Firstly, a couple of important points:
- Apologies for yet more references to the dreaded ‘C’ word but I felt compelled to write about this right now.
- I sincerely hope this doesn’t come across as one of those ‘you must use your newfound time wisely by doing this, this and this’ posts. Some of the later content will cover what I’d like to do with my time over the coming weeks / months but let’s be honest – as someone who is always hideously optimistic when it comes to writing to-do lists, I am well aware that the likelihood is that I’ll be lucky to achieve just 25% of this. However, I need to strive toward something and that’s what I’ll be detailing here.
Now that’s out of the way, onto the post. I, like pretty much the rest of the planet, am now firmly ensconced in what will no doubt be considered the craziest time of my life. I’ve written previously about anxiety, though I’m not experiencing that right now and I doubt I will any time soon as it is usually caused at certain times when I’m around other people. I’ve also written previously about suffering from a lack of self-confidence, though I’m not experiencing that right now either and I doubt I will any time soon as it usually manifests itself when I’m in the company of others, rather than in the safe, warm and comforting confines of my own home.
So why write a post on this? Well, basically, I need to do something to keep my sanity intact over the coming weeks / months and I’m pretty certain the essential start-point for that is to create a daily routine (certainly a weekday routine). You see, the first week or two of what is essentially a lockdown hasn’t gone well in that regard. I’m fortunate in that I can carry out the vast majority of my ‘day-job’ from home. However, important parts of the daily routine have gone, such as the 5:20 alarm call, replaced instead by a 6:20 alarm call to ensure I can start my working day as normal at 7am. The majority of you may be thinking that this is a huge bonus, though I’m not seeing it that way. This has certainly removed discipline from my routine. Previously, I went to bed at a reasonable time. Now, I’m going to bed later – certainly later than I should be. I’m also drinking too much. Nothing excessive but knowing I don’t have to be up early and commuting means a beer or two, or a glass or two of wine, are fair game and easier to take in than they were previously. Unfortunately, I’m now in what I will call a Christmas holiday frame-of-mind, in that I’ve done this just about every night for the past week or so and that simply has to stop.
Additionally, my weight-loss objectives have gone to the wall. I’m eating more junk, primarily due to the drinking. I haven’t stuck to the 16:8 fasting regime which was previously working so well for me. I’ve been doing a modicum of exercise at best. All that amounts to a potentially really bad situation if it continues and the only thing I can do to combat it is to stick to a routine. That means starting the fasting again during the week, which, for me, means not eating or taking in sugar between 6pm and 10am. Of course, that means no alcohol either, which can only be a good thing. I tend to finish work at 4pm most days, which gives me an hour or so to exercise before we eat. I’ve always preferred starting work early anyway so maintaining the morning alarm isn’t an issue, though I may get up half an hour earlier to have some ‘me time’ before starting work each day. I need the rigidity of a routine such as this to ensure I don’t continue my current bad habits and end up as a 20-stone borderline alcoholic by the time this is over. I don’t even wish to consider what such a scenario would do for my state of mind…
We will all clearly do what we feel is right to get us through this scarcely-believable situation. I’m quite often my own worst enemy for putting undue pressure on myself by having ridiculously lengthy to-do lists but I really do feel this is an opportunity to plough through the current list. Some of the things I’d like to do over the coming weeks include:
Revisit old photos
Going through old photos is always a delight and, thankfully, it’s something my daughter really seems to enjoy doing too. So, I’m going to set up some new albums on my Amazon photos account (to allow us to view them on our TV) as well as digging out some really old albums. It is easy to forget just how much of a pick-me-up this can be during troubled times.
I have enough books (hard copy and e-books) to see me through the rest of my life but this is a great opportunity to get stuck into the ‘must read’ titles I’ve been considering of late. Whilst it’s vitally important to stay informed with current affairs right now, sometimes we just need to turn off the TV or radio and have a bit of an escape. For me, there’s no better way of doing that then losing myself in a really good book.
