How do we begin to get through this?

I must admit that on Monday night when it was announced that we would be allowed outside for one type of exercise a day, I was relieved that for now I won’t be limited to running laps of my garden. We’ve seen how it’s gone in other countries so I shall enjoy what I can do for now.

Seen on my run, and the tulips by our front door have started blooming.

This week has been so strange. Everyone was in work on Monday as we had no idea how many children would be in, but after that we were put into teams, and my team were in this week (but only around 8 of us).  As we need to minimise contact with other people as much as possible, school is only open a little bit before and after the children, so this week I have been at school for the amount of time that the media think teachers work. And on the plus side, my commute has never been quicker! The weird thing is that we all have to keep 2m apart, and when I got home I found I was backing away from Andy to make sure I was still that far apart, before I realised that no, we were OK to get closer!

Usually I would pretty much decide on which day I would run or walk, but now with the once a day thing we have to be certain so that if I am going on a walk, Andy will wait and go with me (of course we can go alone, but we always have a nice chat on our  walks). The weekend will be strange as usually I’d run in the morning and we’d go for a long walk in the afternoon. Not any more!

I went for a run on Tuesday and then Thursday this week. The Tuesday run was so stressful. Maybe because the proper lockdown was only announced the night before and it hadn’t really sunk in? But most people I passed were not doing any sort of social distancing. I ended up crossing the road so many times, and if I went to one side of the pavement the people coming the other way would not move at all. At one point I was running along next to some kids on bikes, and they were speeding up, slowing down, veering all over the place, and so I ended up running  in the road to  give them a wide enough berth, and then after this going on for a bit, they got to a crossing and stopped- if only they had stopped before I could have just run past them. I felt more stressed when I got home than when I had started.

Beans on toast in front of the TV one day/ gorgeous light on a walk/ pretty blue flowers seen on my run

The Thursday run wasn’t as bad. I went on a different route and found that if I ran on the shaded side of the street I passed less people as most were walking on the sunny side. I think next week I’ll go out in the morning as hopefully it will be quieter (I am working from home next week as a different team will be in school and we are not allowed to mix with other teams to limit spreading anything). I think when I’ve been getting home has been prime “let’s take the kids out before dinner” time, as our walks have been a bit like that too.  There are some quieter roads but they are too far away unless I’m doing a long run I think.

One morning I needed to get petrol and I had seen recommendations to use gloves- I didn’t have any plastic ones so I took some running ones that could go in the wash. Plus my work ID because the police have been pulling people over to check their journeys are essential- honestly I’ve been having nightmares about being pulled over so it has been stressful in that sense.

On more positive news, we got Disney + and so as soon as I was out of the shower after my run, I made a tea (Earl Grey) in my Olaf mug and settled down to watch something. Once Lilo and Stitch came on the screen I knew that would be my choice, and after I realised I was wearing my Shaved Ice t-shirt from Hawaii- fitting the theme nicely.

One evening we watched Breaking 2, which I’d never seen (I’d taped it once, but on HD when we didn’t have the channel so it didn’t work)- that was interesting (Disney+ has National Geographic things too). We also had some total escapism watching a show about people getting married at Disney (at 1am seems to be the running theme)- it’s fairly light-hearted and they did have a very cool projection cake where it looked like Tinkerbell was flying all over it.

Also on Thursday night I had my first intro to Zoom, for a yoga session. Our teacher just wanted to see if it would work, and then we did a guided meditation session which was just so perfect for what I needed. Work has felt stressful because everyone is so anxious about being there, and also worrying about family members, so it has felt really mentally draining.  As our online shopping slots are more infrequent (we usually book on a Monday night for a Tuesday delivery, but now we are having to book weeks  in advance and edit in the middle of the night) we have had a few random dinners, including breakfast for dinner (baked French toast with bananas and nut butter).

The best thing about Thursday was hearing all the claps for the NHS workers- we opened our back door to join in and we could hear so many people whooping and clapping and some people even let off fireworks, which I am not keen on, but it just showed how grateful everyone is. I cannot imagine how tough it must be for anyone working in that area right now- I felt anxious going to work being exposed to a few children who potentially carry it, but going to a hospital where you are treating people with it is just another level. We are so so lucky to have such a wonderful health service and so many people working away to help others.

I wore my Stitch t-shirt to cheer me up on Friday (we decided our team would be Disney themed). Also work place essentials- tea, water, hand sanitiser and hand cream. I was also excited to find a mini bar of chocolate in my bag- let’s celebrate the small things!

A friend shared this via facebook and I have found it very helpful. I am someone who gets very anxious about things anyway (eg if I am out running and see a big dog, I will start to imagine what would happen if the dog bit me, and I fell over and got knocked out, and who would call the ambulance and so on), so at times I have felt very overwhelmed and have had a fair few tears. I know that if I look at things logically, I am very lucky because I don’t live alone, I have a dependable job, my family are close so if I need to help them (eg by leaving shopping on the doorstep) I can, but then I will go down a wormhole of reading stories about young and healthy people being really ill, and of course people with lower immunity (like my mum) and what will happen to them. I don’t want to bury my head in the sand, but also I don’t want to be on constant alert so I am trying to limit news. So many podcasts are COVID themed, I’ve been trying to find other less current ones. For something totally different, we have been watching Tiger King on Netflix, and it is totally mental. I didn’t even realise that it was still legal in the USA to have pets like that, and it is so sad to see the big cats being kept in these small cages, but it is still something different to watch .

And for the best gentle TV, I found out that Escape to the Chateau DIY was back last Monday (thankfully on Channel 4 catch up)- I love that show and have a feeling that moving forward it’s going to be perfect for 4.30pm and a cup of tea each day.

How have you been coping with a change of routine?

How are you looking after your mental health in this tough situation?

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4 thoughts on “How do we begin to get through this?”

  1. It has all been so strange, I have been trying to get to grips with remote teaching and spending a lot of time worrying about whether or not I was doing enough. At the same time, I seem to have inadvertently begun a run streak to get my daily exercise. The run keeps my mental health in check, and having Disney+ helps too. I recommend The Imagineering Story if you haven’t watched it yet.

    1. Yes we’ve been watching that – it’s so interesting. I love the one with the Haunted Mansion because I find that ride so clever 🙂
      I think I might end up doing something similar with the run streak because I can spend less time outside on a run than I can on a walk.
      The setting work thing is so hard too- we have to take into account that some parents will be working at home, and others will be needing loads of ideas to occupy their children, and finding a balance is tough because we don’t want people to end up feeling stressed if they can’t get through it all. It’s a steep learning curve for sure!

  2. Firstly, thank you for continuing to go into work and teaching. I had a bad week last week, mainly because I spent too much time watching the news and reading gloomy posts on social media. I realised I had to stop when I made myself feel so anxious my chest started to feel tight and I was worried I was getting ill. I need to remind myself that I’m reasonably fit and healthy and that by staying at home I’m hopefully limiting the likelihood of me getting ill.

    I haven’t felt like running, partly because my running buddy had a bad experience and partly because I’m trying to avoid going outside. My mojo has also gone AWOL, I just hope we aren’t put on a complete lock-down as I’ll regret not running. I have been spending more time on my exercise bike and in an attempt to not spend hours watching TV have treated myself to a couple of jigsaws.

    1. I do think that going to work helps because it feels more normal and also I can’t spend all day scrolling through social media or listening to the news.
      I think if you don’t want to run, then use the time to rest or do other things, because your running mojo will be back, and one day we will all be allowed out again, so don’t force yourself to do something if you don’t feel like it.

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