I admit the first lockdown we entered into, in March 2020, was for me a bit of a reprieve. The circumstances were of course unprecedented, and my heart went out to the people losing loved ones and the key workers baring the brunt, but on a personal level, once the initial shock subsided, I breathed a selfish sigh of relief.
The start of the year had been tough. I had been ill with a mystery and lingering malaise that in hindsight makes me wonder if I had been suffering from Covid. I was hugely unhappy with work, bouncing from activity to activity with no clear plan and a lack of organisation. Things were strained in all areas and I was struggling to see a way forward.
Then the way cleared. Completely. My crammed diary emptied and as the weeks stretched ahead of me like so many blank pages, I was able to take the time to think what I wanted to fill them with, and how I could do it effectively.
I used the time wisely. I got healthy, exercised, read, studied and took as many courses as my budget would allow. I put a lot of time into my business, I started thinking about the future in a logical, attainable way and I got balance back. I was more energised than I could remember being; more enthusiastic, driven.
Returning to classes to me felt like the start of these plans coming to fruition. I wrote about how it felt to be opening the doors in my blog (insert). The joy of those classes was infectious, and I continued to stretch myself, taking Clubbercise training and starting to speak to new gyms and venues, as well as accepting a new day job.
No one wanted to lock down again. I can remember checking the BBC news app all afternoon, repeating over and over ‘but I can’t, I don’t want to, I’ve only just re-opened.’
In the 4 days between the announcement and the lockdown I completed my latest archery certificate, taught and closed my classes and saw family. In the first 4 days of lockdown I slept, I wallowed, I did very little else. My enthusiasm had gone. All I could focus on was how unfair it was that everything had stopped again, after it had just started.
There are a few factors that do make this lockdown harder. It is extremely Autumnal. There is the disappointment that making sacrifices through this year have only resulted in seemingly more sacrifice, the frustration of having things given back and then taken away again and concern about the impact this may have on Christmas celebrations.
The novelty of Lockdown has also gone. We are Zoomed-out, baked-out, and netflixed-out. In short, we are tired, fed up and want our lives back.
It took me a few days to accept that my life was going to have to be a little different for a few more weeks, but I managed and below are some of the things that I did to find my lockdown legs and get on with my days.
- I took an online Zumba class. As cheesy as it sounds, for the first few days of lockdown I didn’t want to do anything. I went for walks with the dog but started using the excuse of a ‘sore back’ to avoid any other exercise. I knew that I had to get myself out of this, so I accepted a friend’s invite to attend her Zoom class. This was key. She was a friend so I didn’t want to let her down, I told her I was attending in advance to hinder backing out, and I planned my day round it so I couldn’t accidentally find myself elsewhere at that time. It was all I really needed to get endorphins flowing through my body and to get my enthusiasm back. I came away buzzing from the class and looking forward to my next one.
- I made a plan – to take the classes of some of my peers. It worked for a number of reasons. It gave my day some amount of structure which I was desperately needing at that time. It gave me a project – something to plan, research and attain. Being my peers, generally people I know and am friends with, I was far less likely to cancel because I would feel I was letting them down.
- I started a photo journal. I have done this since the start of lockdown and it is a great way of motivating me to do things with my day. If I don’t go on a walk, bake something, finish a book etc then I have nothing on that day to journal, so it encourages me to do something so I have something to document.
- I looked to the future and started to make plans for my business again. I accepted that this was a temporary pause and that just because there was less for me to do now, there would be things to do in the future, and I could get ahead now.
- Most importantly, I gave myself a break. I didn’t set unattainable goals, and I didn’t punish myself if I didn’t achieve something. To me self-care is about knowing what is best for you which includes when to stop, acknowledge that things aren’t right at the moment, and accept that struggling with that is completely normal.
At the time I write this we still have 2 weeks of lockdown to go, and I am quietly pessimistic about what will happen after this.
Whatever happens, I will not stop trying to improve myself and my business and will not stop exploring other avenues and making plans. This too will pass, and when it does, I want to be ready.