I’m putting myself under an obscene amount of pressure to make every second count. I want to do everything in 12-weeks and time is running out. People across social media are saying they’re bored. They’re creating memes, lip-synching to songs and trying to find ways to fill their days. I have so many things to keep myself occupied I’ve been telling people I won’t have time to go back to work. True story.
I think back to how overwhelmed I felt before the lockdown. Dealing with baskets of washing that seemed to be breeding, completing my college work, visiting family and friends; going to work, decluttering the house and the never-ending daily household chores. I know I’m not alone in this. But when I remind myself of how overwhelmed I felt I can’t imagine returning to that disorder. I want to do whatever I can now to make things easier for when this chaos is over.
Although I’m allowing myself some time each day to nourish my mind, I’m still panicking about how much I’ll get done over the next few months.
When Each Day Brings a New Meaning to the Word Normal
Just like people up and down the country, I have days where I struggle with what’s happening. I swing between feeling calm and okay to really fucking anxious. I stopped listening to the news years ago, because I don’t see the point in getting anxious over things, I have no control over. Ian filters information down to me, and I’m okay with that. But it’s difficult to block out the current situation.
I’m someone who likes to keep busy, but I’m probably keeping busier than usual, to keep my mind occupied. At the end of each day when I stop, that’s when my brain goes into overdrive and I struggle to concentrate on anything. My default wake-up call for the first week was 3.50am, then it switched to 5.15am, then yesterday it was 2.30am! Once I’m awake, that’s it. Hello, anxiety. Hello, zombie apocalypse, I am Legend, World War Z, 28-Days Later, Zombieland, Judgment Day and anything else that suggests this is the end of the world as we know it. Not to mention that time is running out and I’ll never get anything done, ever again!
I’m also dealing with a groin injury, so I can’t even go out for a daily run. Hell, I can’t even go out for a walk because of the pain. Being unable to do the activities that help me deal with stress, is also causing me anxiety and frustration. I’m still training each day, but upper body workouts and carefully selected yoga sessions aren’t the same. I just have to be grateful I can still work out.
It’s taking some time, but as each day passes, I’m realising, I don’t have to try and fit 42 things into one day. I just wish my brain would accept that in the early hours of the morning. I’m trying to keep my days as normal as possible, but when each day brings a new meaning to the word normal, it can be difficult.
How are you coping with the current situation?