Monday 12 April 2021

How I've changed over the last year

I've recently read lots of articles marking one year since the start of lockdown in the UK on the 23rd March 2020. I don't think any of us imagined that we'd still be in almost the same place a whole year later! But with things hopefully moving in the right direction I thought that it wouldn't hurt to pause for a moment and think about all the ways that I've changed over the last year.

I'm more aware of my anxiety. I've always been anxious about things, but not to an extent that it interfered too much with my daily life. But at certain times over the last year I noticed physical anxiety symptoms, in particular a racing heartbeat, which I had never experienced before. Luckily that was just a temporary thing, and in fact many of my usual sources of anxiety were removed this year, for example the school run!

My meal planning has improved now that I no longer pop to the supermarket every other day for quick top ups. I have meals ready that I can make from store cupboard basics, and I've become used to planning meals in advance and buying everything at once. I haven't stockpiled, but I am careful to make sure that we have a good amount of long life food in the house, and always enough to make several days worth of food (essentially that means plenty of pasta, tomato sauce and frozen veg!)

I am very familiar with the local walking and running routes. Possibly a little too over familiar with the streets around my house.

Children on the beach at a 2m distance

I read a lot more. The short walk to my local library has become a big part of my routine, and the fact that I can currently reserve any book that I want to read for free has been brilliant.

I'm used to a lack of social contact. I used to think that I felt lonely when Ram went away for work and I didn't speak to any other adults for several days at a time. Now it's the norm!

I'm more aware of my home surroundings because I always at home. This isn't always a good thing, because mess bothers me, and sometimes it feels as though I'm constantly tidying up after everyone.

The children are more independent. Thanks to becoming used to doing their school work in their rooms they now spend more time there whereas in the past they tended to follow me around the house. This is part of growing up as well of course, but I always felt they were a bit too stuck to me so it's nice to have some space, especially when I need to work.

I spend more time in the garden. I've been very appreciative of our garden over the last year. It's not fancy but it's a good size and we have some comfortable garden furniture. I don't remember much really sitting out there for pleasure before.

Vegetable patch in garden with lavender

Screen time has become more productive. With more time at home to fill the children have turned to their screens, but they've also been using them in ways that I feel are beneficial. Harry has been teaching himself coding in Python, and learning how to solve Rubik's cubes. Mia plays games but it's a way for her to socialise and she has also started creating short videos for a YouTube channel with her friends. 

I use social media less. Over the summer I was on my phone far too much and it wasn't good for my mental health so I made a big effort to cut back. A key thing was to unfollow many accounts on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, and then to make an effort to flag up content that wasn't relevant or didn't interest me. This means that when I do log in I find the content more relevant, and it's also quicker to go through.

I've lost weight and become fitter. I did put on weight during the first lockdown, from stress, boredom and excess summer eating. But over the last six months I have cut back and increased the exercise, with the result that I'm currently really happy with my weight and fitness levels. I also feel motivated to keep it up going forwards.

Exercise equipment in a basket

I'm used to sharing the house. It was difficult at first with Ram at home all day, especially as he was usually away for a night or two every week. Then of course the children have been at home for the majority of the last year. But I've become used to it and I can hardly remember what it was like before. I've also come to appreciate having everyone around (even if I do long for some space sometimes!)

I am very grateful for the fact that this last year hasn't been nearly as difficult for me and my family as it has for many others. But it has been an unsettling year full of changes, and I know that it's going to take a while for things to get back to something resembling normality. I think that I've definitely made some positive changes, and while anxiety remains that things might fall apart again I'm hopeful for the future.

1 comment:

  1. I love this Jennifer and I think I can identify with some of them too. I have found I've slipped a bit where I found lockdown 3 really tough in those winter months but other aspects of isolation I've come to quite like and appreciate!


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