Bring back your sunshine

My mind has felt a whole host of emotions during lockdown, including the feeling of being trapped and very overwhelmed. Even though lockdown restrictions have eased, I still feel like I am under lockdown, but of course now, it is a bit different to how it was before as we are all adjusting to the new “normal” whilst keeping people safe whilst we go about our everyday lives.

My mind has been trapped with all the worries that come along with being at home with the kids, which is quite restricting in itself and overwhelming at the same time, feeling the immense difficulty in being able to leave the house at a sensible time of day, and just generally feeling fed up with the exhausting life that it is right now. Which I have on the other hand accepted. But it does just feel hard day in day out, taking such a toll on my energy and muscular pain too, with all the extra stress to clutter up the mind, all that extra housework and worry about keeping the kids entertained without much of a break from it all, just to be adults, and just to be ourselves without having to worry about anyone else’s needs. The regular need to clear your head, especially if you are a parent, with some peace and quiet is immense whilst at home, so whenever I get a spare few minutes here and there, I just literally have to grab them!! Just being aware of your emotional needs throughout the day is important too… being able to time those calm moments with what you are needing in the moment is key to helping you get through the rest of the day in a more positive frame of mind…

The need to focus and for calm is such an important priority at the moment, which I have been working hard on to the best of my ability in lockdown. This mainly involved regular meditation practice, regular exercise, practicing my flute, listening to music, reading a book, listening to interesting talks, or being creative in some way. It really does help lift the burden on the mind and feels so good. Just being able to have some calm during the day is essential to helping us focus on our own needs for our own sanity if nothing else.

There is also a big desire just to feel free. And that freedom as a mum comes normally by leaving the house on my own, hearing the sound of my own thoughts in peace and quiet (such a luxury these days), meeting with friends or family, and just having fun as a grown adult. A lot of this freedom was taken away from us whilst we all save lives in lockdown, which is of course of utmost importance, but as things are calming down somewhat and lockdown has eased off, some of us are now able to see friends and family face to face at a distance, which feels so much better than just seeing them on screen. It feels so much more real and connected, that connection we all want to feel and that we have missed whilst being stuck at home with limited freedom outdoors, keeping our distance to keep ourselves safe and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The freedom we used to have, for me, entailed going to my local Rock Choir, which I really miss, but also to karaoke bars or singalong sessions with friends to help continue to build my new local community of like-minded people who love music and singing. Which has paused for the time being… In the meantime though, singalongs take place mainly in the kitchen when I can whilst doing chores but now also (since yesterday) in the car on the journey to school and back home, and especially when I don’t have any children in the car. I really need to sing. To get that microphone out! To release any negativity, feel positive and start my day well, in addition to my morning exercise routine which I have stuck to everyday during lockdown.

We can beat this, we can come out of it all stronger if we make positive choices for ourselves throughout each and everyday, sometimes it can be a good dose of self-care, you don’t have to necessarily be feeling in the best mood, but just recognising in every moment our love for ourselves, and how we can somehow love ourselves more to make our lives that bit easier, much more bearable and possibly even enjoyable.

We have all been accustomed to using online conferencing software Zoom as the only way to communicate with friends that we would normally socialise with, and communities we are a part of. This has been amazing and I am extremely grateful for the World Wide Web for giving us that opportunity for connection when there was nothing else! However, the human connection and live face to face interaction feels so much better, even at a distance, which is a far cry from the world we have been living in during lockdown.

We need real. We need to live. We need to feel free. To feel like we are starting to piece our lives back bit by bit, and feel more “normal”, more connected to the life around us. To nature. To the music that is life. Love. Laughs. We need to lighten the mental load somehow, to release those things that are blocking and stopping us from enjoying life. It still feels very eery when I go out but is getting easier over time, but at least, I am still able to hear the birds, enjoy the sunshine… not forgetting the smiles from people around me, the support from locals, our neighbours, the school community – it has been amazing how everyone has come together to help each other in different ways and support each other through these difficult times. It’s the simple things in life we need to take pleasure from now to get the best from life.

It’s not all over yet, but somehow with the current restrictions and the new “normal”, we need to find a way to live and enjoy the outside world we live in and feel the beauty of it all whenever we can. For those who aren’t still in full lockdown, we need to experience the outdoors much more as much as we can especially whilst the weather is good, to try out new parks we haven’t been to before, to find those beautiful places close to our doorstep, to add some extra spark back into our life… To actually make plans to see friends you may not have seen in person for months, to dance and sing more, to feel ourselves come back to life in a fun way. Personally, it feels like I am trying to free myself from a cage, like a bird almost! The freedom to fly, to use my wing muscles I have been working to strengthen until now, to breathe fresh air into my lungs and really experience the beauty that life has to offer.  All that is just waiting for us on the other side…

Summer is approaching, which is my favourite season. I like the heat especially when I don’t need to rush around, and can do things at my own pace though I now have school runs to worry about for part of the week. I never thought I would say this, but although I was absolutely dreading the school runs, getting up early, being able to get out of the door early, and also, how my son would cope being back, in fact, what happened was that I am actually enjoying the experience! It has given me the opportunity:

  • to get my workout done early
  • to get dressed in the morning
  • to get out of the house early
  • to get some fresh air first thing
  • to listen to the radio and sing along to my favourite tunes
  • to connect with other people at school, even if it is through a smile and a very quick chit chat
  • to kickstart a new habit of getting up an hour and a half earlier than usual as I really enjoy the peace and quiet (without being disturbed!) whilst doing my morning exercise and meditation routine whilst my family are all asleep!

I guess one of the “perks” of being at home so much is that I have more “time” to get things done around the house. However, it does get extremely mundane and I do have to somehow make other things part of my “chores” too to make it all more bearable as housework really isn’t my thing, chores that help my physical and mental wellbeing…. It is a really long day, but I do have to somehow make the most of it and enjoy the sunshine whilst it lasts too.

Sunshine feels so refreshing to me, I just want to get out that glass of Pimms with crushed ice and fruit cuttings inside, and drink at my own pace in style with my book beside me whilst the kids play peacefully out in the garden. This is the ideal scenario… especially when it gets really hot. Beaches are also one of my favourite places to be… in the meantime until I get to an actual beach, I sometimes listen to sounds of the waves via YouTube (there are lots of different varieties depending on what you like), which are great for helping me feel calm. It really feels like a soothing head massage, especially if you close your eyes, take some long deep breaths and really focus on the sounds.

Even though it may be difficult right now, we can still create those pictures in your mind of how you would love to see and improve your life and take action. Little action steps.

Right, I must go and put that on my to do list for the summer months, to treat myself to a glass of Pimms and do some more reading in the months to come…

What’s your plan, how are you going to bring more sunshine, joy and calm into your life right now?