Back in the middle of February, when temperatures were just starting to increase and there was a feeling of ‘Spring’ in the air. Fiona, my neighbour, said there was a forecast of colder weather at the start of March. I didn’t believe her, how could she predict the weather two weeks or so in advance!!
But today, I take it back – she was right! It’s been a lot colder today and a pretty dull day. With temperatures set to drop over the next week.
It’s amazing how my mood and energy has dropped due to colder weather and more drab light.
Yesterday (Day 343) I mentioned that Fiona had given me a lesson on the language of the canals, but couldn’t remember one of the words. Was it ‘Off Path;? I asked Fiona today – and it’s ‘Off Side’. So here it is again –
- The ‘towpath’ is the opposite side to where our boats are. This is where the horses pulled “towed” the boats all the way along the Union Canal.
- Our side is called the Off Side.
- But where our boats are have come to be known as the ‘Quayside’.
Lockdown Restrictions Corner
Whilst scrolling through recent news articles to find something to write in this section, I found an article and podcast by The Guardian called – Covid-19: why are we feeling burnt out?
It caught my attention so I read more, but no time to listen to the podcast.
It says we are coming towards the end of a year since lockdown restrictions were first put in place. With 12 months of home-schooling, staying in at weekends and not being able to see groups of friends and family in person. In addition, for many the pandemic has brought us grief, financial instability and isolation. So it’s no surprise, that we could be feeling emotionally exhausted, worn down and generally stressed.
It made me think about what I find hard when lockdown restrictions are tighter and it is the waiting! Waiting…waiting…waiting….for restrictions to be eased, with the fear that we will be back here again in 6 months time! That’s tired in itself!!
It also makes me realise, just home much I enjoy going out dancing, going on holiday and meeting friends, as a way to relax, all of which has been virtually stopped for nearly a year!
The article refers to “hitting the wall” and asks why is this happening now?! The podcasts apparently reveals all about ‘pandemic burnout’ and how we can look after our mental health.
With no time to listen to the podcast, as I want to finish this blog within my curfew time, I look for other similar articles online.
I found this one, published in September 2020.called ‘COVID Burnout – Seven Ways to Reset when you’ve Hit the Wall’.
Clearly this concept of a ‘pandemic Wall’ or ‘Covid Wall’ is a real thing !!!
The article describes 7 ways to ‘reset’ –
(1) Change up your scenery – It’s proposing for us to go away for a couple of days. If you can’t afford to do this, get into nature.
Well at the moment, we are still legally obliged to ‘Stay at Home’!
(2) Strategically disengage with ‘sacred rituals’ – reschedule your calendar to re-centre and recharge physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I will need to think about that one! I guess, getting away from the computer more often maybe a good first step!
(3) Stand guard against energy drainers – Social media, your phone and computers drain your energy. Use them less.
Well that is what I just worked out for point (2) !
(4) Make plans for the future, but write them in pencil – research has shown that people are happier when they have something to look forward to.
That definitely makes sense! Maybe plan a holiday in the 2nd week of July or last weekend in September 😉
(5) Give yourself permission to not feel fabulous – Its okay not to feel okay. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you want whenever you want.
I generally do that anyway!
(6) Speak powerfully by being intentional with your language – if you constantly talk about feeling stressed you will be stressed.
That kind of goes with the above, but good point.
(7) Keep reminding yourself that ‘you’ve got this’
I’m getting bored of this now!
As I come to the end of the list, I noticed that it’s published from America. Makes sense, it started well, then I got lost – should have stuck with the podcast!!
Things We No Longer Use / Do
So far we have covered – Kilts (Day 300), Irons (Day 301), Suit and Tie (Day 302), Passports (Day 303), Massive Travel Delays (Day 304), Clothes (Day 305) High Heels (Day 311), Taxis (Day 312), A Random Snog in a Nightclub (Day 313), Karaoke Clubs (Day 314), Cash (Day 315), Handshake (Day 316), Head Lice (nit comb and medicated shampoo) (Day 317), Pinworm Infections (Day 318), Offering to take someone’s photo (Day 319), Overnight Suitcase (Day 342) and Perfume (Day 343).
After yesterday’s research, I found another one which I will look at today – Shaving Products (for men).
With the ‘Lockdown Beard’ for men, there has been a decline in shaving products for men, but not for women!
Proctor & Gamble and Gillette have both reported a drop in sales, as men are working from home so are not bothering with shaving.
