Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – Day 15

UK Cases: 22, 141 – Death Toll: 1, 408

Yesterday, was marked with a higher number of cases increase, but lower deaths. It’s always positive to see less deaths than the previous day, even when the cases increase. The higher number of cases, I think, is due to more testing, which is a good thing as the more people are tested, the more realistic the situation is. It gives us some hope to see the death toll not going up as much as the day before, ‘is this the beginning of a trend?’, we can only hope.

My first two weeks balance

It’s been two weeks since I have been social distancing and to be honest I’m quite surprised at how well I’m dealing with it since the first three days I felt like I was in a limbo. The first day, I can only compare with the day when I got the news of my father’s death. I was still in bed when my son came into my bedroom and gave me the news; my sister had been trying to ring me, but I had my phone on silence. It was the 4th of January and we were still on Christmas holidays, I had a lot planned for the day as I was working on as assignment and catching up with course work. But although there was nothing I could do, apart from booking the flights to go to Portugal and email everyone to book time off, I just spent the day staring at the TV, on my pyjamas in a complete limbo. Why could I not just do what I had planned? Specially as this shouldn’t have come as a surprise since my father had been in the hospital for over a month and his condition had deteriorated dramatically in the previous two days. We were expecting the news and they should have come as a relief, both for his suffering and for our worries and sense of impotence. Still, I was numb and in shock for at least three days. And this is exactly how I felt for the first three days of my self isolation. But then I had an epiphany, now I have the time to do what I want and like doing as well as what I need doing.

Gratefulness

For once in my life, I had a head start on something as I self-isolated before the schools closed and before the PM recommended social distancing and before the lock down was declared. Everyday since this all started I feel deeply grateful that I am able to do it without the stress of thinking how my bills are going to be paid. No one in my household is facing redundancy and the loss of income is minimal. My husband can work from home and I have many interests to keep me busy and my brain occupied. How long I will maintain my sanity despite all this, God knows. For now, I feel like I’m making the most of it. Yesterday, I had a phone counseling session, which was a surprise as I had assumed that it had been cancelled for now with the university being closed. It should have been a video session, but I didn’t see the email with the log in details on time to activate my session, so we did it over the phone. Although I feel that I’m doing well at the moment, it was good to have some reassurance. My next session will be on the 20th of April, after the Easter holidays. I might be needing it more by then…

I have put on some weight since last week, only 300 grams, I’m not surprised because of all the cakes and sandwiches we were eating at the beginning of the week after Romina brought them home when Costa closed. So 300 grams isn’t too bad, but as a result of that, instead of my usual 10 minutes workout, I am now doing a 20 minutes workout at home, hopefully it will help shed the extra weight. And we’re eating better now, as well.

Yesterday, I also finished the Mental wellbeing in children and young people course that I have been doing online. I had been doing one module a day, but yesterday I decided to do the last two modules to finish the course. I will do Overcoming loneliness next.

I also bought two new domains to start two new blogs, one for creative writing and the other one for English studies. I just hope that I can this time get the sites up and running without much stress. Will keep you posted.

Apart from that, I did two loads of laundry, dried it and folded it, went for my usual walk, made a phone call and watched TV, I didn’t do my crochet yesterday as I was folding the laundry instead.

So, this is all for today. Don’t forget to stay at home and stay safe!

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – Day 14

UK Cases: 19, 522 – Death Toll: 1, 228

How are you all keeping up? So, I decided it’s better to do these diary entries the following day, so I can give you a full overview of the day. Yesterday, I posted Saturday’s entry, which I started writing on Saturday, but got sidetracked by a friend’s phone call. So then I did a little editing and posted it in the morning. So, that’s what I will be doing from now on.

Sunday Routine

Walk 29 March 20

Because it was Sunday, I thought I’d have a different routine. The clocks went forward as well this weekend, so we stayed in bed until 11 am, which was actually 10 am with the old time. I never liked the time changes and there have been a few times when it messed with my schedules. Funnily enough, it never made me late, always early. Years ago, I went to Germany on the weekend it changes in the winter, and we were always early for everything thinking that the Germans were late, which really messed with our minds because this was a work related trip and working with a German company we knew how strict they were with time. For the whole weekend we were there, we did not manage to get our watches right once. Of course, this was a time before mobile phones and computers or electronic devices of some kind or other, started doing it for us. Yes, there was a time when we had to manually change the time on our watches. Crazy, isn’t it?

