Coping with Lockdown

I’m struggling right now. Especially as the sun is shining. The hills are calling and yet I can’t go into them. The Yorkshire Dales National Park is right on my doorstep and I could go out hiking from my home and not see a soul. But the government guidelines are to stay away, to adhere to social distancing, and to stay away from people who you are not already quarantined.

And it is hard.

I’m a people person who thrives on company. I love to chat and to socialise. I’m missing my family who live away, I’m missing my TOG family and I’m missing my friends. I am using Skype to call people and chat to a face rather than simply  having a text life and I’m trying to keep busy at home.

But it is challenging to stay positive. Some days are better than others.

Monday was good. I felt ok. I threw myself into my writing and spent time catching up with some office jobs. But, on Tuesday, I felt deflated and I cried quite a bit. And I could not explain why I was crying. I just felt sad.

Wednesday was good day. The sun came out and I spent some time in the garden. My pots are now all tidy and I’ve ordered some summer bulbs from the internet. The Kirkby Stephen parrots flew over and landed in the tree in the field. I’ve never seen them up here before. They were a delight to watch. There were some Oystercatchers, too, in the field. Again, not a bird that I’ve noticed in this location. Maybe they have been here before, but I’ve never really stopped to look.

On Thursday, I wobbled a bit but I made myself a list of jobs to do and gave myself timings for completing each task. Once I got going, I was OK.

I’ve been trying to do some exercises each morning. I found some seated exercises on YouTube – ideal for ‘the elderly’ so the title suggested. Boy! That made me feel old! They were hard too. I really need to build up my upper body and core muscle strength. I set myself the challenge to progress from ‘exercises for the elderly’ to a routine for the ‘middle-aged’ within the next four weeks.

I haven’t been out for a walk this week and the reason for that is that although I am fortunate to live where I do, in a stunning location in Cumbria, my home is at the bottom of a hill. I can’t get up it in my manual chair independently and the track is just that bit too steep for the TrailRider.

I felt that asking Andy to get the TerrainHopper out from its little shed, just for me to go up the track and back down again, was a little too excessive. I know that he would do it if I asked him and he has offered to get it out and has suggested that we go out of a stroll. I supposed that you could say I was being stubborn (and a wee bit mardy because I can’t go out into the hills). So, I haven’t been out for a walk. 

But today, Friday,  the sun is shining and, stubborn, mardy or not, Andy got the TerrainHopper out for me and we did walk to the top of the drive and back again. And it was wonderful. And it felt good. Though it wasn’t a long walk in the dales or in the hills, it was just what I needed. The outdoors has a natural way of repairing the mind and the soul.

My bulbs have arrived and I’ve planted up my pots in the garden. I look forward to seeing the flowers in summer. People always see me as a smiley, happy person. That’s what they see on social media. I’m smiling because I’m outdoors in all the photographs! And I’m outdoors because that’s where I feel happiest. So, people are surprised when I tell them that I’m struggling.

I know that I won’t be the only person feeling isolated right now and coping with mental health. I ask people, who know people who might be struggling, just to give them a call and see how they are doing. You’ll be surprised what a difference your call will make.

If you are feeling a bit low please call someone for a chat. It will make you feel so much better. Do try as well to make yourself get outside for just ten minutes – even on days when the sun isn’t shining. It does make you feel so much better. I will from now on.

You might be isolated but you are not alone.

Stay Safe Stay Home