In fact the ‘Lockdown Beard’ is the new fashion for men!
I have never grown a beard before, until lockdown restrictions began. I’ve always thought a ‘beard’ is less of a professional look, probably due to going to private school – look at most men in the Conservative Party or men in the Royal Family – none (of very few) have beards. But as I was not working and not seeing anyone I decided to grow a beard. Now everyone says they think it suits me!!
It leaves me pondering on what to do when I return to being a ‘magician’ – do I change my magician look or shave my beard off?!
Today I am recalling Day 7, when I found time was starting to slow down.
I’ll include the text I wrote at the start of that blog. I really like my reflection on time and how everything is slowing down. Why did that stop?!
Oh and it seems that the photos were copied and pasted too!
Time. Time. Time is slowing down. It seems to be disappearing. I am not living my life around time. I’m checking the time less.
I didn’t set an alarm last night, nor shut my blind expecting the sunlight or Honey the Dog to wake me, neither did. My inner voice – “come on Jim, it’s 10am, Monday morning. You need to get up” – it just wasn’t there.
Who cares what the time is. Time is now governed by sunlight, hunger, tiredness and Honey the Dog. A routine is still there, but no rush.
I stand in the shower, reflecting on life. I am there for a lot longer than usual. I am enjoying the hot water flowing over my body. There is no hurry to move. I just enjoy the moment.
I haven’t changed my only (non digital) clock an hour forward. I haven’t looked at it. I am not checking the time. I haven’t looked at my digital calendar for a week. It feels unfamiliar to open it. Just a few weeks ago, I would open it at least 10 times a day. Setting appointments, checking what I had to do today, planning the week. I am checking emails less. I am checking my communication Apps less. I’ve stopped watching the news. Time is standing still.
I take Honey the Dog for a walk to the park. I wait at the top of the steps, as another dog walker slowly walks down, one step at a time. I am social distancing. I notice 80s pop music filling the street, coming from a flat across the road. I look up and see a woman on the first floor, standing at the window, she has a pink top on.
I wave at her. I wave again. She waves back. We connect, an unfamiliar connection. I start to enjoy the music. Its a dance tune. I start to dance, slowly at first. Then more openly. I look up and she is dancing too.
She’s smiling. I am laughing. A distant connection. The first non-virtual connection in a while. She disappears from the window. The moment has gone. I walk down the steps and into the park.
I feel the sunshine, it’s hot. I am in my winter jacket. The changing weather governs time too. I remember the magical feel of previous years, when you finally make the decision to go out for the day without a jacket, knowing you will be warm enough. There are a few people in the park, socially distancing, having conversations from a distance.
I walk back up the steps, hoping to see the woman in the window. She is not there. The music has changed, it’s less dance and more unfamiliar. I feel a pang of sadness, I want that connection again. Then she appears.
We dance together again. She behind the window on the first floor on the other side of the street. Me out on the pavement. It’s hot. I hang my jacket on the railings. Why not – there is no need to rush to the next thing. I enjoy the moment some more. Honey the Dog joins in – barking and jumping up at me.
Then she has gone from the window. The connection has gone. I feel disappointed. I wait for some time, still dancing. She doesn’t reappear. I put my jacket on and continue on our walk back home.
I notice how slowly I am walking, how much more present I am. It is so quiet in the streets. I can walk across the road, not worrying about any cars coming. I don’t need to try to find a gap in the traffic to dash across. I am aware of each step I am taking. Aware of each foot moving forward. The weight of my body on my foot and the concrete below it. I am in the moment. I am not making an effort to notice, to be more aware, to be more present. It is just happening. I can feel the sun on my face. I can feel the dog lead in my hand. I am just being.
Time. Time. Time is slowing down. It seems to be disappearing. I am not living my life around time. I’m checking the time less. Moment, by moment. I am noticing.
I love the dance I had with the woman in the window! Ever since then, I have looked up at the window whilst walking by, but I’ve never seen her there again.
As I come to the end of this blog, I think I have ‘blog burnout’! I have had little motivation to write it today, although it seems longer than I had anticipated. I quite enjoy doing the research on different topics connected with lockdown!
I forgot to take the photo for this section and can’t be bothered to do it now – lets hope we have some sunshine tomorrow.
It’s been cloudy all day today and quite cold, I could see my breath outside this afternoon, but no rain. I have had my fire lit most of the day.
It’s 22:02 right now, so not long off my 10pm curfew 🙂