How to cope with going back into lockdown (and the election)

Mon 2 – Sun 8 Nov 2020

So we went back into lockdown from Thursday and lived through the torture (and relief?) of the US presidential elections. How are we all going to deal with lockdown again? I’ve got some plans for myself. Feel free to adopt if you think they will work for you. And feel free to share how you are coping with lockdown 2.0.

It’s going to be easier and we learnt from the first one

Let’s be honest, this lockdown is going to be very different from first one simply because we know what to expect now. We don’t have the panic of the first one – have I got a temperature, is that a dry cough, etc? And there are some key differences such as coffee shops open for take-away. Plus don’t forget that lockdown 1.0 lasted over 3 months.

I am using going back into lockdown as a bit of a personal reset – deepening the things that I discovered I enjoyed doing in the first lockdown and since being made redundant. πŸ™‚

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

Harvey Fierstein

Patience is crucial, nothing lasts forever

We are also living through the US presidential election. I do enjoy a good election. Didn’t bother staying up into Wed morning. I have stayed up for so many elections during my life and it wasn’t worth it. American ones especially can take ages to be resolved. I remember 2000 – the toing and froing around Florida. Declared for Al Gore (hooray!) then pulled then the recount went on for weeks. How different history could have been if Gore had won. πŸ™

Nice American arse

Glad I didn’t stay up. Though I have been guilty of looking for updates online since election day. Primarily getting info from CNN and Fox News, much better than the BBC. And now Biden / Harris have won. πŸ™‚ But will Trump go quietly into the night? I will only believe it is over when Biden is sitting in the Oval Office.

My suggestion would be that the thing to take from all this is patience. Things happen and we don’t know how they will end. As well as acknowledging that ultimately nothing lasts forever. True for lockdown, for this wretched pandemic, and for all politicians good and bad.

Two very useful articles about going back into lockdown

Came across a couple of great articles last week about how to cope with going back into lockdown. Indeed, it’s worth considering that this may not be the last lockdown and further ones could come in even worse times such as the start of 2021 with freezing weather and very short days. πŸ™

The two articles are What South Pole scientists can teach us about surviving a long, dark COVID-19 winter and Covid: How to survive a winter lockdown, from those who’ve done it. Both definitely worth a read. πŸ™‚

Health and Efficiency

Weight

lose weight now

First lockdown, I went up from 13 stone 3 pounds to 13 stone 11 pounds – disaster. πŸ™ Back into lockdown and I am determined to focus on losing weight. Mentioned last week about trying to eat bigger lunch and smaller tea. Still trying to see if this helps. But I am also trying to eat less generally especially in the evenings.

Jog-run

First lockdown was about learning to live without my beloved gym. I tried to do more frequent jog-runs but it aggravated muscles and joints. My plan for going back into lockdown is to do a c.3.5 km jog-run every other day. Also doing it mid-morning once my body warmed up rather than on waking up to avoid being seen. There’s a lesson here – do what is right for you and don’t worry about what others think. πŸ™‚ This is all dependent on my injuries not being a problem – basically so long as my knees hold up.

man busy jogging

Last week did two shorter, mid-morning jog-runs. Wed I did 3.33 km; it was a little bit hard work with a slightly slower pace of 6.22 mins per km. Then on Fri I did 3.5 km. It felt really good with a very pleasing 6.08 pace. πŸ™‚ I am noting that after even a short jog-run, my metabolism is raised for the rest of day and more calories burnt than normal. Also doing it mid-morning means I skip breakfast which is a significant daily calorie saving in itself.

TBH had planned to do another short jog-run on Sun as I wanted to get 3 done in one week. But I think it’s too early to do the jog-run on consecutive days. Gonna enjoy the weekend break and out again on Mon.

Walking and the value of regular exercise

A big feature of the first lockdown was taking regular daily walks for exercise. Pretty key when we were told to stay indoors as much as possible and only go out for one hour. Going back into lockdown, we are being encouraged to get out in the fresh air but without mixing. I really enjoy my walks and they are something I am going to keep doing.

Give a fuck - do yoga

It is so important to cope generally by having regular exercise patterns. OK no gyms and lots of other exercise not possible at the moment. But still walking, jogging, cycling, etc. I’m also trying out a free app with indoor exercises for stretching and flexibility. πŸ™‚

Sleep

Learnt during first lockdown and after being made redundant the importance of having sleep when you need it. Not keeping to sleep patterns that fits the ‘normal’ 9-5 Mon-Fri routine including commuting. I am not setting my alarm and waking naturally. With darker mornings, that does mean waking later but so what? I am also having guilt-free afternoon naps as well as late nights reading and watching TV if I want to. πŸ™‚

Personal Development

Back into lockdown and I am concentrating on 3 main things.

First, in lockdown 1.0 I learnt how much I enjoy improving my foreign language skills and that is definitely staying. Indeed, big news last week – I achieved the ‘100 day challenge’ – using the Duolingo app to improve my language abilities consecutively for 100 days! No stopping me now and I also have a daily habit of using Drops specifically to improve my German. Up to a 29 day streak on that. πŸ™‚

Second, I am going to continue to look for new work and think about the future. Remember at the start of the first lockdown I was still employed and didn’t know I would be made redundant. Different now but I have the opportunity to lay the foundations for a better future. The future is mine to create. πŸ™‚

Coffee computer pen+paper

Third, going back into lockdown, I think it’s important for us all to do something creative and expressive. I enjoy writing – witness how I create content with my blog. And I enjoy reading fiction so it makes sense for me to try my hand at writing a novel.

