Surviving Quarantine

Well we certainly are living in “strange times”, if I’ve ended a conversation once with “stay safe” I’ve done it a hundred times. suddenly our worlds have become much, much smaller. Mine consists of my house, garden, dog, husband and a woodland circuit.

As a natural introvert who probably spends more time in my own head than anything else, and not being the biggest fan of people, you would think this would be relatively easy. I like a party and a catch up but I also find people draining…often a few hours is enough for me. Now I find myself missing my people, my friends, my work mates, my loved ones. I miss chatting, chatting about nothing in particular. I miss going for a run with a friend, jumping on the train to go into town, walking with family and popping around my mates house for a brew.

Luckily for me I get to spend this period of isolation with my most favourite person and my most favourite dog. The two beings I love most in the world are locked up inside the house with me. Duke has taken to quarantine well…. He likes the extra company and cuddles but I think he is missing the trips to the beach! The dogs of the world are really the winners in all this aren’t they? Suddenly there is a lot more loving all the time.

My wonderful husband I’m sure wouldn’t mind me saying is starting to feel the strain… the boredom. Some one who longs to do nothing all day has had enough of nothing and would quite frankly like to bloody well do something. Something has mostly been the play station. Which has been fine by me because I have found myself bloody sick and tired of the tele! I watch tele while I work , I’m lucky enough to be working from home, and after 8 hours of murder documentaries and any other crap I can find on Netflix, sky and Disney plus I am well and truly done. So Karl plays on the play station, Me? I retreat to a good audio book. Mostly terry Prachett, Harry Potter and most recently crime thrillers. Thankfully we are the kind of couple who are quite happy to spend time together, so on the whole we haven’t got on each other’s nerves…. Although me deciding to re arrange our bedroom, almost dropping a bookcase through the floor of our house, as well as our kitchen, spare room, dogs room and utility room almost tipped him over the edge I think. He mostly just stays out of the way now. I do like to move furniture around and hammer a few nails in the wall when the feeling takes me. we need to re arrange our minds once in while, for me rearranging my house helps with that. In fact I would say there have been very few squabbles which is a surprise because I would not like to be shut up in a house with me.

Home workouts have become a safe haven from the sedentary monotony of the working day and a good run or a dog walk is a taste of pure freedom. Even if that freedom is tainted with pandemic panic when ever you step out of the house.
How am I surviving the weekends when the long dog walk is the only taste of normality? Learning to use photo shop, scrolling Instagram and listen to my ever-faithful audio books. As well as gently annoying my husband every now and again. There isn’t much to do….. but I’m quite good at finding something to occupy my time… for me “making something” is the key. Weather that’s and edited photo, a blog post a rearranged room or, in fact, a mess I can beaver away quite happily.

The garden has been a blessing. Sitting in the sun and pretending that everything is normal for just a few minutes is a blessing. And the sun has been shinning. I’m not sure if that’s a blessing or a curse. Sometimes it’s one or the other sometimes it’s both. Sometimes I wish I could spend the day outside in the sun, at the beach or in a pub garden. Others I soak up the sun in the garden or with my legs stretched out onto the foot stall to bathe in the sun light that pours through the Livingroom window while I work. Sometime I soak the sun up feeling both resentful and blessed by the good weather. Of course, the day that we had horrible weather was the day that happened to be my birthday. Which we had planned to spend in the garden…. That did not happen, but we did manage a pretty great dog walk in the woods. We have had some good dog walks I must say. Although I miss the beach, I miss sand, sea, shells and a good proper sea breeze.

I’m not planning anything pre lock down at the moment, nothing in particular. There has been vague suggestions of what we will do, what it would be nice to do “when it’s all over” but I don’t want my heart to get to invested on a particular date, or to be too preoccupied with forward planning . I don’t want to feel let down by the universe when we can’t execute our plans because its not quite over yet.
I’ve been phoning family and friends, chatting aimlessly as much as I can. Imagining the conversation is happening over a cup of coffee or glass of wine. There are various group chats to keep in contact and send photos, mostly of dogs. I worry for my family endlessly, like most of us are doing in these “strange times”, but I’m at peace with that. I can’t change the fact I will worry, but I can ask them how they are. We are lucky to be living in a time where we have so much technology and so many ways of keeping in contact. And even luckier that sometimes we can turn these off when headspace is required.

The one thing I have not been worried about is comparing myself to others. From the start I have a very firm belief; My lock down is not your lock down. I’m not comparing myself to anyone… I’m acutely aware I’m still working fulltime, and I still have life to be getting on with. So no I haven’t re landscaped the garden or redecorated the house (well not the whole of it). I’m not on holiday, there are still ordinary life things to do… and yes I have a little more time on my hands but it doesn’t mean I HAVE to do all the ironing or learn to use ticktok or in fact cook meals. Yes, you read that right. I’ve stopped cooking meals… because even with all the extra time we have after a busy day of avoiding boredom and some extra snacking neither of us feel like a cooked meal. So I’ve just stopped doing it We are eating well …. Just not cooked food… I’ve baked no masterpieces and I haven’t distilled my own gin (although that might be something to try?). I’ve made my peace with the fact that my lock down activities are very different from other peoples. Some days are for being busy and productive and other days are for napping, drinking tea and messing around on photoshop until I have made myself in to a witch. I’ve enjoyed seeing other people’s productivity… seeing what skills people have been learning, seeing what people are up to but – no comparisons needed.

My weight is becoming a concern. I miss running, swimming and the gym. I’m missing spinning with my mum and walking. I have been worrying about my fitness but I’ve been trying to not focus on it. I’ve been trying to keep active without being obsessive. I’ve discovered some pretty exciting workouts and discovered a love of step box workouts (without the jazz hands and clapping) and rediscovered my love of yoga! I think my neigbours are concerned Ive gone mad jumping around the garden like an excited, and sweaty, child.

Like many people I’m trying to be grateful. To focus on the moments that are brilliant, the good things that are making each day a little bit better….. but I’m also letting myself moan. Because sometime we need to vent. Luckily my mum, best friend and dog are happy to listen to me vent and to vent in return… well the dog doesn’t vent. Unless its about the post man… and even then, he mostly says woof.

I’ve stopped obsessing over the news….. I’ve given myself half an hour of news watching and news site surfing and stopped obsessing about the reports, news items and articles. And now and again I listen to the Guardians podcast which is corona focused at the moment. There definitely is so such thing as being too in the know.

When all else fails …. When the lock down feels un survivable I cuddle up to my husband or dog and take a nap.

How are you getting through these bizarre times ?

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