Back to my day, Phil brought us breakfast in bed and I read a little bit before getting up. Then we went for a longer walk, still in the area, but we went on a different route round Lostock and back. It was one hour walk and I was tired towards the end, but not out of breath. A few months ago, I would have struggled to complete this walk. So that’s a positive change and I am really pleased. When we came home from the walk, I decided to change into lounge clothes because it was Sunday and I normally would be in pyjamas all day, if I didn’t go out, so I thought it would be good to keep that normality for comfort.

New Social Dance

There were a few families out, a few couples and some people on their own. It was good to see how everyone is respecting social distancing around here; people cross over to the other side of the road or step aside, there was even a place where there were people walking in the middle of the road because there were families on either side, which worked because there were hardly any cars. I also noticed that most people we cross paths with smile and say ‘hello’. It’s like there’s this dance that everyone had to learn how to dance and which connects strangers by an invisible link, because we’re all in this together. It is a special time we’re living and not all is bad stuff. I really hope that when it’s all over, we still remember what really counts and still appreciate the little things we had and that kept us going. These walks are a part of my day that I’m really looking forward to and I hope I will never be ‘too busy’ or ‘too tired’ in the future to go for a walk.

Afternoon of Games

Games 29 March 20

After lunch, we all sat down at the table and played some game quizzes, the four of us. We made popcorn and we had a good time together, it was fun and we had a some laughs. We all enjoyed it and we’ll do it again. It felt good to be doing something different. So many times I thought we should play more board games as a family to break the routine and connect in a different way. Usually, we spend too much time on our phones, even when we are together. We hardly interact with each other. We play games at Christmas or New Year when the family gets together, but I always thought we should do it more often. Now that we are all stuck in the house, we have time for it and I’m committed to make it happen. Hopefully, we’ll create an habit that we will continue afterwards.

After the games, Phil and I watched a film, Blade Runner 2049, not the best, but I was doing my crochet blanket while watching it, so I didn’t mind much. And this is all for today, please comment and let me know how you’re doing!

Stay home and stay safe!

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – Day 13

Cases: 17, 089 – Death toll: 1, 019

So today, I decided to add the total figures at the top of my posts. I thought it might be interesting when I look back at this posts in the future to see if there is a relation between the numbers and my mood or what is going on in my life. These figures have worried me a little to be honest; it’s a big increased in the last 24 hours, but I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose. One minute we’re all at home, doing what we like because now we have the time, it almost feels like we’re on holidays, or snowed in or something; but then we get these numbers and reality hits us – we’re living in the heart of a worldwide pandemic.

It just makes me so angry about the people that are defying the lock down rules. Why is it so hard to understand that the sooner we stay at home, the sooner we get through this and can go back to some sort of normality or at least start rebuilding our lives? I confess that there are moments when I feel frustrated with some people’s attitudes and all the negativity going on at the moment. Things I’ve seen on the news like for example, a group of youths attacking a postman after him telling them off for not respecting the lock down. There have been supermarkets’ delivery vans vandalised, some NHS staff have found their cars vandalised after their shifts, food banks being ransacked. What purpose does it all serve? These are times when communities should come together and support each other, but not everyone gets it.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom and there has been a lot of positivity out there. When the government called for volunteers to help with the vulnerable people who needed to self-isolate, they were hoping to recruit 250, 000. However, in less than 24 hours, more than 500, 000 people had signed up. This are the type of news that make me believe in the human race. Across the country people have come through with act of generosity and kindness like the couple who runs a corner shop in Scotland distributing care packages to the elderly containing antibacterial gel, wipes and face masks. Businesses like Home Bargains taking the time to reassure their staff that not only their jobs are safe, but also that they have created a fund to support anyone in hardship due to the corona virus. God bless you all who have come through better, nicer and kinder.

