My hands are red raw from over washing them and my nerves frayed. It’s Monday 4th January and the stress has already started to rise although i'm not sure it even abated. School is off or more to the point school is online. Combined with Monday morning (which in my experience have never been all that great) I am now learning Google Classroom at 8.55am - School started at 8.40am. The presumption that my 11 year old would be fully literate in this, after 4 months at school is starting to fade. The tempers have risen, the shouting has commenced, there are already tears from everyone and right now I just want to go back to bed and hide under the duvet.
In a past life this is exactly how I would have started a new term, especially after the Christmas Holidays (which in my opinion have been labelled all wrong, what f*cking holiday?) Usually I would kiss everyone back to their work and school places, close the door, sigh a huge sigh, have a very long, hot, shower and then sit motionless on the bed in just my towel, for an hour. Then I would begin the post Christmas clean-up and start to get the house into the clean and tidy place that I’m craving right now. I am firmly in the camp that cleanliness is next to godliness and teamed with the slogan “tidy home, tidy mind”. I feel the sooner I get off my arse and move the better. But it’s not quite that simple.
The Lockdown since March has brought up a lot of issues, both in our family life as well as my work/life balance. The idea that I have a balance is laughable right now. With no escape for a coffee and chat with a good friend, I am stuck in these four walls. Since March last year (yep that feels surreal saying that) I have found that my aging body is not quite as robust as I would have liked it to be. I vaguely remember my late 30s feeling invincible and strong. My Yoga practice and fitness routine was set in stone and I felt great. I was a Yoga teacher with a fantastic set of students and weekly classes were a joy to teach. But then lock down happened. This isn’t a sob story or a cry for help, merely a reality check of where I am right now and how a year can well and truly flip out on you and your plans. If you are experiencing similar then read on. And if you have never heard of Mantra then maybe this will help you through? I am beginning to use these words on a more regular basis “You are resilient, You are strong” It's now a regular morning chant. Anyway I digress………..
If you haven’t already met me I was a Yoga teacher. But a change to online teaching and a sudden increase of stress meant my right hip finally gave up. I nursed it throughout the summer with a hope of returning in September but with the government continually changing our tiers and shutting down businesses left right and centre, my in person return, was stifled. My resilience shone through at this point I reminded myself that I was on a journey and these twists and turns and bumps in the road were a test. I remembered how far I had come and was thankful for all that I had. But that didn’t stop the depression from rising, its been a slow burn. And the turn of the New Year has sharply brought it all into focus.
With the New Year only just falling into place, I thought back to how I had found new ways to motivate my mental health in the last few years, vision boarding was high on the list. With this thought I donned some warm clothes and made a trek up the hill to the local shop in order to stock up on magazines. The selection was quite poor, and it appeared I wasn’t the only one who had decided this was a good idea, as the shelves were almost bare. But I selected a few titles and made my way to the checkout. After spending a small fortune on magazines (when the hell did they get so expensive?) I started the trek back down the hill to home, my nose running from the cold to warm shop/mask experience. This is where my body finally gave out. My right hip which has been threatening to be replaced since April decided to start to moan (a sharp stabbing pain to be precise). The pain was very 2020 in its nature. I limped home, took off the many layers of clothes and sat on the sofa and sobbed. With my head in my hands I felt very much beyond my mid forty years. I'd lost the oomph to start the vision board and slouched into to the warmer front room to wrap myself in blankets and soothe my pain. By now, every joint in my body had started to swell, it became apparent that I was entering a flare up, Something that I hadn't experienced for some time and one that was telling of my Christmas excess, which at the time seemed like a good idea. I suddenly became very tired and decided my afternoon would be better spent asleep, in bed. By the way this is always my number 1 tip for any mental or physical health crisis. Taking yourself back to bed and sleeping will hopefully alleviate most of your mental and physical distress. Remember tomorrow is another day and you can always start again. Believe me when I say I have done this more times than I care to divulge but I can confirm that it almost always works.
It appears that the January blues have set in early this year. The greyness of the outside world and the fact that I appear to have aged 50 years in this lockdown isn't helping. I don’t work well with change at the best of times and what with the constant change to rules, tiers and what you can and can’t do. This has meant my poor little brain is feeling it. I doubt the government even places one thought to anyone's mental health when they make these choices. So I started this Monday with a meltdown ...one that has been building for weeks, as without realising I had tucked away a lot of emotions. As all usual outlets of emotional release have slowly been taken away, I hadn't realised what a non Christmas break does to you. (last year on a beach was so much better - I recommend that whole heartedly) .
I want to reach out to you if you’re feeling it too. I’m here I know and I’m feeling it too. My family knows I’m not coping and today I have failed to keep it contained. I have failed them on every level, I feel I have failed myself, my brand, everything. The radio is blaring out with presenters attempting to keep the positivity vibe going. But I am feeling all of it right up in my face. And the screams have been loud!
It certainly does highlight the action that stress puts on the body. I wonder if I am alone in these pains? I know that meditation will elevate some of that discomfort (I will give myself a gold star for effort in that department. As I have started a bed time routine of at least 5 minutes meditation - albeit with a thousand interruptions of “what are you doing” from anyone who walks in) If my tone doesn’t sound irritable already, you may be able to hear the thud of the keys as I write this. If you too are starting to feel downright miserable then maybe this will help? Know that you aren’t on your own..If I’m honest even that thought isn’t helping right now. If you too are feeling this in this latest lockdown , know this. We can do it! You can do it! Hell, we’ve come this far. Now go get off this PC/tablet/phone that you are reading this on. Go ! What are you waiting for? Go give yourself some love, a bit of self care. A warm drink, a blanket around the shoulders. Close your eyes for a few minutes and breathe. Because you‘ve got this.
*And BTW that scream earlier, boy does it feel better now!