I went into this lockdown kind of looking forward to it. Our compassion for other peoples’ suffering aside, my family mostly enjoyed the first one. We were furloughed and had the excitement of starting a major renovation project. The sun was shining, remote learning wasn’t even a thing and we had no internet anyway, so we could ignore the schools emailed worksheets guilt free and go our own way.
We dove full on into creativity, nature walks and den building. We shared family meals together, played games, did experiments, baked. I journaled, started meditating, set up a blog and learned how to mix cement.
Four weeks into the current lockdown and I’m wondering if I dreamt all those things. My husband’s working long hours so family time is scarce, the joy seems to have disappeared from our lives along with the sun and I’m getting a glimpse of what we’d look like if there was ever a zombie apocalypse, as we lethargically shuffle around our cold, dusty house, muttering occasional grumbling noises.
I’ve searched high and low, but I can’t seem to find my rose-tinted glasses anywhere. When people ask how I am I find myself saying, ‘fine thanks,’ when what I really mean is ‘I’m not sure, can you give me a kick to check if I’m still awake?’
I’m on the kind of slippery slope where I contemplated not brushing my teeth this morning (don’t worry Mum, I didn’t go through with it). Whilst showering I got shampoo in my eye which stung like a Mother Hubbard (thank you to my good friend Charlotte for that family friendly curse) but at least I felt something! I also seem to have developed sporadic insomnia, which I’m sure is my subconscious demanding I have some time alone.
The good thing about writing is, it’s easy for me to go back through my blog and see that I’ve felt this way before. Knowing this doesn’t bring instant relief, but it does remind me I’ve got strategies that can help, and things will get brighter, whatever the news might say. (Strategy number one is to stop listening to the news; I didn’t during the first lockdown so I’ve no idea why I’m being so masochistic now).
The interesting thing I’ve noticed about the way I’m feeling is that so many other people seem to be feeling it too. In my recent blog post for Tillyanna I wrote about the contagion of kindness; it stands to reason that moods are contagious too, even the negative ones.
So come on people, let’s get those positive vibes going and drag ourselves into life with a little less beige! (No, it’s not easy for me to say, yes you do have time and okay I might be persuaded to wait whilst you shower.)
If my first step towards positive energy is ditching the news, then my second will be acceptance of where our family are right now:
I hereby accept that my home will be covered in more dust than the restricted section of Hogwarts library; that my children will appear to be murdering each other on a regular basis but will never actually go through with it; that my husband will be pricklier than a giant porcupine until his workload decreases; that my current role in life is somewhere along the lines of referee/hostage negotiator/children’s entertainer/world’s worst teacher.
My final strategy is gratitude which, even for the smallest things, always adds a little perspective:
- I’m grateful there are no builders working on our house at 7am this week so I can roll out of bed and drift to the bathroom in whatever state of undress I please.
- I’m grateful for the recent frost, which makes picking up dog poo in the garden an odourless experience.
- I’m grateful for my insomnia because it gives me some time to write.
- I’m grateful for the warmth of my son as he clambers into our bed in the middle of the night.
- I’m grateful for meandering bedtime conversations with my daughter, that start off at Harry Potter and end up at the gravitational pull of a black hole.
- I’m grateful to you, for making it to the end of this post.
- I’m grateful for any comments you’d like to leave, telling me the little things that are good in your life right now.