One Poem a Week

At the beginning of January this year, I started a one poem a week challenge inspired by Jo Bell’s 52, I use the prompts in the book, but then look at other poems/writings too for inspiration. I did really well for three weeks, but then went to Portugal for a week and stopped, I’m not proud to admit. So today I decided to return to this challenge and rewrote the poem for week 3. It’s about the body, what I had written before, I think I will use to edit an older poem I wrote a while ago. I have been reading something about body image and it inspired me to go in a different direction, so today I wrote a totally different poem. On Monday, I will start week four.

Stay at home, stay safe and save lives!

 

 

 

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – My Diary

I hope you’re all doing great during these hard times. I’ve been debating the idea of starting a social distancing diary. At first glance, there might not be much point, as every day tends to be much the same as the day before; but on the other hand, it might be interesting to note any self-reflection tendencies or changes in mood and family dynamics, for example. So, I decided to go for it.

Today is day 12 for me. At the moment we are all still talking to each other in our house. My husband has been working from home for a week now and my children have been at home since the beginning of this week. We’ve been quite good at staying out of each others’ ways, until this morning when there was a queue for the shower, only because Phil and I stayed in bed until a little later. But, we survived the clash without any casualties, I’m happy to report.

Books I’ve been reading

So far I finished the book I was reading, The Palace of Curiosities, by Rosie Garland and started Joyful, by Ingrid Fetell Lee. Or rather, I restarted Joyful, as I was reading it before my holidays, but interrupted it to read other things. The Palace of Curiosities is a very interesting love story, narrated alternately by the two main characters, Eve and Abel. I really got into it, it’s different from anything I’ve read before, Rosie said in an interview that she wanted to give a voice to these weird characters that we see in shows and circus, Eve is covered in fur and Abel is immortal. What I love about the story is that it is a lesson not only of inclusion and diversity but also of self love and self-acceptance. Really a good read. Joyful, is a different genre, more on the life style category. It’s about how to create a space and atmosphere conducive to happiness by using ordinary things. It’s very interesting to see the effect of colour and textures for example, can have in whole communities, amazing. I’m really trying to apply it to my life, I always loved colour and now I now why, it does have an uplifting effect in our lives.

Exercise

I am still motivated enough to exercise every morning for 10 minutes, first thing when I get up. I follow the exercise videos on YouTube, by Lucy Wyndham-Read. I’ve been doing a 10 Minutes Cardio Workout, but this morning I started 10 Minutes Inch Loss Workout as I felt like a change. I follow this with a stretch and later in the morning, normally before lunch, Phil and I go for a walk with the dog. We’ve been making these walks longer each day, firstly because we’ve had cake this week as a result of Romina’s spoils from Costa, but then because we just feel like it. The weather has been really nice for walks and we are fortunate enough to live in a quiet area where where we have fields for walks and rarely see other people. But when we cross with other people in the way, everyone seems to be mindful of social distancing, which is good to see when we see in the news how some people are being so irresponsible. Anyway, this morning we went for a long walk which including a little bit of a hill and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I never got out of breath. I’m much fitter than I was a month ago and the best thing is that I really look forward to my morning exercise routine and to these morning walks.

Morning Walk 27.3.20

Other Activities

This morning, I started an online course for my CDP, Mental Wellbeing in Children & Young People, on EduCare, this course has four modules, I completed module one today and will do some more tomorrow. There are other courses I want to do, but started with this one because it’s something I care about and always wanted to do. I was give a free package of 38 online courses at university a few weeks ago and now I will have time to do them all, or at least the ones I find relevant.

The last two days, I spend too much time trying to start another blog. I decided to start a Creative Writing blog, but it has proved a lot harder than I thought, much harder than when I started this one – things must have changed. Today I decided to take a break from that frustrating quest, but I will go back to it tomorrow. I’ve been watching YouTube tutorials, which they make it seem too easy, but when I do it, some of the features don’t work. I was getting quite frustrated yesterday, so I thought I better give it a break before losing my mind and go back to it in later; sometimes it’s just the best thing to do.

In the evening, I watch a bit of TV with Phil and I’ve been working on a blanket in crochet. I think I will donate this one to a local homeless charity, the same one I have donated some sleeping bags and blankets before. It’s a nice colourful blanket and I think it might brighten someone’s spirits while keeping them comfortable and warm. Depending on how long we’ll stay social distancing, I might have time to make more.

