Life in Lockdown
COVID-19 and the global lockdown needs no introduction, it has dominated our news feeds, media outlets and conversations for months. We are now in our 9th week of UK lockdown and the only real easing of restrictions was unlimited outdoor exercise and being able to sit in the park! I think I speak for everyone when I say BoJo’s announcements have been more confusing than they have been helpful, but this post is not about my opinion on the way the UK government have handled the virus outbreak, it is about lockdown life and how I’ve experienced it!
In hindsight, it’s absolutely flown by, but let me tell you, when Boris announced the pubs were closing, I think we all died a little bit inside. Not to mention the panic that reverberated across the whole of the kingdom; we were going to war against a threat that touches every aspect of our lives and the only way to fight it is to go into hiding!
What. The. Fuck!
For many, lockdown equals furlough, so I am really fortunate and grateful that my income hasn’t been compromised. I work in children’s services and trust me, the job doesn’t stop because of a virus! We have however, had to adapt how we conduct our service and deliver support. This means working from home, lots and lots of phone calls and PPE for home visits conducted at a safe 2m distance. It’s been a wild ride! For the most part, working from home has provided much needed structure and routine to my days which has been really great for keeping me sane but there is a little part of me that wonders how I might have coped with that furlough life… but hey, the grass isn’t always greener!
Not only has lockdown completely flipped our world upside down, but it has punched us in the gut too! Cancelled trips anyone? Yeah, me too! I was supposed to go to Thailand on 26th March for 3 weeks and Amsterdam on 24th April for Kings Day weekend. I watched despairingly as those dates came, dreading that instead of tropical paradise and canal parties, I was stuck in the same four walls in bloody Birmingham. Cheers corona! I wish the heartbreak stopped there. I had booked Sziget festival in Budapest for start of August and Lost Village festival here in the UK at the end of August – both cancelled! It’s tough to write without shedding a tiny tear!
Riding the lockdown waves has been a journey; one that I’ve mostly felt confident tackling because I made a choice about how I would approach it. I’ve focused less on panic and more on remaining centred in gratitude for the blessings I have. I’ve also actively tried to acknowledge the ebb and flow of my emotions and I (mostly) don’t allow myself to be dictated by them. I take notice of how I feel and internally acknowledge each emotion, allowing them to flow through me without overwhelming me. Although that isn’t to say navigating this new way of life has not come without its challenges. The emotional turbulence is real! There are good days, there are bad days, highs and lows. I’ve worn the same pj's for 3 days straight and questioned if I ever need to shower again. Other days I get myself dressed and ready for the day and realise I forgot how good it feels to feel good about yourself. Some days I feel strangely liberated by this new way of life, some days I feel trapped. One minute I feel productive and accomplished like I’m superwoman and the next I feel like I’ve achieved nothing and wasted my whole day. Netflix binge, who’s with me?
In many ways, iso has afforded us all a much-needed chance to slow down and rebel against our hectic lifestyles. Life moves at such a fast pace that sometimes it seems to pass us by before we can really enjoy it. It makes sense that this slower pace could be the perfect time to explore thing’s we are passionate or curious about or just taking this time to be still and recuperate. It is also important to remember that for some iso has presented more challenges and exacerbated mental health struggles. This pandemic has acted as a trigger for a number of anxieties with many people struggling to find purpose for the day or feeling an increased pressure to ‘achieve’ something during lockdown.
Hands up if you have felt a bit drained by the incessant ‘glow up’ in iso messages being tossed all over social media? You know, the slim down, shape up, be creative, start a side hustle, use this time wisely, be productive, learn a new skill… Erm, how’s about back off?! Let’s not forget this isn’t a bloody holiday, it’s a pandemic! Life as we know it no longer exists and we have no idea if it’s coming back. It takes immense power and strength to surrender and let go of what was and there is absolutely NO shame in not ‘glowing up’ to the standards social media expects. There shouldn’t be the added constraints to emerge from iso a new and improved version of you. All that matters is you take care of yourself and your mental health.
I am a very empathic person and the downside to being an empath is feeling affected by stress and negative emotions, even more so with viral unpredictability. That’s why self-care is so important. Sometimes self-care is exercising and eating right, sometimes its napping or spending time with loved ones. And sometimes is watching an entire TV series in one day whilst lounging in your pj's eating junk food! Whatever soothes your soul!
Here are some of my favourite ways to de-stress and self-care:
· Adult colouring book
· A hot bath - with bubbles, candles and incense (if you can/want)
· Face mask!
· Avoid unnecessary information overload – unfollow negative accounts/people who do not raise your vibration and limit your news intake!
· More moments with nature - go for a walk, sit in the sun, appreciate the flowers!
· Ground and protect yourself
· Eat wholesome food
· Have a takeaway
· Enjoy a glass of wine
· Read a book
· Change your room around/have a clear out – I did and WOW! It felt so good, and cleansing!
· Spend time with your pets (if you have any) – they make me laugh and soothe my soul (when they’re not crying to go out!)
Whatever you do, just remember to focus on yourself and give yourself care and attention.
If lockdown can teach us anything, I hope the lessons we all take away from this is that we are not in a time of competition and we shouldn’t feel guilty that we aren’t where someone else is. This is a time to respect, love and listen; an opportunity to honour ourselves and our journey; to trust our own unique, messy, divine path.
Dave Hollis perfectly said, “in the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back too”. I know for me, it sure is worth rushing back to the pub… it’s already been 9 weeks and there’s nothing better than an ice-cold beverage with your mates in the beer garden and I am HANGING for it, but I definitely won't be rushing back to unnecessary purchases, lengthy commutes, overworking and forgetting to love myself.
When the danger has passed, we will come together again, we will grieve our losses and make new choices. I hope we will live more consciously in new and creative ways and I pray we will have a newfound love and respect for mother earth and all that she gifts us. As with every mother, I think it was about time we gave her a well-deserved break.