Wake, walk, work.
Eat, work, walk, stare endlessly at the TV, sleep.
Somewhere in between there’s bouts of reading as concentration wavers, staring at walls and wandering into rooms trying to remember why I went there. Lockdown lethargy has hit hard the third time around and I’m taking some small comfort in that everyone I talk to feels exactly the same way. We’re stuck on an interminable repeat cycle and there’s no way to stop the spinning, to open the door and make an escape. Motivation to do anything is at an all-time low, boredom levels are high and my overwhelming feeling each day is somewhere between can’t be arsed and just utter ‘meh’.
The hardest thing to deal with? This is not me. I’m not that person. I’m always the glass half-full, find a silver lining and hopefully everything will be okay person. It’s hard to look for one of those things right now, much less hope for all three. There’s a constant emotional battle playing out in my head knowing that we are beyond dire straits. The UK death-rate has hit six figures, our hospitals are collapsing under the stress, coverage of intensive care staff weeping and heartfelt news articles from doctors battling through will literally bring me to tears and haunt me for days afterwards…
…and yet, this feeling of overwhelming ennui and weary despair. Feel your feelings, keep on going, you can’t pour from an empty cup…the squares those motivational messages pop into feel empty too. Are they trying to convince me or themselves?
I love my four walls and my husband and animals that I live with dearly, but what I wouldn’t give to see someone, somewhere else too. We walk – for miles, totting up the hours – but stomping along in the cold bundled up in all your clothes is nothing to settling into a comfy chair, glass of wine in your hand, talking and putting the world to rights with your best friend. No time limit, no tutting people who consider you rule-breakers for sitting down on a bench for a few scant minutes to enjoy a hot drink without spilling it all over your coat, who mutter under their breath in that passive-aggressive tone that suits this pandemic of judgement so well.
Each day, we repeat. My working from home wardrobe the same, as I pick up one of 3 jumpers (red, olive green and a blue mix if you’re interested), ready to sit at my desk and start all over again. It’s Groundhog Day. But without Bill Murray.
But, and here’s the rub, we do have to keep on keeping on. The numbers are dropping, the death rate remains grimly stark but we’re starting to see the change that is needed to see a way out. And that’s what keeps me going. That and the things below. My lockdown survival kit. Whatever works for you, keep on doing that. You do you, I’ll do this. Because it’s helping. Helping-ish.
She keeps on moving, moving
I never really got that exercise-endorphins thing until very recently. Since August last year I’ve been consistently moving my body through weekly online exercise classes and a one hour session with my personal trainer, Phoebe of Core Defined. When I’ve had the worst day ever, going into the freezing cold garage where I do my classes and doing strength and conditioning and pilates classes has truly lifted me. When I’ve definitely got out of bed on the wrong side, my 7.30am P.T. session (I know, who even am I?!) has turned my whole day around. Honestly, if you’d have told me that *I* would be here, telling you how exercise truly gives me balance both mentally and physically I would have laughed you out of the room. But here I am. Telling you just that.
Laughter is THE tonic
I’m in a fortunate position to live with someone who makes me laugh every single day which feels like a huge privilege right now. If that’s not you, I would highly recommend reaching out to your friend, relative, colleague or neighbour who brings you joy and fit in some time for laughter. Big belly laughs, mad-cap giggling fits, even a dry chuckle, it honestly is the brightness in any day. I count myself lucky to work with some very funny people too, which feels extra special, especially as we continue in the strange, not sure it will ever feel normal, working from home world.
For all the melancholy about basically doing the same thing, day in, day out, there’s a lot to be said for having a routine to eke these days out into some sense of normality. I still get up with an alarm, I continue to walk the dogs before breakfast, I get dressed every single day (into one of my 3 jumpers) and I add some makeup to my face. Let us not speak of the lockdown hair situation aka video calls hell, but all of these little things help me to feel like I’m ‘ready’ for each day. I follow the same ending of the day routine too as I wash my face, pop my PJs on and settle down for some evening time.
We do what we do.
Day in and day out.
Hopeful, ever hopeful, for brighter days, and longed for hugs, and for this time to be nothing but a distant memory…