Surviving lockdown 3

In a case of stating the bleedin’ obvious, lockdown 3 is a real drag. Although it’s only officially been in play since early Jan, I have felt locked down since early November.

Lockdown 2, although “only” 4 weeks, was then followed by Birmingham emerging into tier 3 (no pubs or restaurants open) followed swiftly by a demotion into tier 4 just before the New Year. With pubs and restaurants being some of my favourite places to be when I’m not in my own home, a great source of joy and change of scenery has been absent from my life for 3.5 months.

Couple that with no visits to family, no days out, and not a great deal of outdoor areas of interest in my local area (the only place we should be visiting during lockdown) and it’s been a dull time.

I don’t like winter anyway, and in truth I am a bit of a hibernator, but there’s a difference between staying home through choice and staying home because you have to.

I’ve been something of a contradiction in my approach to surviving from January to the present day, veering from one end of a spectrum to the other, all in an effort to get through to better times.

Dressing down, dressing “up” a little, and not getting dressed at all

Working from home and not seeing people face to face has led to natural declines in making an effort. Jeans, jumpers and slipper boots have been the order of the day. I didn’t wear any make up for many months, but as my winter pallor set in, combined with getting sick to death of looking at myself during video calls, I occasionally apply eyebrows, mascara and bronzer.

There have been brief but intense periods of making an effort, purely for the benefit of getting wear out of all my clothes languishing in my wardrobe and feeling like I’m a put together grown up who can still look nice. Dresses and thick tights have replaced leggings and sweatshirts, and I’ve even worn bright lipstick.

At the opposite end of the scale, and for the first time since lockdown began last March, in 2021 I have succumbed to not always bothering to get out of my PJs. I’ve slept in them, worked in them, cooked in them and ate in them. I’ve even not bothered getting out of them to shower for a couple of days. Reasons for this have ranged from apathy and laziness, to wanting comfort and warmth, to (on my dark days) misery and despondence. It’s not good for my mental health when I don’t make any effort at all, but it’s happened and that’s that.

Going for walks and also being a hermit

I started the year promising myself I would try to get out for walks, as both my daily step count and fresh air intake was dangerously low. It started well, although a combination of bad weather and a stupidly crammed work diary with meetings All. Of. The. Time has limited it in recent weeks. With spring creeping its way in I will definitely benefit from feeling the sun on my face, so I need to try and shoehorn some outside time into my life, even though it mainly involves walking around the streets where I live, which isn’t very exciting!

Whilst time seems to be dragging, it also seems to be flying past at a crazy speed, and it’s become quite common for me to not leave the house from one weekly supermarket shop to the next. I realised last week I hadn’t seen daylight apart from through my windows for about 9 days (I shop in the evenings, when it’s still currently dark). I fear I’m starting to resemble a veal calf.

Reading voraciously, sporadically and not at all

I received 3 new books and a Kindle for Christmas, and my reading behaviour has been erratic at best. The 4 books I have read have been devoured in two to three sittings; I couldn’t get enough. Then I had a period of not having the interest or energy to read at all. Then I was a week in to another book and less than half way through, which never happens. I couldn’t seem to concentrate sufficiently to lose myself in it, which isn’t like me at all.

Drinking a lot and not drinking at all

I’ve done Dry January once in my life and don’t recall feeling any better for it, so it isn’t something I even attempt these days. January is long enough, miserable enough and difficult enough as it is without restricting things that bring you happiness, plus there’s still Christmas booze left over which will only go out of date if not drunk (that’s what I tell myself). However, working at home it was becoming far too easy to finish work and pour a glass of wine (the commute from my workspace to the fridge is not a long one). I found I was using alcohol to separate my work day from my homelife, purely because there is very little difference between the two right now and I was drinking more often than I wanted to (cough, every evening, cough).

In contrast, for most of February (apart from the first few days) I have been tee-total. It feels a bit like a reset; not using a glass of wine to sign off a bad day, not having a drink on a Saturday night out of habit, not pouring a Monday night vodka “just because”. I’ve turned into a bit of a tea monster, and have discovered that Nosecco at weekends (alcohol free prosecco, see what I did there?!) feels like having a treat without the ABV.

Getting on with it or wallowing in despondency

Most of the time I’m able to put a brave face on lockdown – phrases like “it is what it is”, “I’m lucky to have been working full time throughout”, and other platitudes are common place in my mind and my conversations. In contrast there are days when I can’t see an end to things and I can’t even put a brave face on it. Over the years I’ve learnt enough about myself to know I may as well just give in to these feelings, indulge them and let them pass naturally rather than trying to unnaturally stifle them and pretend that everything is ok.

So there you have it! I have been a walking contradiction for months, a lockdown Jekyll and Hyde, which can be hugely frustrating for me and probably more so for my husband! But it’s important to remember that there are no rules when dealing with lockdown, because none of us have ever experienced anything like this is our lifetime. All we can do is get through it, and hope that the situation improves soon.

How have you been dealing with lockdown?

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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