So, we are still in lockdown in the UK. Rather than staying safe, we are staying alert, whatever that means and is open to interpretation.
For me, it means relatively little has changed. I still can’t visit friends at their homes, I still can’t go for a swim and I still can’t visit family, especially as they are shielding as part of the most vulnerable category, however, we are allowed to meet with a friend from another household as long as we maintain social distancing requirements. We can now go out more than once a day and we can go and visit places for exercise that are more than a short walk away. The only technical hitch we have, is that we have been instructed to avoid public transport. As we don’t have a car, this pretty much means we are still limited to the immediate area.
Husband and I, however, have established a new kind of normal and probably have more of a routine than we’ve had for years. In an attempt to improve my sleeping habits and create a more regular routine I had already started to set my alarm for 7.30am and I have maintained that habit. That is probably where the similarities between life before Covid_19 and life with Covid_19 end. During this enforced period at home I have been reading a number of books based on spirituality, in particular the belief that we are all made from the same stuff as everything else in the universe. What I particularly like about the books I’ve been reading is that it is based on science, specifically quantum physics.
So, after waking up at 7:30 my day pretty much follows the same outline every day
I start with scraping my tongue, and splashing water on my face – a practice based in Ayurveda.
I then have a cup of hot lemon water, with ginger, turmeric and cinnamon which I keep in ice cube trays in the freezer.
Following this I have breakfast – usually porridge with seeds, and berries, occasionally yoghurt with seeds, nuts and berries, or oat biscuits with peanut butter.
After breakfast I do a short yoga routine. Due to my fibromyalgia this is a bit of a work in progress. I am up to about 15 minutes per day.
I follow this with time on my meditation stool, some days I do a mantra, some days I do some breathing exercises, I usually include a period of heart coherence and most days I will also do a short meditation. I’ve started to do the guided meditation of the day on Insight Timer, as much as anything to embrace new things and not get stuck in a meditation rut. My favourite so far, that I would never normally have tried, is meditation to poetry.
All of this takes about an hour, but the difference it has made to my well-being is immense. This is the one thing that after lockdown will be staying. I would not have made time for this under normal circumstances, but now I have embraced the opportunity, I would be very sad to miss it. On days when I am short of time in the morning, I still make sure I at least do the yoga and a short meditation, as it does genuinely set me up for the day.
Usually husband goes out to do the food shopping whilst I am doing my daily practice, but during the remainder of the morning time is spent doing chores, doing crafts, reading and going for a walk. More often than not, the walk takes in a rather lovely little coffee hut by the side of the water. This coffee hut has kept me sane! I’m not so sure now if it’s the coffee or the time spent on the bench watching the world go by that matters. I live in an apartment with no outside space, so that time sitting outdoors is invaluable. During these walks we have found some amazing things around Bristol, including a beautiful rose garden at Temple Gardens.
Afternoons vary, depending as much as anything on levels of pain or energy, what I fancy doing, or which free course I have signed up to! I spend this time watching videos, reading, doing more creative crafts, writing letters to friends and family. Later on in the afternoon I do a bit more exercise. I am a big fan of moving little and often, so I will do some Qi Gong and we often go for a second walk in the local area. The afternoons are definitely busier than the mornings in the centre of Bristol and it is nice to see some signs of life, from a safe distance, of course. I will also spend some more time sitting on my stool, more heart coherence, more meditating – whatever takes my fancy to be honest!
Our evenings are more often than not spent in watching the TV. We don’t watch a vast amount of television – we watch Points West, the local news, the One Show on BBC1 and then normally watch one other programme during the evening. Besides that I’ll do a bit more crochet or some more reading. Once a week we have an online meet-up with our friends over a glass of wine and share news from the week. As with many people, this time spent with friends has been huge and makes you feel part of the world again, if only for a short time.
And there’s my day! So very simple, but incredibly enjoyable. Once a week I go to volunteer at one of the hotels hosting homeless people in Bristol and three times a week I go out for a Nordic Walk. I’m following the NHS Couch to 5k programme. I daren’t run due to my fibromyalgia, but by using the poles, I do get more of a full body workout and walk faster than I would normally. I’m up to week 3 now and as yet have not been too badly affected, so I am hopeful that my battered body will withstand the pace! If not, I’ll just have to walk slower.
As with the spiritual practices, if you’d told me two months a go that I would be so content with such a simple quiet life I would have thought you were totally mad. Normally, I am constantly on the go, filling my days with busy-ness, can’t sit still, hate doing nothing. Now I find myself frequently looking out of the window watching the birds. True, I only have a choice of pigeons and sea gulls to look at, but I am back to just watching the birds and am more content to just sit and be. I’ve also become more productive, rather than busily trying to do a million and one things I can just sit and focus on one thing at a time. I’m back to enjoying my crochet course, and I am so close to finishing it.
I’ve had time to reflect, time to contemplate, time to wonder (much to husband’s annoyance as he frequently gets dragged into my wondering). I’m beginning to see signs of the real me that got pushed aside and dragged under by my last years in teaching, I’m starting to enjoy the process and not be so concerned by the outcomes, which no longer have to be so perfect. I’m starting to laugh a bit more. I’m starting to sleep better. For me, this period of time spent with my husband, just the two of us, has been a blessing. Days with him are still the sparkliest of all. I am hopeful that when we are allowed back into the real world, that the things I have learned will hold me in good stead and I won’t find it quite as intimidating as it was before.