I have been doing this since first lockdown and am up to 78,000 words – my target is 100,000. Will it ever get published, who knows? It’s that thing about enjoying the journey as much as getting to the destination. πŸ™‚

Books and Reading

Enjoy reading but missed the Velvet Page

I have always been a prodigious reader though I would like to do more. Back into lockdown and without the ‘distractions’ of work this time, I can focus on doing tons of lovely reading. One of the main things I take from reading is how it helps me to look at life in different ways (witness last week’s magazine-blog here).

Did have a bit of a screw-up on Thurs when I missed the monthly LGBTQ+ Velvet Page book club. Main issue was that I hadn’t read the book (Quentin Crisp’s classic ‘The Naked Civil Servant’). I have it but I just couldn’t find it. πŸ™ I think our next one is the December social where we don’t have a book to discuss but just talk about anything. πŸ™‚

Current reading books

Still getting through ‘Staring at the sun’ – the book about death anxiety (read about its influence on me here). Had planned to finish it last week but been distracted by the novel I am concurrently reading.

‘We are not ourselves’ by Matthew Thomas is a long book. About 620 pages and a first novel that took 10 years to write. Another ‘great American novel’ – the history of a family; their ups and downs over the years as they try to live up to the American dream. Reminds me of the brilliant ‘Rabbit’ novels by John Updike.

My intention is to finish both books this coming week and write more fully about them in next week’s blog.

Family and Friends

Mum and Dave

My co-conspirators as we go back into lockdown. How are they going to cope? Mum is going to be kept as safe as possible though she will have to go out sometimes to retain her sanity. Her way of dealing with the second lockdown is by speaking to her friends on the phone, watching TV, and reading. She’s upset that her local library didn’t re-open after the first lockdown but I’ve managed to find her some books that hopefully will keep her entertained.

Dave is still getting some paid work which keeps him busy. He is also coping with going back into lockdown by looking after his balconies and baking. I know he would love a garden – remember how useful they were in the first lockdown? Not sure he will ever have one unless he moves out of London. He did hire a car on Tues and went to a big garden centre in the countryside which made him very happy. πŸ™‚

Friends

No major contact with friends before lockdown started. And going back into lockdown means back to just contact online. I’m not working so I should have more time to talk to friends.

Be happy about nice things

Something lovely happened on Friday and coping is about appreciating good things. I got a present from my old team – book tokens (my favourite!). I was so chuffed; I really miss them. Contacted them to say thanks and check they are doing OK. πŸ™‚

Art and Culture

So all the galleries and museums have closed now we’ve gone back into lockdown. Oh well, it’s only four weeks and things can wait. Does mean that my main cultural burst will come via the internet and TV.

Trash TV and box sets

Loads of good TV – sure it’s not a coincidence with the lockdown return. At least this time we won’t run out of soaps. And we all have guilty pleasures that have got and will get us through lockdown – enjoy that trash TV and those box sets! One of my guilty pleasures is the trashy lunchtime soap ‘Doctors’ which has started again. πŸ™‚

Film: ‘Agnes by Varda’

Finished watching this French film referred to in last week’s blog. Another aim with back into lockdown is to try to watch more online cinema. This film is a lovely documentary in itself and an assistance to improving my French.

It is the personal reflections of the celebrated female film-maker Agnes Varda. A key figure in the rise of French new wave cinema who I didn’t really know much about. A lovely study of a good life. Plus a film that makes you consider how things are portrayed and how they are seen. More details on her life here (Wikipedia is a fantastic open resource – please consider giving it a donation if you can πŸ™‚ ).

Sustainability

Live frugally

I’ve always been into sustainability but at the start of the first lockdown I was working and money wasn’t tight. Now I am now trying to spend as little as possible; living frugally because I have to and to help the planet by consuming less.

Stay connected to nature

First lockdown made us all more aware of the importance and beauty of the natural world. I want to keep that going back into lockdown. Even if it’s just enjoying a dry day that’s not too cold, seeing the birds, or being amazed by cloud formations. πŸ™‚

I am also trying to take care of the plants accrued since the first lockdown – some are doing well and some have died. πŸ™

Paid a farewell visit to my favourite charity shop before the second lockdown started. They have a flower bed outside which Dave planted up and watered in the first lockdown. Made the shop look nice during a difficult time for the people who went past it. We’ve promised as we go back into lockdown that we will water it regularly to ensure it stays nice for post-lockdown. πŸ™‚

The Week Ahead

  • First proper week back into lockdown. Chill and enjoy – that’s my plan. πŸ™‚
  • Suspect the election tension ain’t over yet. Trump’s still got to complete the stages of loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
  • Plan is to keep my food intake under control and do 3 short jog-runs on Mon, Wed, and Sat though does depend a bit on the weather
  • Daily walks and sleeps when I want them πŸ™‚
  • Back to the doc’s for the regular check on my blood clotting levels
  • Plan to finish my two current books and start some new ones
  • Must catch up with friends. Be fun to find out what is happening with Phyllis in Spain.
  • Looking forward to spending my book tokens
  • Guilt free cinema and trash TV / box sets
  • Living frugally should be easy as long as I don’t go crazy online

And Finally…

back into lockdown

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