The Inevitable lockdown post

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It’s pretty inevitable – the post about how you’re doing during Lockdown. What have you been able to do more of? What are you missing? What will you continue to do after the world opens up again?

So – let’s keep it short and not too reflective…

Biggest challenges?

For me, being at home with my family 24/7 has been pretty tough alongside continuing to work at an increased pace. Demand for digital work has increased and the need for lunch, tea and teaching has been a big pull on my time. So two jobs – only one me.

I guess the role conflict that normally exists as a working parent got magnified. Also, I’ve realised that although I quite like teaching my child at home, I don’t know the syllabus as well as I thought. How do you teach grammar or division? These are things I know and can do, but that’s not the same as being able to teach them to someone else!

Also, being in the same space with same people can be stressful. Much as you love your other half and offspring, you start to notice those little things that you usually brush aside when they happen ten times a day. So – I’ve learned how important it is to still get out of the house – take an extra walk sometimes or stand in the queue for the shops. You need breaks (and I expect they need breaks from me – right!?!).

Biggest opportunities?

Exercise. Daily walks, Yoga, doing some weights in the garage. It’s been a good trade off against not driving to work (or, really driving anywhere for a while). As a family we’ve been out so much more and enjoyed the outside world.

I’m also very grateful for the weather – thank goodness it didn’t rain every day in March or April as it so often does. Being able to stick certain members of the family outside in a sun-shelter with some entertainment and a drink has really helped. I think the outdoors has a calming effect too.

Other wins have included DIY. I have got much more done in terms of painting and fixing up the house than I would have done travelling to work every day. I’ve even passed on a few skills to younger members of the household. They’ve hopefully learned a few useful things.

And What Else?

OK – also reading. I’ve ready a couple of great books including “Save the cat!” by Blake Snyder and “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell. I read quite a bit of non-fiction these days, as long as it’s written in a light and not too academic style.

Save the Cat! has an amazing analysis of what makes a good film and how film scripts are constructed. If you like writing and learning about good content, it’s definitely worth a read.

Malcolm Gladwell books are an acquired taste – but if you like social science around behaviour, linked to some good research and some amazing insights, he’s a good author to look into. BLINK is also a great book and The Tipping Point is highly recommended.

Really enjoyed some podcast time too – it’s a good way to escape and fairly low effort if you’re tired but not ready to shut down yet. I find Adam Buxton’s interview podcast pretty entertaining and uplifting. It’s light, an entertaining ‘ramble chat’ and he puts in some great musical interludes. It’s funny and he’s a likeable chap and has similar challenges going on in his life.

First thing I will do – when it’s over?

Takeaway coffee – a nice drink carefully made by someone else is one of my luxuries that I’ve really missed. Coffee is like a treat, a little reward in life. We get so used to it. Making it at home is fine but it’s not quite the same. I will treasure it more when it’s available again and perhaps drink it more mindfully. I guess it’s a symbol of meeting and good conversation too. I don’t ‘go for a coffee’ with just anybody! 🙂

I’ve also really missed swimming – that lovely feeling when you’re face down in a pool and gliding along stretched out, when you can’t hear anything. I don’t know why but things like that just haven’t been possible and stick in my mind. It’s an experience you can’t really replicate – even in the bath.

Finally – it’s no surprise I’ve missed people. Little groups like the gang that goes to a Yoga class that I sometimes speak too. Friends at work that I go for a walk with at lunchtime. Friends I occasionally meet at the pub. You have your own little world or society you see each week and talking on messenger applications or video conf is just not the same. That social structure is what makes your life. It defines it. Like many things, you don’t notice till it’s gone.

That’s it – inevitable cliche post done. Hope you’ve written yours too?

Let’s hope the world recovers from Lockdown and maybe learns a few lessons from it. Maybe we can continue to drive less, exercise more and spend ‘some’ time with family. Yeah – some. Hey – anyone fancy a coffee?

Photo credit:

Thanks to Mark Claus on Unsplash for the photo.