Straight Outta Lockdown Vol 1: Self
A lot has happened in 2020. If you're feeling a bit lost in this world, focus on what you can control; a lot can still happen.
This blog series 'Straight Outta Lockdown' is not only a nod to my fondness of 80s & 90s hip-hop, but hopefully a way for us to scope out the lay of the land looking forward.
Reflection has a role to play in our lives, yeah, reflection is cool. There is a time for reflection, but reflection can easily become negative; time spent too long in reflection can lead us to dwell in the past.
Vol 1 of this three-part series is about the Self. How are we doing? What's changed for us? What vows did we make ourselves over the course of the last few months - which ones can we actually stick to?
I'll thread the narrative through my own lens, but throughout I invite you to cast that own lens inward too. If you're not keen and just want a quick read, that's cool too.
A whole new world
During lockdown, we found ourselves having to adapt (quickly) to our new world.
Working from home will be a new routine for a lot of people, if you are lucky enough to be able to do so. I didn't even know what the word furlough meant before April 2020.
My lens: I started a new job in May, in a brand new role within a brand new organisation.
Unable to meet friends or family due to the 5-mile travel restrictions, we quickly became acquainted with the first-world savior, Zoom. Online deliveries stepped in when we could not step out t, and we even clapped for our posties (..or did we wave at them .. and clap for the binmen..? Sigh.)
At the beginning of lockdown, likely in the absence of other mental stimuli, I got sucked into my social media .. in a pretty bad way. I had to take a short break from Instagram as my mood was suffering. I was safe, healthy, happy during a global pandemic and yet when I looked at social media I felt like that wasn't enough .. yep, let's do something about that.
How did you cope/ are you coping with that side of things? Or, were you maybe the other way around .. did you feel like your social media engagement was fairly positive whilst all else seemed negative? Did it help keep you going when the world stood still?
With the benefit of some hindsight, how has your relationship with yourself changed during this pandemic? Even if there were some wobbles in the middle, hey, check you out living in unprecedented times and all that. Tougher than you might look, right?
In the first few weeks of the lockdown, I had a deep conversation with a close friend (over the phone, of course) who also has experience with anxiety. It was almost like whilst everyone else was losing their heads, we were uncharacteristically chill about the whole thing. Anxiety has this super cool thing it does where (that was sarcasm btw) it can put you in a state of 'survival' at any given moment.. you know that fight/ flight response? So whilst a lot of people may have been quite new to that feeling, us anxious souls were already there peeps! Seeing other people freak out *ahem*, I mean, being affected by the events helped us feel like the normal ones for a little while.
There's no 'i' in Pandem- oh.
How has your relationship with others changed? It wasn't quite the apocalyptic scenes we had in mind when we might have envisaged a "global pandemic" before Coronavirus - but still scary as heck in any case. Did you see those people hoarding loo roll?!
Has this made you revisit or re-prioritise your relationships?
In terms of my own relationships with others I think the main change is how much I thought about family members during this time. Whether you are a front-line worker, had to shield, home schooled, were furloughed or laid off, were redeployed or volunteered, delivered food parcels or medication.. look how far you've come. Or, if you were like me and simply had the tremendous burden of staying at home, well done for that too. At times I was overwhelmed seeing the selfless acts of the many (quite the teary Channel 4 News of a night), and at times I was also dumbfounded by the selfishness of the few. I have nothing more to say about the localised lockdown in Aberdeen, and I think the previous sentence sums up my feelings. See Vol.3 for more on this theme..
Did you think this lockdown was going to be your big chance to achieve that goal?
Yeah me too. I was gonna be able to do Double Unders. Still cant.
Whilst I have seen friends online absolutely smashing life, adapting, overcoming, and using the situation to their advantage, I have fully accepted that I am happy enough just surviving my way through this whole situation.
Did you set a goal or target and not get there? It's not fair for me to sit here and say 'mehhh don't worry about it, there's always next time' (NB: I sincerely hope not) but other than being a weak cliche, it doesn't actually help. And I like to help.
What went wrong? Did you try? (really try? ..I mean, there's been a lot of distractions lately) Did you make it part of the way there? Was it a meaningful, achievable, realistic goal that you set yourself? Did you learn something?
Even in what we may perceive to be a 'failure' there can be something positive. Not only do we seek to overcome adversity, we flip it and reverse it, and find opportunities in it.
So, my final prompt: did you finish trying yet - or are you still chipping away at it?
If the thing on your mind right now is weight loss, wait for Vol.2
Witness the Fitness
With it being a fitness blog and all, let's touch on fit chat.
How has your fitness changed in the last few weeks/months? More time at home to workout or set a PB, or schedules hindered by homeschooling and gym closures?
I've spoken about this before but I feel like a lot has changed for me. I recently got my hands on a Les Mills SmartBar and was able to do BODYPUMP at home with a bar and plates instead of dumbells and whatever heavy sh*t I had lying around. Gosh - I do not have the muscular endurance I had a few months ago!! I can only imagine what it'll be like going back to classes properly - BUT - I am excited for it.
We all faced adversity; all of the gyms closed. Some experienced more than others - lack of equipment, or cash to afford equipment or subscriptions, space to workout.... Time is a privilege, especially if you work long hours or have caring responsibilities, but if you prioritise your health/fitness you will find the time to exercise.
I highly recommend this book to help you do just that.
If you are feeling like all your hard work has been undone, just remember how far your body has taken you. Celebrate it. It will be ready for the challenge and get excited about the journey of building itself back up. Many people are in the same situation.
On the other hand if you've been slaying home workouts like a boss and have a new level of fitness then that is truly amazing. How does that make you feel? What can you do to inspire others to find that feeling? Coming out of lockdown and adapting to yet another routine, what can you do to make sure fitness remains a priority for you?
Stronger than yesterday
I don't know about you but I think this year has *c H a n G e D m E*.
I've learned how I have been taking things for granted, like the safety and wellbeing of my family. I've learned how some people show their true colours when asked to comply with, quite frankly, basic rules and guidelines - and thus - that not everyone shares the same priorities as me. I have learned how fragile and how resilient in equal measures our society is. I have learned that I like people being at least 2m away from me.
So how is your Self doing?
Vol 2: The Gym, coming soon.