Isolation and Me

23rd March 2020

I’m used to waking up with the anxiety in my stomach, I’m used to going to sleep with it in my stomach too. I’m even used to wearing it all day long. I’m used to being able to calm it somedays and not others. So, you would think in times like just now I’d be a pro at dealing with it. Cue big red  x-factor cross noise!! And ironically that’s made it worse. I feel like I should be able to deal with it but can’t so double the anxiety and feeling of failure.

I don’t want to use this blog, which is usually a place for laughter(usually at my expense lol) and fun to bring you down, scare you more or have to listen to me whine but I surely I’m not alone in feeling like this. So I just wanted to let you know I AM HERE! I know how you feel, I don’t know if I can do anything to help other than listen but I AM HERE!!

When this all first started I have to say I didn’t immediately realise the impact it was going to have on my life and those around me or even around the world. I was cautious as most anxious people were but I didn’t quite get what it meant for me. Well fast forward 10 days and I feel like I’m living in a syfy movie. The anxiety that knocked on my door has know consumed my house. Even as I write this I am questioning what I’m doing. Sharing my inner thoughts, is this wise! If you had half an hour inside my head you would probably say the same. But here I go, these are some of things that are hounding my thoughts;

Home Schooling – more than likely given my reach you are probably a parent or grand parent if you are reading this so you will now be thrust into the world of homeschooling. Firstly, I have 3 teenagers, who 2 of which were due to sit exams, one of which need results for her conditional university offer. So this has been stressful for them. Even the announcement of cancelled exams brings about many questions and worries that as a parent I can’t answer or calm. The constant rush of resources and help being thrown at us to assist with our home class rooms is absolutely amazing, don’t get me wrong. But I can’t be the only one feeling –  What if I can’t do this? What if I get it wrong.What if they aren’t learning enough?  STOP –  they don’t need you to be their teacher they need you to be their parent. They will catch up with course work, teach them what you know. Read with them, play with them, make them feel secure and safe. That is all that’s needed. Lessons are all around us. Weather watching, baking, cooking, dancing like a monkey until you fall over laughing(I may or may not have tried that ha ha!) – all valuable lessons(removing sharp objects before you fall over – lesson 1). They won’t remember in 30 years what all went on but they will remember how you made them feel and how secure and safe they were.

Mental Health – I’m very open about my own mental health struggles but I really fear that this current situation is going to cause a huge spike in not only adults but children developing mental health issues or the deterorition of already known problems. In 10 days I can feel my own spirally and I honestly don’t know how to stop it. These are the things I’m trying to do incase they help you too. Getting some fresh air EVERY day, even if I have to drag myself out. A short walk around the garden the car, the drive or further if its safe to do so. Yoga, I’m trying to do some online yoga as I’m missing my face to face classes. I even set up a group of friends on zoom on Sunday morning to connect and follow a video together.Anyone who wants to do it with me just shout. Not, watching the news or social media too often. I know its good to keep up with the current guidelines but there is lots of stuff you don’t need to read, things that fuel the anxiety and serve as no purpose to you right now. Limit your time on devices and what you watch – I promise it will help. And keep talking – to your partner, parents, friends, ME! Use messages, emails, FaceTime, zoom, whatever it takes to keep connected to loved ones. Our connections are going to be the hardest part to maintain. It’s easy to lock yourself away(actually it really isn’t I’ve realised lately) and ignore everyone but we all need love, connection and support. Look out for each other and stay connected whatever way you safely can.

Physical Health – This week I have over eaten, drunk too much alcohol and not moved as much as I need to. FACT! It can’t continue, I know that. BUT, temporarily it made me feel better. I am really active running lots of classes each week from little babies to my busy and wonderful dance bunch. Now, of course its my job, and it pays my mortgage but that’s not why I started or why I continue to do it. Its because I love it! It keeps me active, it keeps my busy and I truly love the connections I make with parents, kids, grand parents and more. And I miss it deeply already. In fact even just writing this I feel the tears stinging me eyes again. Anyway, I’m getting online dance classes, baby classes, sling classes, yoga classes and more set up this week and yes of course I hope it helps all my customers new and old but I know if nothing else it will help me get moving and feel better. Even if I’m standing doing the classes alone ha ha!! There are lots of ways you can keep moving too. As I mentioned above out for walks, dancing around your kitchen with the kids, doing your own workouts in the sitting room, using the many YouTube and online resources/classes etc to inspire and motivate you. And, just a note on those. I know it’s amazing that people like Joe Wicks and other successful companies and individuals are offering free services. But please remember the little fitness instructors who are trying to keep up but can’t afford to offer it for free. The other resources/classes/sessions that big companies are offering free, because they will weather the storm fairly unscathed. Please watch out for the little businesses that could do with your support at this really difficult time and support them if you can. Keep moving – YOU CAN DO IT!!

Feeling Robbed – I’ve spoken to a few parents the last few days who quite frankly feel robbed! Robbed of what should be an exciting and new phase of their lives. But, they can’t show off their new arrival, they can’t allow grand parents, aunties, uncles etc to meet them, they can’t connect with other new parents at baby groups or classes. At a time where support and connection are needed most, they can’t obtain it. Weddings, big celebrations, birthdays all done behind closed doors or cancelled and absolutely rightly so. For our safety and health it has to be but we are only human and it’s ok to feel disappointment, upset or anger. My own daughter turns 18 next month and it will have to be a just us with no family around her, no big party, etc. I feel heart sorry for her. And yes we can party when it is hopefully all over but you only turn 18 once. Can you remember when you turned 18 and what you did? All these things can’t be avoided and in the grand scheme of things aren’t really that important but we are still allowed to grieve for them. You are allowed to feel robbed. Connection and celebration need to be found in different ways for now. We are all going to have to think outside of the box and make what we can of this crappy situation. Use the technology around us to show off that new baby via FaceTime, get connected to classes online, phone that grandparent every day and let them listen to those adorable gurgling new baby sounds(or screams), make your celebrations as special as they can be and get ready to have an all mighty one when this is all over!!

I’m rambling now, I know that. And selfishly I wrote this more to clear my own head and allow myself to see its ok to feel afraid, anxious and upset. We are all feeling a rainbow of emotions right now. But at the end of the rainbow there will be light. I know it!(even if my brain try’s to tell me otherwise 5 million times a day) We can get through this all together. Be kind to yourself, take each day a step at a time and as for you COVID-19 – you can just bloody do one!!

Stay safe and well

Jenny

xxx

 

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