Well, here we are again. I wrote a version of this post last week, before the second national lockdown was announced, and during yet another week where it felt like I was one of the only people whose life still hadn’t got back to some sort of normal. I know this year isn’t normal for anyone, but it seemed since September that most people around me were back to work at least, and that makes a huge impact to your life and routine. I was going to share a general rambling, but now that lockdown 2 will affect all of us I thought I’d rewrite to share what I’ve found to be helpful ways to cope with life on hold this time round.
Lockdown 2 will be different to the summer. It was one thing being stuck at home when the weather was good enough to be in gardens, and enjoy daily exercise out and about locally. I don’t know about you but I’m sick of the sight of the same places to go walking, I’ve exhausted them all.
All through the first lockdown and summer I think I was pretty positive. In lockdown I did so much, I was very productive and kept myself busy. Nobody should feel pressure to be productive especially at this time but I needed to be. My life went from constantly on the go to absolutely nothing overnight. I had a routine, I was going outside and actually had quite a bit to look forward to and keep me going.
Once we had experienced a taste of freedom in July and August, the local restrictions and then the tiered system made things became a lot harder. All motivation and positivity went out the window and I felt fed up, unmotivated, lonely and desperately missing my pre lockdown life and the people in it. My life has been fully on hold most of this year but it hit the hardest from September.
The tier system actually helped a bit, as it wasn’t as strict as our local rules had been but in general being alone at home every day through the week was tough once Kieran was back in the office, and after months of it my patience has worn very thin. I’ve been living for the weekends again when people aren’t at work so I can plan things for me and Kieran, or with friends outside.
For many I think it will be a shock to the system going back under lockdown, but to be honest for me I don’t think it will be that different through the week It’s just an extension of what is my current normal. I will notice a difference at weekends, but Monday – Thursday definitely not.
I’m not trying to have a pity party for myself as there’s always someone worse off, I’m just being honest when I say I’m fed up, bored and really trying to focus on all these ways to cope with Lockdown 2 – the worst sequel of 2020.
Get fully ready every day
This makes such a difference to your entire day. And when all the days blur into one it makes a difference to your whole week. I have forced myself to get up at the same time as I always did the whole way through this year, with the exception of maybe two or three days that involved a hangover. Getting up, showered, dressed and a coffee made have a big impact on how you feel in a positive way, even if you dont have plans to go anywhere.
Keep your home as clean as possible
I feel like all I do is the dishes, clean up, washing and put stuff away. It is an absolute chore and I could never be a desperate housewife or as invested as Mrs Hinch, but I know if I didn’t do it all straight away I’d sit and stare at everything that needs doing all day.
And as attractive as possible
I personally wont be putting the Christmas decorations up until the 1st December, but I can understand why some people would want to. Spending so much time at home in the same rooms is hard, so at least make them look nice and it can go a long way in boosting your mood.
Through the spring and summer I had seasonal flowers each week to brighten the place up, in September I got new bedding and throws, and during October I fully embraced the autumn theme with pumpkins everywhere and new candles. It just helps and I will be going all out once December does arrive.
Make plans but spread them out
This applied more before the lockdown was announced, as I found it very tempting to try and plans loads of things for through the week to stay busy, but the reality is unless you’re working full time it’s hard to fill a week of things to do at the moment. It’s costly too, even just coffee, cake or lunch out each day adds up.
We tried to plan at least one thing each weekend so we always had something to look forward to. I would book hair and nail appointments for different days, honestly I was like Ross on Friends when Joey tries to teach him to chill out (‘and that’s WEDNESDAY!’).
It will be harder to do this when everything closes and we cant go out but if you’re going back to zoom calls, FaceTimes, quizzes, baking banana bread etc then make it all last over the month.
Watch your money this time
I definitely didnt do this during the first lockdown, we were buying so much alcohol and food that we just didnt need so I won’t be getting caught up in all that this time. Save money where you can as we will all need it before Christmas.
Or anything else you regret from the first lockdown
Maybe you tried to do too much, or didn’t do enough. Maybe you had a failed attempt at banana bread, or one to many Houseparty hangovers. Learn from the last one to make this one more bearable.
Focus on the things you can control
I have spent a LOT of time this year dwelling or agonising over things outside of my control. I have got so annoyed in some situations at the lack of information, communication, answers and the never ending waiting game across multiple aspects of my life. It was so draining and I hate feeling like other people are in control of what happens to me. That prolonged level of limbo really isn’t sustainable or good for anyone’s mental health.
Instead I now try to put things out of my mind. It’s easier said than done but avoid negative conversations, the news, speculation headlines and pointless conversations that get you down. Tell people to stop asking you questions you don’t know the answer to and dont feel guilty about it. Focus instead on what you can do for yourself, even if that is just what you have for tea that night. Make it the best bloody tea you can make.
Allow yourself the day/week off
By this I mean if you really do need time out, a self care day, a Netflix binge, a day on the sofa in your PJs then let yourself do it. I avoided Netflix for all of summer as I hated the idea of just wasting time I dont often get.
Although I’ve enjoyed the odd binge recently (Emily in Paris/Gossip Girl/Schitts Creek) I do notice that my mood drops if it goes on too long. Knowing when to stop or not just begin that next episode, is the main thing for these types of days or they turn from being exactly what you need to a downward spiral.
Make mini to do lists for the day
Even if you only set yourself one thing to do that day, make sure you do it. I wrote a huge post of things to do during lockdown earlier this year and plenty are still relevant for this time round.
Stay in touch with people
We are all in the same boat during lockdown 2, albeit with some difference in circumstances but overall we are in it together. Chatting to your friends, ringing family, commenting on social media posts can all make us feel a lot less alone.
Allow yourself 5 minutes to cry
There have been days where I have got upset at how fed up I am. It always happens when you least expect it and the slightest thing sets you off. I know it’s a total cliche but I always remember Beyoncé saying in an interview if something bothers her she lets it fully bother her for a day, whether that’s to cry, scream, thrash it out at the gym etc, then she wakes up the next day and won’t let herself cry over it again.
That idea isn’t going to work every time obviously especially if it’s something big or devastating, but in general if I’ve been having a moment I’ve told myself to have 5 minutes to cry then stop. It works best for the irrational tantrums we are all prone to this year. Also have you seen that Cameron Diaz film ‘The Other Woman’? Carly (Cameron) tells a snivelling Kate to get it together and cry inside like a winner. I tell myself that too and giving yourself tough love can really work.
‘Cry on the inside, like a winner.’Carly to Kate. The Other Woman
Go to bed early
My sleep has been all over the bloody place and I know I’m not alone with this. Early nights really do help.
Treat yourself to a takeaway
So many restaurants, cafes and pubs are now running really efficient good takeaway services and thanks to the slightly more lenient rules this time they can continue to operate. I tried so many earlier this year I found my favourites and will be having the odd one. Both for myself to enjoy and to keep supporting my favourite places.
It’s not going to be easy, but I really hope that locking down for November means we can have a December and Christmas with our families. The sooner we leave this crappy year in the past the better, so Lockdown 2 better work and roll on 3rd December.
I hoped when I first shared these I wouldn’t need to again, but just in case here’s some more lockdown posts from earlier this year: