What a Difference a Week makes
Over the past 5 weeks my lifestyle has changed completely, as it has for many others with the necessary imposed lockdown. My regular work travel has ceased and I have found myself at home, on my own for the longest time since I had my daughter 24 years ago. It's been quiet. I have finally learned to chill the f**k out.
When you are chugging along at a regular pace, it's quite easy to become blind as to how toxic your daily / weekly routine is becoming to your body and your mental health. Advice from friends and those on the outer perimeters of your social circle can spot it really easily, but while you are running on the treadmill of work and busy-ness, its not always easy to reach the controls.
With this new found time on my hands, I initially got transfixed with watching the news each day for an hour or two. I started building up internal fear from everything outside, got freaked out when the lights kept going off out the back yard and saw everyone around me as a germ incubator.
The front door had started to become a source of unrest as I was getting really scared about leaving the house. I shopped for Mum and walked between hers and mine, then headed back as quickly as possible. I opened the door for parcels, but I didn't want to get outside for fear of getting ill and becoming unable to help Mum. I knew this wasn't healthy and I needed to change before it truly became 'a thing'.
I have managed this growing fear of the outside after sound words of encouragement from friends and family and resolved to get back out on my bike and give the outdoors a try, .. 3 rides later and yesterday I used my full hour of allowed outdoor exercise and completed a 22km ride. It's a rational fear but very necessary not to get trapped indoors at this time. I am still really anxious about going to the supermarket, but there's an internal resilience growing and seeing others also out cycling, walking and running is making me realise that it's probably safe to do this, as long as we all give ourselves enough distance.
Ultimately its really enjoyable too! I have been building confidence since my crash and when I hit 50kmph on a downhill yesterday afternoon, I had a little giggle, followed by a moment of 'oh F**k!", then a warm fuzzy feeling, like the moment that you finally nailed that ramp on your first BMX track.. yeah? no? only me? Oh well - I'm sure you know that feeling you had as a kid, when you tried to be brave in front of bigger kids and you finally realised you were capable of standing your ground.
So while we are trying to unpack our feelings week-to-week, I would urge you to get outdoors, if you are able to get some fresh air. It's easy to get trapped by your own rumination after watching the News every day. I have turned the news off this past week. I check in to articles online when I feel ready, but I have ditched the 2 hour BBC anxiety inducing Breakfast news. I am concentrating on eating well and cooking healthy meals, plus daily bodyweight and weight training at home and resolving not to wake up with an alarm. Simple things I have neglected in recent years.
As we head into week 6, I am going to start posting more recipes, made from cupboard basics, as well as planning 3 rides a week, while the roads are nice and quiet and the sun is bright. If you are finding it hard to leave the house and you are able to do so, without assistance, perhaps try an initial roam around the block. Either on wheels or in sneakers.. just to reconnect for a while xx
For support on how to look after your mental health during the COVID-19 lockdown, please check out the information from Mind, the Mental Heath Charity