Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – Days 27-28

UK: 88, 621  – Death Toll: 11, 329 – Recovered: 344

Portugal: 16, 934 – Death Toll: 535 – Recovered: 277

World: 1, 888, 906 – Death Toll: 117, 585 – Recovered: 438, 176

Easter Weekend

On Saturday, my sister sent us some photos of flowers she’s picked up from the countryside on her walk and I thought it was a great idea, so I copied her when we went for our walk. This is the result. The florists are closed, so this is the only way if you want fresh flowers in the house. I love fresh flowers, they bring a little bit of sunshine inside and I love the effect of some mere buttercups have on my window and my mood. One thing the lockdown is doing to me is making me appreciate the simple things.

The day started with a 10 minute exercise, followed by breakfast and a half an hour walk. After lunch, I read a little bit in the garden. We had lunch in the garden as it was a lovely sunny day.

Creative Writing in Lockdown

Saturday afternoon, I streamed my first live video to the group. It took me ages to set up and at one point I doubted that it would happen. Eventually, half an hour later, I was live and I had 12 attendees. I really enjoyed doing it. The group has now more than 40 members and I am very excited about it. I’m glad I created the group because it will motivate me to continue writing and to connect with like minded people. I really hope it works and that we can motivate each other and help improve each other’s writings. In my live video, I gave the group the first writing prompt. Taking the theme of Easter, it is to write about rebirth, any event when you felt like you were given a second chance in live. I am just about to write my first draft. There are a lot of things I can write about, I have been in that situation several times. I’m inclined to write about when I came to the UK, but I could also write about my experience with depression and anxiety. I’ve not decided yet, but I’m leaning more towards the move to a different country. I’ve not written enough about it and I have a lot to say.

Easter Sunday

Yesterday, we stayed in bed until late, I did my 10 minutes workout before shower and breakfast, than we went for our walk while Romina made lunch. Phil made dessert before breakfast, while I was getting ready. We had a lovely meal and a good game of Monopoly, this time Lucas and Phil were the last two standing while Romina was the first one to go bankrupt.

We made video calls to everyone we normally have Easter Sunday meal with and it was lovely. The only person I couldn’t get hold of was Teresa, but I had spoken to her earlier on the phone. It was such a nice day, the food was so nice. I’m starting to question myself whether we are eating better since we are in lockdown or whether we are enjoying it more because we have less distractions in our lives. It just feels like every meal is a celebration. Like our senses got sharper.

After the game, Phil and I watched Paddington and Paddington 2 back to back, with a little bit of Country File in the middle to get the weather forecast for the week. I love the Paddington films, they’re such feelgood films and I thought, they were perfect for Easter Sunday, specially in these circumstances. I also worked on my crochet blanket while watching TV, it’s getting very big and I’m sure I will have it finished by the end of this week.

I went to bed feeling quite positive and content, but more often now I feel a cloud of worry and anxiety coming over my head. So far I have managed to dissolve it quickly.

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – Day 17

UK Cases: 29, 474 – Death Toll: 2, 352

Day 17 was the worst day so far. In the morning, I was in agony with wrist pain and had to take some paracetamol, which I only do as a last resort. I was feeling tired and under the weather as well, so I decided to take the tablets before it got worse, and they helped.

Board Games

My first action of the day was to place an online order for Monopoly and Uno. At the moment, we only have one board game at home – 8 out of 10 Cats – and two quizzes, so I thought I’d get some new ones before boredom sets in. I ordered them from Argos to collect in store later. I also ordered some compost to start going in the garden next week when the weather promises to be kinder for outdoor activities. And while I was in the shopping mood I also ordered Romina’s birthday present. Her birthday is only on the 15th, but it’s bad enough that we’ll be in without the chance to celebrate with friends and family, so I decided to get it sooner than later.

Reality Check

So, around 4 pm, I received a message that my order was ready to collect and Phil and I went to collect it. Because our local Argos is inside our local Sainsbury’s, we decided to do some food shopping while we were out, saving him from going out again. It was the first time I was out in shops for two and a half weeks and I would like to say it felt good. But it didn’t. We timed it well as there wasn’t a queue and we went straight in; there was a long queue outside when we finished. While going around the supermarket aisles, I felt so inadequate, like I didn’t know what I was doing and I shouldn’t be there. Almost like a criminal. I felt guilty just for browsing around, and if I picked up an item and put it back, I expected the police to be on me and knock me down on the floor to handcuff me. This is a kind of anxiety I’ve not experienced for years, not since before I started therapy for depression and anxiety. It was so strange. Plus, it was the fact that the shelves were almost empty, some areas were completely stripped; not one tin of beans on site, no long life milk, hardly any cleaning stuff, the freezers were almost empty. A lot of the things we usually buy weren’t available. There weren’t many customers inside and we were all mindful of social distancing, but there would be someone who would just violate your safe space without a second thought here and there.

This experience was my first face to face encounter with reality, with what we are living at the moment. I was still shaken when I got home. I felt like I’d committed a crime and got away with it, but wasn’t yet out of the woods. I am so privileged to have a nice home to stay in protected, in an area where we can go for nice walks, a lovely family to spend my time with, a dog to make me feel like a queen and a lot of activities to keep me sane and entertained; it’s easy to forget what is really going on in the world. I am so grateful!

This is all for today and I’d love to hear back from someone who reads this, let me know if you have experienced anything like this.

Stay safe at home!

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.