I hope you are all holding up play through these strange times? How is it for you? Are you enjoying lockdown measures for the slow pace and solitude within your home or are you finding this new way of life a little difficult to navigate?
Things have certainly been a juggle here at times. I work in community pharmacy as well as running Pens and whilst I can hand on heart say that not a single order has gone out later than 3 days past its initial dispatch date, (and even then that was a one-off supply issue), I honestly can't remember being able to relax fully as there always seems to be something to do. My other job is fast paced and can be challenging. We see a lot of angry, sad, scared and desperate people and that can feel all-consuming and frustrating at times when really your main goal is to help people.
Our hallway at home has been half painted for months, we have a 5-year-old to entertain, my online shop has been the busiest that it has ever been (thank you so much) and in order to process orders I have been getting up at 5 am to get some time alone to print and package before my son gets up or I have to leave for work. I have approximately 1 billion new ideas that I can't wait to paint but by the time I get my son to bed and sit down to paint, I am exhausted. I have tried my usual tactic which is to immerse myself in nature when I can but the calm it brings has been short lived. There is so much to do that I don't know where to begin. I am sure there are many others who are in similar situations. Something needed to give.......
Not even nature alone could help me this time!
So the week before last I decided to make a change. I spoke to my support network online and said how I felt out loud. I think too often we hold it all in and put on that 'brave face' but as soon as I had told people how I felt I had felt a weight lift. I also felt like telling people how I was feeling held me more accountable to do something to break the cycle of how I was feeling.
I thought about the things that frustrated me the most. The half finished hallway was up there on that list. I decided to restart the hallway all over. I consulted with my partner and son and picked 2 cheerful colours and am currently halfway through. I aim to complete it before the weekend after next. I also decided to take some time off from Pharmacy work. A few days here and there over a 2 week period so I can get back on track with housework and spend some time with my son and partner. I really do like my job...I have worked in healthcare in one way or another for 15 years but Covid-19 has made things so much more relentless that when busy periods usually come and go they have just stayed for the last 7 months with no let-up and most of us are feeling the pull to take some time off to recharge/focus on home life.
I also unashamedly let my son have free reign of YouTube (supervised as I worked from my desk beside the TV) so I could get every single order processed and ready to post tomorrow. We do try to limit screen time at home but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and a 2 hour and 40 minute stint in front of the screen for my son means that we get hours and hours to go out and play for the remainder of the week.
I have had a few really early nights to catch up on some much needed sleep and the other night I took a long, hot, bubble bath instead of a quick 2-minute shower.
We also started the day yesterday by throwing on some clothes at 6.15 am and heading out on our bikes to watch the sunrise. It was cold and dewy and once we got past the residential areas where the morning dog walkers and joggers were out in force we reached our spot overlooking the estuary.
We bumped into a deer, a tawny owl and some squirrels on the way and even my son (who mainly only joined me so he could collect sticks) was completely taken with how beautiful it was. We stopped at the woods for a quick play on the rope swings and then headed home for a hearty breakfast.
So to summarise:
- I voiced how I was feeling.
- I made a plan with small manageable steps.
- I broke my own rules (unlimited screen time for my son) for the greater good (and for my sanity).
- We were spontaneous in heading out to see the sunrise.
- Self-care. Bubble baths and early nights. If we don't look after ourselves how can we possibly look after other people?
- We got some exercise/time in nature.
For now, all feels calm and I feel like I am back on track. I have used a few dirty tactics (mainly screen time childcare) to get to this point but sometimes needs must.
All too often we only see the airbrushed, happy parts in peoples lives on social media and when we are struggling that can make us feel worse as it alters our perception of reality. I think in these chaotic and uncertain times it is important to remember that life isn't always a fairytale and that it's perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed at times.
As always...if anyone needs a friendly ear please don't hesitate to message me.