New year, new lockdown – Here we go again!

So here we are about a week into our third national lockdown – has it started to feel like groundhog day yet? I’ll be honest, my life has changed very little and so I haven’t found this one too difficult yet although I am lucky that I don’t have children to worry about homeschooling and keeping entertained. However, for each lockdown so far I’ve written a post with a few reflections so I thought it was worth continuing. Looking back, it appears that the first lockdown left me feeling a little at a loss, but optimistic about what we might be able to do when it was over. The second lockdown left me feeling concerned about the mental health of others around me and the fact we were going into winter. Third time round, I feel a little indifferent. I think it should happen and I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on much.

Every year January is a tough month and I know for many that this year it will feel even harder. Usually we enter January buoyed up on the festive feelings brought about by Christmas and the New Year, however for many this year celebrations fell a little flat. Typically the new year is the time to start something new or to plan for the year ahead but it’s difficult to get excited about making plans when you don’t know how quickly they will be taken away from you. January can be cold, grey and dark and for many people it will feel even more so when you’re stuck at home.

Let’s hibernate instead

I’ve seen a few people referring to the concept of hibernation rather than being locked down and I have to say, I quite like it. Even though we were only allowed out for a maximum of an hour a day in April, I still felt guilty sitting down to watch a film when the sun was shining bright outside. In winter, there’s no need to feel such guilt. Watch as many films as you like, eat stodgy comfort food, get wrapped up in blankets or spend your days wearing a onesie. Let’s embrace the fact we’re going to spend this winter indoors and make it work for us. How many January’s have been and gone when you wished you might be able to hibernate? Well now you can.

It was my birthday last week and I got lots of messages from people saying things like ‘hope you are able to do something fun still’ or ‘hope the day has been ok’, which was kind but I actually had a great birthday. I baked a cake, went out for a walk, spent time reading, had dinner cooked for me by my husband and then finished watching a series on Netflix. It was very relaxed and exactly how I wanted to spend it – it just happened to be a bonus that everything fell inside the current restrictions.

Not much has changed

Those feeling the biggest change currently will be people with school-aged children. I’m not naïve enough to think that they are the only people who have experienced change or might be struggling but many of us were living with the realities of tier 3 or 4 restrictions before the lockdown was called. Personally, I was already working from home and pretty much only leaving the house to go for a walk, run or food shopping. We had been on a few walks with friends which now aren’t possible but there has been much less change for me to adapt to than back in March 2020 when it felt like the whole world had changed overnight. I haven’t been to a restaurant, cinema or theatre (or possibly even any form of indoor entertainment) since March last year. I can probably count on my fingers the number of times we’d ventured outside of a twenty mile radius of Bristol since March last year. I’ve stopped feeling bereft about the ‘normal’ things I can’t do because I haven’t done them in such a long time.

We can make things feel different

I joked at the start of this post about it feeling like groundhog day, and I know that’s how a lot of people have described the last ten months. Call me annoying, or too much of an optimist but I still believe we have it in our own power to be able to make each day feel different. It’s hard, and I’ve been stuck in that rut of every day feeling the same but even small changes can make a big difference. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last year it’s to appreciate the small things, and it’s the small things which can stop each day blurring into one. Believe me, even having a toastie instead of a normal sandwich can brighten up a lunch break.

Here are some of the simple things to change how the day feels:

  • Walk a different route – head in the opposite direction for your daily dose of exercise and see somewhere different. Even walking the same route backwards will help you notice things differently.
  • Cook a new recipe – it could be as simple as having a toastie instead of a sandwich but lots of us have recipe books lying round that we never use so try something a bit different. We’ve tried several new recipes so far this year and they’ve all been delicious, which is a good incentive to try more!
  • Light some candles as it gets dark instead of turning the lights on.
  • Shop somewhere different – we went to Asda instead of Tesco and it felt like an adventure. Most supermarkets stock the same products so you might as well switch up your weekly shop.
  • Take a photo of something you’ve enjoyed or has made you happy. Taking a photo forces you to focus on what it might be.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel

It might still feel like a very long tunnel, but this time there is a light at the end of it. Vaccinations are being approved and they are being rolled out. The fact I personally know multiple people who have been vaccinated, and know of several more, gives me some hope that the vaccinations are being rolled out and this could be our key to avoiding further lockdowns. There’s a long journey yet, but this could be the hope we all need to cling onto.

I won’t lie, if this does continue till the end of March then I will find it a lot harder the further into this third lockdown we get. But for now, I’m trying to stay positive, or at least indifferent about it.

How do you feel about the third lockdown?

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