Six Lockdown Saviors
I try not to talk about the Lockdown situation too much on social media. We all know it's tough, we are all trying to do the best we can with what we have. Yup. So, this post has been written carefully as I am so caught up in trying not to sound high-and-mighty .. believe me there will be a ying to this yang as I'm sure I will be soon to write about the dark side of Lockdown too.
Simply, here are six tools I've used over the last few weeks to help me retain balance.
1) Four eyes not square eyes
When we visited Japan in 2018 I picked up a pair of these cute specs in a hispter-art shop. I read the product info on the box - before that moment I'd never heard of blue light glasses. I knew staring at your screen wasn't exactly nourishing for your peepers, but .. I was enlightened. These are the specs I use daily, though they are now widely available. I believe that they do help my eyes feel less strained looking at my PC all day for work, my phone and even our TV! I will wear these when watching TV before bed so my eyes aren't working overtime right before I want to sleep. If you need a prescription you could shop around for what suits you best.
2) Eau de Lockdown
So tell me, are you still showering daily, still putting on deodorant? So far so good.
(If you are not, check yourself - and check yourself quickly - have you lost all hope!?)
But - have you still been wearing your usual perfume/ aftershave? If you have, you deserve a hand, well done! (Seriously)
It was about 2/3 weeks into Lockdown and I realised I'd stopped wearing my perfume. You see, it's normally something I'll do when I'm about to leave the house to interact with other humans.. so.. surely not required? Now every other day I might use a couple of sprays of my perfume and it really does help me feel a little bit 'normal' and prepared to face the day. Plus I forgot how much I liked the smell of my perfume!
3) Pop on a Podcast
I believe that TV qualifies as one of those 'time thieves'. Like your phone. It requires you to sit still and watch and listen. Okay you might be able to do some things at the same time .. uhh.. ironing, eating .. (okay I'm stumped). Anyway, it holds you captive and before you know it you've lost time you could have used doing something else. We have our TV time at home, and it is integral to essential escapism, but I am really enjoying podcasts right now.
All you need to do is listen, so you can exercise, work, cook, clean... and be entertained.
Sooooooo, the tricky thing with podcasts is finding a good one. I avoided them for so long because I couldn't find one I liked. The most popular ones you tend to find on Home Pages of iTunes or Spotify seem a bit naff to me.. But they're popular for a reason!
So this is probably where your friends/ family will come in handy - you're going to need to ask people for recommendations, I'm afraid I can't do that for you.
Most podcasts will make me cringe - I just don't want to listen to an immersive audio experience of something like Loose Women. The ones I regularly listen to are;
the Chasing Excellence Podcast (also available on YouTube),
the James Smith podcast, and
The Do-Lectures podcasts (essentially a Ted Talks idea).
I listen to mine on Spotify.
4) Move, as often as reasonable
We are still trying to find a routine that suits me and my stranger/ better half.
Typically I'll run once a week, I'll do GRIT Cardio once a week, I'll try to join a Claymore Crossfit WOD once a week. I try to do a stretch via a YouTube yoga video, or BODYBALANCE on Les Mills On Demand. Sometimes I will do a CXWORX on LMOD too. We'll go outside to walk most days. This is because pre-Lockdown I was fairly active.
I miss teaching classes, but I am trying to keep myself on a level head and being selfish with my time. Some days I have zero energy and can do nothing but lay there and eat (help - sound familiar? anyone?)
It does help me, physically and mentally, to move though. I can imagine if you didn't spend much time being active before Lockdown you could be feeling pressure to do so now, through social media and even TV/ news.
Unless you have a burning interest or desire to, I wouldn't worry much, not right now. Lockdown or not, I think people have to have a genuine 'want' to exercise, otherwise it won't last long and you might not feel very successful.
In future posts I will be discussing the various options available for exercising during Lockdown, in case you're feeling a bit lost with everything.
5) Un-social media
Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that during May I had to sign out of my account for a few days. It wasn't any one thing I saw or read that informed that decision. It was a cumulative effect of various things, possibly from months or even years, that came to a head. Difficult to describe .. anxiety piqued, sense of inadequacy, you might know the feeling too.
It was my social media 2007-Britney moment.
As I said at the time, I had received messages from friends and followers that said they felt the exact same. I was happy and sad. Happy that I wasn't alone, but sad that any of us should feel that way.
Limiting my social media exposure has helped.
Work focus levels increased, IDGAF levels increased, creativity levels increased.
Social media should serve you, not the other way around. Ask yourself, what do you gain from it? If you're satisfied with the answer, then great, if you even have an answer.
6) You're going to hate this one
Yes. I'm saying it.
Remember, this is my blog. These are my 6 tools.
My Fitness Pal. Food diary. Calorie tracking. (heck)
For the pure and simple reason that by locking-down, my normality - insomuch as what I did and where I went in a day - ceased to exist. I am now closer to my fridge than ever before. I have around-the-clock access to my kitchen.
Out of pure accountability and curiosity I re-downloaded MyFitnessPal app (others are available) to log the food I eat each day. That way, if I gain weight I have a record of how it happened and I can blame nobody but myself.
It's not a difficult concept. I can't fib myself if it's there in black and white.
If I feel like I can't control what goes in my mouth, I can control what goes in the kitchen. The in-between parts are up to me!
So there it is - six tools that have been a HA-UGE help in Lockdown.
Simple, yet effective.
Any that you use, or don't?