So, this is all I have for today. Tomorrow, I will come back with my day 13 entry.

 

 

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – My Experience

Last night, the Prime Minister announced very strict rules on the nation’s lock down. According to The Guardian, it was one of the most watched TV moments in history, everyone was glued to the TV. It felt strange, we were all there in front of the TV and I was very nervous, it was almost like we were waiting to hear our life sentences; I don’t remember another time when I had that feeling.  I remember the uneasy feeling every time I spoke with the doctors when my mother was in hospital in intensive care, but this is a different feeling. I think it’s because this concerns the whole world, not just me or my family. It’s that feeling that we’re all in this together, I suppose.

We must stay at home. We can only go out to:

  • buy necessities like food and medicine and we should do it as less often as possible
  • go to and from work, but only when work cannot be done from home
  • do one form of exercise, e.g. walk, run, cycle
  • go for essential medical care or to care for someone vulnerable

We must not meet our friends nor anyone that does not live in our house and we must not visit each other in each other’s houses. Any social gatherings of more than 2 people are banned unless we live in the same house. All shops that don’t sell food or medicine are closed. To be honest, I knew this was coming from the moment Costa announced closure of their stores yesterday morning. Never before in history, measures like this have been taken.

I have to say that nothing is changing for me, I’ve been doing this since Monday last week. But unfortunately, not everyone understood the rules of social distancing and that’s why the lock down has to be enforced. Some people don’t understand that the sooner you stick to the rules of social distancing, the sooner this will be over. I have to admit that this sounds good to me. Staying at home, reading and writing, calling friends and have all the time I want to do what I want. I’ve wanted this for a long time. Not the pandemic bit, just the social isolation bit – not offence to any of my relations.

So far, a big chunk of my time has been dedicated to self-care. I am still establishing a routine, but I have exercised at home most days and have gone for a walk outside every day. I have been eating pretty healthily and have been drinking plenty of water, I’ve lost 800 grams since I’ve been social isolating – pretty amazing, I would say. I have also been moisturizing every time after the shower, which I don’t normally do because of time, but now, since time is not an issue, I make a point of doing. I also get dress every morning in going out clothes and change to lounging clothes in the evening. I think it gives a structure to the day and makes me feel more connected to the normality of life.

Last week, I made a list of things I want to do during this time. That keeps me focused. I have been doing a lot of journal writing for self reflection, but I am also working on a new poem right now. It’s a poem I started a while ago, but yesterday I went back to editing it and today I will give it another look. I’ve done a few online badges on the university website, but I’m looking for some online courses that I can do to keep my brain in gear and add to my skills. I’ve been speaking on the phone to friends every day to check up on each other and stay connected.

My biggest challenge is to stay away from social media and news updates. I confess I am quite obsessed with news updates, maybe because these are unprecedented times and, sometimes it does feel unreal, like this is not really happening. It’s like, I need to check often what it going on, in case someone comes up and say something like, ‘a cure has been found’ or even, ‘You’ve been fooled!’  Sadly, neither has happened yet and I doubt that it will. So, I must stop obsessing about the news and do something more productive or satisfying with my time. But, all in all I am happy with how I have been using my time – most of the time. Let me know what you’ve been doing with your social distance time, I’d love to hear other people’s experiences.

Posted in My Planet

What Does Being a Mum Mean to Me

I became a mother at the age of 23 and since then my life has been the most amazing adventure you can imagine. I never knew how much love capacity I had until I became a mother. But being a mother is not just about the sacrifices you make and how much you love; being a mother to me, is mostly about how much you get back. Not a day goes by that I’m not in awe of the human beings my children turned out to be and not a day goes by that I don’t burst with pride.

My children kept me going when I thought my life was over and felt like I couldn’t go on any longer. They were the reason I got up every morning when I didn’t have the energy. They were the reason I fought clinical depression and had the courage to seek help and get better. My children made me a better person and made me seek my happiness.

They might say that they are proud of me and that they are grateful for everything I do for them, but the truth is, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be the person they love and feel inspired by.

I’ll just leave you with a poem I wrote about my children. Basically, this is all true, every line is something one of my children said to me at one time or another. I’m sure many mothers out there – and sons and daughters too – will identify with some of these lines. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Wedding with kids

Things My Children Say To Me 

That there is nothing to eat in the house.

