Ideas for the lockdown!

My lockdown might be different to many, as a Nurse I cannot work from home. My fabulous residents still need me, so I am still going to work, caring for my residents wih my wonderful carers, domestics and handyman, fellow nurses and management! It only feels a little different to me, more phone calls from family, rather than face to face visits. We have the ability for families to skype with their loved ones, so that is helpful as well. On the three days I work 12 hour shifts, the days fly by and everything feels a little more normal! My four days off do feel weird though I am a home bird and have a lovely large garden to feel free in. Here is some of my thoughts on how to help during this very strange time!

  • Make a plan! I am a bit pants without a plan, my day just seems to disappear and I can feel like it has been wasted. If I make a plan, it helps to focus me on achievements, such as, play on the sims for 2 hours, then put a wash on, then watch something on TV, do some online learning, research something interesting etc. I like to tick things off a list, I like to see that I have made something of my day, even if it mostly consists of playing the sims!
  • Build fun in your day! I won’t lie, just before we ended up in lockdown, I had ordered Sims University and Parenthood as they were both on offer. This worked well, as I have thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in this fantasy world, it is a great way to pass time without noticing it passing. This could be the perfect time to finally complete that game on the X-box (hubby), watch that TV series, read an entire book collection. All the things that normal life makes us feel bad for doing, as there are more ‘important’ things to do, but realistically, what is more important that relaxing and doing something fun? No guilt! Though, I was getting stressed trying to make my sim child a well rounded individual, flipping hard work, will stick to dogs in real life!
  • Create a work space. If you are lucky/unlucky enough to work from home, I think it is really important to carve out some space, even if its making a make shift desk from the ironing board! Make sure you take regular breaks, stretch out, make cups of tea, wear whatever you want, listen to music if appropriate. Make work hours and stick to them! If you are an early worm or a night owl, if you can tailor your work day to suit, you may find productivity increases! If hours are rigid, suck it up and get it done 🙂 Do work in a different room to where you relax, try and claim some space where you can walk away from when it is finished to help with switching off.
  • Recognise negative triggers. I cannot stress the importance of this, I honestly found the news too overwhelming, I deleted facebook off my phone, it is all too biased, people spread fake news, people get really angry about irrelevant things, the world starts to feel like it is full of mean and angry people. Deleting it off my phone was great. Not watching the news is easy, I very rarely watch the news, it always triggers negative emotions in me. I am part of a union, they send me daily updates about any changes to government rulings etc, I have the statistical website page on my phone where I can check for actual facts and stats on covid19, I will research any specific information I want to know actual facts too, this all helps my headspace. The more I know, the more fake news and fear can be fought! I still use Instagram as I love this app, I am filling it with dog pics mostly! This is also a good time to delete people from apps who bring negativity, or snooze them for 30days! The other thing I have done, is delete my countdown holiday app from my phone and put all my holiday books away, currently it is very unlikely I will be going to New York, whilst travel is usually a good escape for me, it is currently making me feel trapped and sad. So moving it away until I can get my joy back!
  • Allow feelings. Do not berate yourself for feeling any emotions, it is absolutely normal to feel frightened, angry, sad, frustrated, elated, happy…any emotion is normal when nothing makes sense. Do not call yourself selfish for being gutted your dream holiday, which is all paid and planned may not happen- me- that is understandable, that doesn’t mean you are not taking covid19 seriously, or somehow you are belitting the loss and suffering of those infected, it means you are human. Try not to act on emotions that can be negative, allow the feelings to be present, but then let them go, distract yourself, do something productive, make a cup of tea and think about something else, call someone to chat, research something and most of all, don’t make yourself or others feel bad for having strange and fluctuating emotions at this time!
  • Look after you and yours. You cannot control other people, best will in the world! The sooner you accept this, the less other peoples behaviour will impact on you. Neighbour not adhering to current guidelines? Ask yourself, does it affect me and mine? If yes, then be productive about it, if not, move on. My neighbours can do what they want, as long as it doesn’t impact on me or increase the chances of me spreading illnesses to my residents. Humans are inquistive and naughty, we push boundaries, it is how we continue to develop and learn, so of course some people will push against the current guidelines, people that have the capacity to make choices, can make stupid and dangerous ones. As long as the majority work on themselves and protecting those who are vulnerable, we will manage and get through this crisis even if bob and his family insist on visiting each other and coughing in each others faces, hopefully if they get it, they add to herd immunity rather than adding to the ITU beds!
  • Exercise. Whether you wish to do this indoors, or with your hours allowance outside, do it, exercise helps to reduce stress, it will get rid of tension, it will make you feel more normal, it is good for our immune system and helps to keep us both physically and mentally well. Find an app, use youtube, make up your own routine, there is lots of info out there curently for free! I am still working on this, exercise is something I don’t do enough of, but am trying to do more!
  • Pets. If you have pets, use this time to be with them, snuggle them, pet them, teach them, entertain them, stimulate them. There is so much enrichment out there on the old interweb, things you may have never thought of before, that might just make their lives a bit better during this time and long after! I have heard lovely stories about people fostering pets whilst they know they are at home, what a bloody gorgeous thing to do!
  • Keep in contact with people. I am now part of two family whatsapp groups, it is quick and easy to check in, I have groups with others and will just check in with them intermittently or as I wish. I have seen lots of things shared like ‘pay attention to who contacts you during this time’, but can’t help but think, communication is a two way street, have you contacted them either? It works both ways! Bob hasn’t text me all week, but wait, I didn’t text Bob either! Maybe he is sat at home thinking the same about me! Call people, facetime people, do a group meal over facetime, have a glass of wine whilst chatting together, walk around the garden with a friend on the phone/tablet, we have the capacity to communicate in so many ways now! Be clever, be adventurous!
  • Overhaul your finances, get on moneysavingexpert for all the info on making sure your money is being smart! Use this time to look at spending and working out if you are saving money, and how, what are you not buying? You could come out of this financially better, maybe, possibly. Though money is very strange, hubby’s job is very unsafe right now and that could throw us a curveball. But by doing this overhaul, we will be in a better position to deal with things as they happen.

