What else is there to do on a wet and blustery Saturday in lockdown? Well, not just today… Thursday, Friday and its not looking too good for tomorrow either...
Since boxing day the snow and frost has been persistent to say the least! I much prefer the fresh white snow against a clear blue sky over this dank and miserable weather we have just now. But this is Scotland, you need to find something to do on rainy days, so why not a BKRG blog.
On lead up to Christmas we published a weekly blog to try and encourage people who were finding things particularly difficult. If December was the month of encouraging positive mental health, then January and February have been the months of ‘batten down the hatches and ride out the storms’.
A winter lockdown was always going to be tougher than the spring / summer lockdown. Cast your mind back to this time last year when coronavirus took its hold on Italy and epicentres were appearing all over the western states. Amongst the wave of anxiety there was also a wave of togetherness, a real sense unity and camaraderie. Supermarket shelves began to empty as people panicked, toilet roll for some reason became more precious than diamonds, I am convinced there are still people working through their stockpile of silky bam double velvet sheets.
We all went into a winter lockdown both tired and weary, the big push of unity and conformity was not as prominent this time round as it was back in March. As people’s energy stores dried up, it started to remind me of a military squadded run. The whole platoon, the slowest and the fasted, the fittest and the weakest, all running to the same pace at the command of the physical training instructor, we ran to the same speed, for the same miles, but we did not all face the same level of pain, fatigue and endurance. This lockdown carries the same hallmarks, some people’s energy stores were depleted heading into this, for some of us, the lockdowns and restrictions combined with the dark winter post-Christmas dip signalled its time to batten down the hatches and ride this one out!
What does ‘riding it out' look like? Does any of these lines sound familiar:
What is the point of this?
Why am I going to work today?
I can’t face another day working from home,
I’m fed-up with groundhog day routine
Suffering from head fog, brain fog, mental haze or lack of focus
I can’t cope with another session of home schooling,
I don’t have the energy to text a friend,
I don’t want to go outside for a walk,
I don’t want to read a book,
I can’t be bothered to cook,
I don’t have a conversation in me anymore,
I just want this to be over.
If your feeling any of the above and more, please trust me, your not alone, the public displays of unity from March have been replace with more subtle whispers of ' we are all feeling the strain'.
Battening down the hatches could also be something along the lines of questioning your purpose in life. When the busyness of commuting, working, weekends in the pubs & clubs, cinemas and other social events have been stripped away, what have we left to live for? I have heard so many people say they just need a holiday, they just need to get away. But what if those things don't come soon, can we continue to live dreaming about the distant future?
Are all these really just symptoms of discontent, are they just a means to grasp onto instant pleasures and satisfaction, is happiness more deeper? In the last few weeks I have been especially encouraged by the number of friends taking up challenges for a cause bigger then themselves, from walking challenges to raise awareness, to running challenges to raise funds for charities. Are we possibly now at a tipping point in society? Are people now looking to create happiness within themselves and develop a sense of purpose by serving a cause bigger than themselves?
As the vaccine continues to be rolled out on a scale never witnessed before by our amazing NHS, so too does the COVID-19 cases continue to drop, the number of daily reported deaths continue to drop and inevitably, spring is now on our doorstep! As the the early snow drops break through the frozen ground and begin to make an appearance, so to do we start to appear from under the hatches. Soon the early spring sunshine will have us out walking, cycling, and socialising (from a distance of course). As with the first lockdown, we can see brighter days ahead, but this is Scotland, a final snowstorm and more gale force winds are to be expected however, we are living in the times of COVID-19 and there is still some journeying ahead to do. So, to make these dreich windy nights a little more bearable, here are some tips to start finding your happiness again:
1. Find a cause greater than yourself and make a commitment to supporting that cause, this could be a charity challenge, serving or volunteering, starting a COVID friendly walking club, helping a neighbour in need, these are a few examples, I am sure you can think of more.
2. Add creative dimensions to your life. If you are fed up with this ground-hog day feeling, try and use this opportunity to learn a new skill, it could be painting, it could be a musical instrument, it could be a language. It could simply be switching your reading preference to new genre and allowing yourself to be challenged with new concepts and ideas. Try to rekindle old hobbies.
3. Random acts of kindness. You may know of a person or a family in need, or you simply just want to do a good thing for someone. They don’t need to know it was you who did the good deed, but you will find a sense of worth in knowing you made someone’s day a little better.
4. Try going for a walk, although even the Jack-Russel is resisting the exercise in this weather (see photo) But try and get out for a walk, the fresh air, the exercise and getting some pink rosey cheeks from the wind will cheer you up a little – honestly!
5. And finally, try keeping a journal and start and end your day with positive self-talk, write it down, you can’t argue with black and white – the pen is mightier than your doubts!
As mentioned above in the squadded run analogy, we might all be in the same lockdown but, we are all feeling the pain, fatigue and endurance differently. Our stamina levels are all different and our experiences of lockdown are different, the emotional and financial impact has affected us all differently. Sure, as daytime follows night, so too will brighter days follow this storm, stick in there everyone.
So folks, if your not feeling like your old self, you're not alone, we are all feeling numb, lazy and lacking motivation, but brighter days are coming!