That I look beautiful.

That I shouldn’t dance.

That I don’t need to diet.

That I have no fashion sense.

That I am funny.

That they love me.

That I am always late.

That I should go out more.

That I never listen.

That they miss me.

That I need to take cooking lessons.

That I make the best spaghetti Bolognese.

That I don’t understand.

That my accent is funny.

That I am a terrible driver.

That I am the best mother in the entire world.

Posted in My Planet

How Do I Feel About Self-Isolation

So, after a long period of being absent from the world of WordPress, I decided to return. Better later then never. My last post dates September 2017, over two years ago – I can’t believe it.

Firstly, let me tell you the reasons for my absence:

  • I was very busy with studies, work and moving house.
  • I was struggling with mental health, grieving the loss of my mum and my dad’s illness.
  • I was questioning the route I wanted this blog to take.
  • Maybe, I also lost confidence in my writing.

It has been a long battle, I won’t lie. But, there have been a lot of wins. I managed to complete my degree and was accepted to the PGCE programme. This is a huge win as there were times when I didn’t think I would ever be able to finish my degree. Mostly, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of work and the complexity of student life, time management, work and family commitments, leisure, etc.

I have also managed to quit the job that was making me ill and bringing out the worst in me. It was really good for a period of time and I am truly grateful for that job, but it came a time when I had to let go and move on. Thankfully, we have managed without that income just fine. It just goes to show that when you’re brave enough to follow your dreams, the universe will provide for you – but that’s for another blog post.

My mental health has been up and down and I have been having counselling for a while now. It has helped immensely and I will also expand on that on a future post. I have also lost my dad just over a year ago and although it wasn’t unexpected, it was a shock and it has been hard to deal with. I ended up getting behind with the course work and  my transferred my PGCE to part-time study, therefore I am still a student.

I have been thinking on what route to take with this blog. When I started it, it was a mixture of everything, but I have been thinking that it might be better to separate the different sections. So in the future, this will be my personal blog and I might start a professional one for my teaching practice and maybe another for my creative writing. Depending on how things go, or how long I will be in isolation.

This brings me to the title of this post. So, I have been in self-isolation since Monday due to the Corona virus Covid-19. I am not infected, but because I am asthmatic and have high blood pressure, I decided to self-isolate to reduce the risk of infection and consequently putting extra pressure on the health services. Apparently, people with asthma should self-isolate for 12 weeks. Luckily, I am able to self-isolate without it affecting the income of my family or my contribution to the community; so I decided to do it and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

How do I feel about it?

On Monday I felt very anxious and scared. I felt like the world as I know it was about to collapse and was overwhelmed with a sense of impotence and disbelief. This really feels like reality imitating fiction and I never thought I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. I confess that in the past, I had thought about something like this happening, but always shoved the thought somewhere in the back of my mind. Now this is really happening.

By Tuesday, I was feeling a bit more positive. Excited even. I thought, well I will have to stay at home for a while; how many times have I wished for it? Is this a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ or what? So, I started feeling quite excited thinking about all the things I can do now that I didn’t have time for before. So far, I have been binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime without any feelings of guilt. Why the hell not?

Today, after three days of not doing much other than watching TV and checking the news on Covid-19 situation, I decided to start a more productive strike. I make a list of all the things I want to do while at home:

  1. Bring my course work all up to date.
  2. Read more books
  3. Write more
  4. Reactivate this blog
  5. Start a new blog
  6. Exercise
  7. Deep clean the house and organise my office
  8. Do more things with my family in the house
  9. Do more crafts
  10. Study and learn more

Today, I feel very positive and excited about being able to do all these things and maybe more. But this is only day 4. Today, my husband has started working from home as well. It’s all very good and well so far – he just brought me a cup of tea and chocolates. How long before we want to kill each other, God knows. We had breakfast and lunch together, we went to walk the dog together mid morning, and the rest of the time I have been here in my office and he has been downstairs. We will just try and stay out of each other’s way as much as possible and hope for the best. I don’t know how long he will be working from home, it seems like this whole thing is only just starting; but I feel that this will be a really good opportunity to test our marriage.