Before I get going I’ll just let you know that this blog is not stuffed with good intentioned advice, declutter quarantine challenges or top tips for organising just about anything in your home. I’m feeling the online space has become verrry noisy and there’s already a ton of pieces out there you can easily seek out for that. The rest of the read is just a few of my observations and thoughts from our first few weeks in a totally different world to one that I, and possibly most of you, have ever known.
Firstly, one of the big things that stands out to me is that we’re definitely not all in the same boat. I am very conscious that whilst many of us now have more time on our hands at home, there are a significant amount of people who are doing extra hours working or caring, often very stressfully and have less time available to them. Each of these scenarios presents differing challenges. One thing I’m sure of is that it’s not easy for anyone. (Except, perhaps for the dog, who’s loving it !)
So, what have we been up to?
The "lockdown" commenced with us discovering that the only “key worker” in our house was our teenage son, the paper boy! He received his official paperwork to display, if anyone had any doubt as to what he was up to, on his bike, at 7.30 in the morning with his luminous paper bag. 😂
With all four of us “working from home” in some capacity, we’ve rearranged things. The spare room has had the camp table reinstated as a desk. The kid’s desks have been cleared so that they’re usable. The strain on the wifi pops up several times a day as somebody shouts “I’m on a video call can you get off ?!” We’re incredibly lucky as we have space in our home to do this and I’m extremely grateful for this. I am a natural loner and am so glad that I can nestle into my work with little distraction (Most of the time 🤪).
I’m spending much more time online. In part that’s because I’m doing consultations or other work by video call. But I’m also scrolling more on social media, seeking out information. I have found myself very hungry for knowledge on this virus and all the associated matters. It’s a fine line between keeping informed and overdoing it and I’m erring towards the latter. Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested we are in the midst of an “infodemic” – an epidemic of information. I’m finding it hard to moderate, tough to pick out the trustworthy from the scaremongering.
I know we are wired to pay more attention to the negative news. Psychologists call it the “negativity bias”. Even just recognising this issue can be helpful to re-framing our current situation. There is plenty of “good” online. In recent years I’ve been prone to bash many of the social media channels but now I’m loving much of the humour that is spilling out all over the place. It really does make me smile. I do pay attention to things like the Good News Network
but at the moment I always seem to circulate back to the mainstream news, it feels quite addictive. I need to switch off the news more frequently and switch on MY music – electro swing, eastern European folk and the dance 100 ! Can I get rid of the early morning and last thing before bed current affairs catching up? Can I limit it my Covid-19 info intake? At this moment in time I’m not sure.
Actively practicing gratitude also helps to mitigate against the negativity bias. Whilst I haven’t got back into personal journaling, we are keeping a family log on what’s happening. I’m consciously making an effort to be thankful throughout my day. I’m noticing more things. On a recent local forest walk I stopped, hearing the woodpecker up above. I then saw its beautiful flash of colour as it flew on to the next tree. It was a lovely moment and not one I normally put time towards. Now that my daily venture is so precious I want to make the most of it.
We’ve made an attempt to split the household chores up. If you’ve been following me for a while you may remember a number of posts that I’ve written on this in the past. It’s safe to say it’s a challenge. Our current system works some of the time and that’ll do me. Progress not perfection.
Having a dog during this crisis is amazing. From the tail wagging greeting in the morning to the simple pleasure of getting out and about into the fresh air with her. I promise not to moan about walking the dog when we come out of lockdown !
Possibly the single most powerful thing I’ve done for my physical and mental well being is sign up for Les Mills on Demand (LMOD) – inspiring virtual group fitness classes. As a big fan of classes at my local leisure centre, I was gutted when these had to pause. Being able to do them in my living room in surprisingly good. I can schedule them in to fit our new normal and there’s so much choice. I’ve discovered new styles, am pushed and even have a clap and a yihaa with the screen at the end !
Another exciting development is the rash of wonderful free releases that have flowed from generous donors. We’ve watched the Cirque du Soleil, Banff Mountain film festival shorts and now have my eye on the weekly release of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals on Youtube.
I’ve committed to keeping on top of my stream of digital photos. For some reason, I am feeling a real need to document this period. As much as I’m concerned it’s going to last a long time, I equally feel it will come to an end quickly and we as humans are very quick to forget.
We’re eating together, not only for dinner but often for lunch too. Even before Covid-19 we would try to regularly sit down at the table together but more often than not, work, clubs, sport, dog walks and other things have limited that. Mostly, I really like it and it does give us space with the teens – they’re actually pretty good company. 😂 And I can’t forget our fabulous, if a little dated, coffee maker at this point. I’m missing coffee shop visits but being able to put together a delicious freshly made oat milk Americano nearly makes up for it.
Talking about good company, I’ve caught up with a friend in France I hadn’t spoke to for years and done a virtual quiz with another group of friends. “Separate togetherness” online is not that bad at all.
To sum up these first few weeks, it does feel like a bit of a breather here and, in parts, peaceful. It’s also deeply worrying and bouts of sadness wash over me when I fully submerge myself with the real life stories that are unfolding. I feel it’s a time when even the experts aren’t sure and we’re learning as we go along. This is unsettling.
Being present in the NOW is more important than ever for me. I feel it’s o.k. to just survive right now and not thrive. Even if we have extra time it’s o.k. to feel like not doing something. There’s enough anxiety around with the virus itself, without adding extra in.
So, how are you? What’s it like for you? I’m nosey and I love hearing about the many and various ways we are all dealing with this crazy time.