6 things I'll do differently this lockdown
So here we go. Another UK lockdown is on the horizon. 4 weeks of reduced contact with people, working from home and managing the juggle of entertaining 3 children stuck indoors. I was expectant the first lockdown, filled with endless goals and prospects, only to be let down by my own inability to maintain the standard I'd set for myself. As the weeks rolled into months and the stamina to bake the bread, play the games and redecorate the house dwindled I fell further and further into a state of despair. Lockdown mark I was hard over here, and I'm not going to let that happen again.
The bar is set low, but my hope is set high. Last time I think I had assumed I would magically transform into supermum overnight - floating around in a bubble of organisation and patience, but the reality was me diving headfirst into a share bag of Doritos, occasionally lobbing a chip in the general direction of a child whenever they expressed their need for food. Situationally, life was different last lockdown - Lee was doing 80 hour weeks, I was working overtime, and the schools were shut leaving me carrying the mental and physical load of the entire home - so already this lockdown will feel a little easier to maintain, but I'm conscious that there are some things that I can implement to keep our household running, our mental health healthy and our hopes high.
1. Lower the pressure.
You are a badass. A super woman of epic proportions. You are capable of doing anything and everything you can think of, but girl, you don't need to be doing it in the middle of a pandemic. Work out some basics that NEED to happen and then take everything else as an extra bonus. If you fancy revisiting the sour dough starter and the cross stitch canvas then go for it, but if it doesn't happen then it's no worries. Take a breath and take it slow. You are still a badass.
2. Create a reeeaally simple routine.
Our family are relaxed when it comes to routine, preferring to create a lifestyle that can handle changes and the integration of other people in our life, which works really well when there are things going on, but when all normal activities got cancelled it meant we spent a LOT of time in the first lockdown semi-dressed and eating out of packets. I'll have to get kids to school this time round so remembering to do laundry and brush teeth is probably pretty important. I've created a short, simple list of things that HAVE to happen (get dressed, brush teeth, 3 meals, routined bedtime) and will be sticking to it. I don't need to create a minute by minute agenda, but a few basics will help keep some structure in the day and keep things feeling semi-normal for the children.
3. Physical self care.
I became a master of the messy bun last lockdown. I also became a master of finishing off an entire tube of Pringles by myself. I did NOT look after myself. Don't be fooled, I'm not about to start spending an hour on my make-up every morning and introducing a new clean eating diet to my life, but I am going to make sure I am a little more balanced. A few vegetables each day, a glass of water instead of a coffee and a shower go a long way in raising how you feel about yourself.
4. Mental Self Care
Mental health was hit hard during the first lockdown. Every friend or family member I spoke to said that they had had a rough time, that mentally they'd hit some pretty low points, and doctors reported highs in appointments for depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Taking care of our mental health couldn't be more important. For me, I've downloaded a list of things that are said to help maintain good mental health (I'll share it in a blog post soon!) and I'm committing to doing one thing minimum a day. Some are simple things like standing outside and breathing in fresh air, others are a little more tasking, but each day one will get achieved - even if it's the same one three days in a row!
5. Turn work off
I don't know about anybody else, but the lines between home life and work life became incredibly blurred last lockdown. Paired with the fact that I was doing overtime and taking on extra responsibility to cover roles that furloughed staff were unable to, I was left constantly switched on, walking around my home with an adrenaline rush, my mind buzzing with a thousand and one to-do lists and ideas. I loved the initial thrill of getting to be involved and see so many things progress, but boundaries are important and I will be making sure I choose a shut off time each day to then go and spend time with my family/take a long hot bath! Another tip I'll be adopting is the journal method. At the end of every work day I'll write down any thoughts I still have - things that need doing, ideas that I would like to progress, conversations I need to have - and then leave that note in my office ready to approach the next day. Writing it all down gets it out of my head and means I can properly focus on the rest of my day without having one foot always in the world of work.
6. Give myself grace.
I've kinda covered this already in point 1, but let's be honest it probably needs restating. Lockdown measures are HARD and like it or not, we're not perfect. Give yourself grace for the moments when you feel like you can't handle it. Give yourself grace for the times when things don't go to plan. Give yourself grace for the moments when you lose it with the people around you. There are going to be many of these moments in the next four weeks and whilst you might not be privy to the conversations going on in other people's homes you best believe that you are not alone. Go easy on yourself, and allow yourself to go easy on others too, we're all battling a storm.
Here's to the next 4 weeks. I'll be praying for peace in this season, knowing that whatever happens I am still loved, there is still hope and we will get through this.
Until next time....