I had an unexpectedly delightful day on Sunday.
It made me feel that extra 9 weeks or extra 9 months, I could ‘do’ lockdown more easily than I had been doing it.
But then, last night, wanted to SCREAM.
I haven’t screamed since before lockdown when I’d sometimes indulge underwater in a quiet swimming pool.
Am a little jealous of Ilana (above) (although I also feel Abby’s pain. She was pretty patient).
Today, I’m back to a more balanced grin and bear it approach.
It sucks. it continues to suck. And it’s far worse for the people who’ve died / lost loved ones / been unable to be with or mourn loved ones who’ve died of other conditions / have lost jobs etc etc etc.
It’s far worse for the people who’ve been sheltering for nearly a year now with NO respites.
It’s far worse for the people working in retail, medicine etc, facing abuse instead of our eternal gratitude.
Sometimes, remembering this helps me feel better about my (very very fortunate) lot.
Sometimes, I just makes me want to scream even louder because I KNOW all this and it STILL sucks.
In sharing some of my reflections about what helped and what made things worse, I hope that, wherever you find yourself on the coronacoaster, you’re able to try some of my suggestions and/or remember the things that work for YOU:
On Sunday, I:
- Did a full yoga practice ~ I meditate and do some yoga and EFT EVERY day but on Sunday, it felt so luxurious to indulge in the full sequence, it really helped set me up for the day ahead
- Saw my bubble ~ HUMANS. Much as I love living alone, I’m exceedingly grateful for the bubble
- Appreciated the abundance of the local supermarket ~ So many people are unable to access essential items and I live somewhere with access to delicious vegan delicacies (bourbon biscuits! Vegan Mayo! Etc etc)
- Planted a tree ~ I picked up a magnolia tree at the supermarket. Totally unexpected but it seemed to call to me. I’ve now planted 29 trees and this felt like an especially hopeful act
- Video chatted with friends and family ~ Much as I miss hugs and actually BEING with them, can you IMAGINE all this 10 or 20 years ago? Before the tech enabled us to at least see and hear each other?
- Chatted with passing neighbours ~ Am so lucky with where I live. I don’t have many neighbours but they’re all delightful. I’ve not been so lucky in the past so am especially appreciative now. Also, they’re HUMANS!!! And I love talking to humans!
- Had an adventure and got (mildly) lost ~ To qualify this, I get lost easily. I was born and partially raised in London. Lived there for several years as an adult and spent loads of time there even when I lived in Essex. Even so, I’d regularly (I will again, hopefully!) have to ask for directions. On Sunday, I cycled a local Loop neighbours had told me about. Country lanes. HILLS. Different perspectives. Checking with several groups of walkers that I shouldn’t have turned off the lane I was on previously. I was shocked at how much the novelty of a new route – well within my 5km radius – replenished me. New sites!
- Exerted myself at something other that work ~ I adore my bike but it only has one gear. This route was HILLY. I had to get off and push a few times. Strong movement is WONDERFUL for anxiety and this was the strongest workout I’d had in a while. I hope to repeat it every week or two while cycling more in other (flatter) directions, too.
- Prepared nourishing food ~ Oatmilk shakes, home made chocs with peanut butter, nuts and fruit – I call it healthfood but, well…
- Curled up in front of the fire with the MagnifiCat on my lap and a cheesy film ~ (Undercover Bridesmaid: Bride jilted at alter, after saying her own ‘I do’ becomes a security professional and goes undercover as a bridesmaid in order to make partner at work (and save the bride’s life. Finds friendship, forgiveness and love.)
- Spent some time imagining all the things it’ll be amazing to be able to do again post pandemic ~ Instead of thinking of them in a grrr, miss them way, I was so relaxed on Sunday, I was able to accept the current reality completely (arguing with reality is SUCH a waste of time) and simply imagine enjoying them again.
- Admired my hard work from Saturday ~ I’ll be winning no prizes for my interior decor efforts (painting the doors, doorframes, skirting boards and radiators blue, green, purpley pink and yellow) but I LOVE the results so far. Did yellow the weekend before. Green was Saturday’s and it was A LOT (12 hours’ instead of the expected 5) but it makes me happy. In three more weekends, all will be done!
What made it worse?
- I didn’t do as much yoga
- I had sessions from morning until nearly 10pm and tried to be too productive in my ‘breaks’
- I ate crisps and choc for dinner
- I forgot that it’s not only OK to be a human, it’s the thing I am and the more I accept all of the whole humanity thing, the better I feel
- I didn’t take even a little time to wallow but… this is embarrassing to write but I hope in my doing so, you’ll recognise the times you can become kinder to yourself
What I’m doing differently as a result
- I keep reminding myself of the things that work ~ Even when I almost don’t WANNA feel better, I keep returning to the self care mind body practices I’ve been sharing since last March (you can access them HERE)
- I’m not simply saying, ‘Good! Great! Fine!’ to friends who ask how I am ~ I’ve had a couple of more serious conversations today as a result and realise that Therapist Me had been stopping Human Me accessing some of the mutual support that being a human involves
- I’ve amped up my walks ~ Howling wind and rain? Bring it on. Pathetic fallacy and strangely cathartic
- I’m being kinder to myself around what I’m eating ~ Returning to crisps and chocolate as a treat instead of meal replacements. I’m hardly depriving myself but (wearing health journalist hat here) food is supposed to be nourishing as well as delicious
- I changed my pendant ~ Bringing in the super supportive crystal energies so each time I see or feel it, I’m reminded to be extra gentle with myself and
- Such a self care cliche but BUBBLE BATH ~ Candles, cat on side accepting soggy strokes while carefully not falling in, magnesium flakes and food colouring as well as delicious Lush cat bubble bar
- Working late but allowing longer breaks ~ This works better for me than pushing myself to finish things faster and then being more tired.
- I’m welcoming ALL the feelings ~ Embracing full emotional landscape and the Coronacoaster. (This lovely meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh is one of my favourites)
What has been helping YOU?
What has been getting in your way?
What will you do differently in an effort to better support yourself through this (hopefully) last stretch and through other future challenges?
You might want to spend some time – even a few minutes but longer if you have the time – reflecting on the things you can control and which will help you feel better.