Most of all, stay as well as possible, uncertainity breeds fear, fear increases stress hormones which makes us more susceptible to being unwell- not just covid19. Sending love to all!

I have been a little absent…

You may or may not have noticed my absence just recently. Even before covid19 shut the entire world down, I have been struggling a little with my mood being up and down affecting my eating massively, which in turn effects my mood!

I am avoidant in my personality, if I feel a certain way, I will shut off and avoid things that may or may not, make me feel worse, or in fact may make me feel better, as feeling shut off feels safe! I have not been struggling with depression or anything more than mild/moderate anxiety around specific situations, and have continued working etc. So it is nothing dramatic, just my brain and I disagreeing and arguing a lot!

Anyway, part of kicking my own brain/butt, is to carry on writing, as it can be really cathartic! So here I am, not in work until Thursday, wondering what I will do today to make me feel like I am making achievements, whilst maintaining social distancing, whilst also feeling very sad about our world, fears about our economy, my husbands future work and quite gutted that we are probably not going to New York at the end of May as we have been planning for 18months, which included a wedding in Central Park. A tiny part of me is hoping Covid19 will f*** off as quick as it seemed to come, but predicitions are that the UK will be hitting the peak in May/June.

I work in a Dementia Nursing Home, all my residents are unwell, both mentally and physically, which puts them in a very high risk group. We are following guidelines and working hard to keep everyone safe. Hubby may have to go and work abroad for a week on and off in another area of his work, as they have closed his local office- if people don’t go, they will have to look at redundancies, which is a frightening concept in this climate. This will put a lot of pressure on both of us, especially with the dogs, though my sister is not in Uni now and both part time jobs have closed, so I could engage her for dog sitting if Aran’s dad is unable to make it in. In good news, her Uni have adapted the end of the degree, so that it can all be done at home and fingers crossed, she will complete her degree and do her PGCE in September!

I have been more spendy these last couple of months, totally linked with my brain and I fighting. I do need new trainers so will be purchasing them and I have had to pay £120 today to carry on Nursing. Though I may be able to claim this back via work, might as well try!

We have decided to carry on overpaying the mortgage at this time, as we both are working and can change this any time if needed. We will wait and see if we need to ask for a mortgage holiday, we don’t yet, so may as well wait and see.

I paid another £200 off the credit card- if New York is cancelled, will probably end up with very little owed on the credit card once we have claimed pay back! It is about £4550 at the moment, still 0% until Dec 2020.

We have almost paid hubby back, so in May, we would be looking at that £150 being moved to the car loan- set interest so paying back doesn’t save money- so that will be paid back quicker- snowballing! Then in theory, we would combine both of these, £150 and £186 with my £200 and smash the credit card. Obviously, this is a little unsure now and credit card debt may change on its own. Hubby may end up losing his job anyways, or we could end up sick and not able to work so every penny will need to be saved, extra payments stopped etc. Also, if we don’t go to New York the £3k saved for that can be utilised in other necessary ways.

Trying to limit time on social media, I find myself getting very agitated by people sharing false news, angry statements, stupid statments, judgy statements. I also think that most people have no understanding of what is happening. We are not social distancing to stop covid19, but to slow its spread, in the UK they are certainly wanting the peak once seasonal flu has buggered off, so that they have more resources to treat it. People seem to think if we isolate a bit, it will disappear. And heck, it might! I am still trying to be a little hopeful that April will see some other awful thing happen and covid19 will ‘poof’ disappear! Every month of this year so far has been unpleasant in some way or another globally.

Have had unexpected pet related costs this year:

Jan 2020- Lady catches Red’s side when playing, he has a skin tear that requires emergency vets and two staples, £96. Healed very well and he is still crazy!

Feb 2020- Red chases a pheasant through brambles…comes out covered in cuts and a thorn in his eye!!! Another emergency vet app, £56. He has healed really well, getting his eye drops in 3/4 times a day was a nightmare! And yes, both dog related issues were on Red, he is a clumsy and crazy boy

So far in March, and there is still time! We have had to take a chicken- Blue- to the vets, as she had become very poorly. We got antibiotics, and she has perked up, but another chicken is now poorly so living in the spare room continuing antibiotics! This was £50. Bloody animals!

I am going to get back into sharing my brain farts, it does help, better out than in! Not been able to logon to mortgage so not been able to see where I am at which is frustrating, still waiting to swap over to Halifax too. Not going to ring as can imagine they are snowed under at the moment, and it will be a year in June so you can expect a big old update then!