I stopped a number of magazine subscriptions a good few years ago as I was struggling finding the time to read them and the back issues were piling up. This seems an appropriate time to delve back into some of my favourites, especially as I can access most of them for free via my local library membership. If you’re local (i.e. within Greater Manchester) and are a member of a local library, you’ll be able to register with RB Digital (www.rbdigital.com), a digital media platform providing access to electronic versions of a wide range of titles. I’m sure it also applies to other areas. If not, there will be equivalent schemes elsewhere. I intend catching up with the likes of Empire, SFX, Men’s Health, Time, BBC Good Food, Viz (!) and others.
Catch-up with TV shows / box-sets / movies
I have a huge amount to watch, including recorded shows from terrestrial TV, Netflix and Amazon Prime recommendations, or blu-ray box-sets that have been sat on a shelf for ages. The difficulty will be in determining what to watch first, though I’ll no doubt need to choose something family-friendly…
Guitar practice / perfect tones
Given that Lux Bay are on a hiatus until the summer (probably longer in the current climate…), I’ve neglected my guitar playing for the past few months. This is an ideal time to learn some new songs, perfect my amp and pedal sounds, and try writing some songs. It’s very easy to lose an entire evening when I plug in and play…
If I’ve neglected guitar practice of late, it’s nothing compared to my keyboard, which is probably covered in a layer of dust thicker than Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Seemingly no better time to give it a clean and learn Hey Jude, Your Song, New York State of Mind, and The Birdie Song…
As mentioned earlier, this is vital. I simply have to find time to exercise on a daily basis, no matter how little or long I spend doing it. Perhaps the most important entry on this list and I currently have 4pm-5pm scheduled each day to address this. There can be no deviation from that.
Develop Yes, You Can Do It
I’ve been reluctant to previously progress this as my intention was always to determine if my posts would be of interest to anyone and resonate with people. Feedback to date suggests that is the case and it now seems like an appropriate time to try expanding the reach of YYCDI by making connections to like-minded writers / blogs / social media pages etc., starting with an Instagram account producing slightly different content to the blog (i.e. more visual than word-based).
Play with the dog more
I saw a social media post the other day suggesting that the biggest beneficiaries of this current situation will be our pets as they may not be used to having human interaction so frequently in the home. What a time to just enjoy throwing some dog toys around the house for an hour or so! It’s easy to forget that we are absolutely everything to our pets – why not spoil them a little more than usual?
That book on how to win any quiz. The beginners guide to podcasts. The supernatural short-story compilation for kids. The witty rom-com idea. The compilation of gritty, kitchen-sink stories rooted in everyday life. All ideas I have noted down in a book and all ideas which I’ll still be thinking about when all this is over…
Work on the garden
A somewhat dull entry but an essential one, given that our back garden really needs an overhaul. It may only be small but the certain pain that this will bring means it will be nudged further down my list of priorities.
Also known as ‘the desperately trying to entice a 13yr-old away from her phone and tablet’ entry. Not a task to take lightly but, as a family, we always enjoy it when we make the effort to revisit some favourite board-games or fire up the Wii for the first time in ages.
Sleep / laze / chill
I used to be the type of person who thought that 6hrs sleep per night was perfectly acceptable but not anymore. Perhaps a sign of aging but I need at least 7hrs to function properly and this is the perfect opportunity to achieve that with some consistency, especially whilst not having to spend an hour and a half per day commuting. These days I wholly appreciate the need to get lengthy and good quality sleep and this is the time to normalise that habit.
Listen to new music / create new playlists
By far and away the easiest entry on this list to address. Those who know me know how much I love music and I’m always keen to hear new artists and create new playlists. I could honestly spend days doing this and will likely do so whilst isolated.
So, there you have it. A condensed version of selected entries from my main to-do list, which I’ll be looking to address over the next month or two. Of course, as previously stated, I won’t get anywhere near to addressing all of the above, though I’ll be giving it a damned good try. We all find ourselves in a seriously severe and worrying situation right now and, whilst not wishing to ignore that, it’s vitally important that we try to find the positives wherever possible. Whatever you do to cope, even if it is simply sleeping more and watching more TV than normal, try to consider it as a positive to take from a troubling time. The majority of us will come out of this unscathed, certainly health-wise, so make sure you do what you need to in order to keep your mental health in a good state.
Thanks for reading, stay calm and, as always (not just during an unprecedented pandemic…), take care.