|Just after dawn - Lochboisdale, South Uist.|
It’s odd, but lockdown this time initially felt somehow easier to cope with than the first time round. Maybe because we’ve done it all before, we know how it all works? Perhaps because the time of year makes it easier - shorter days, less daylight, colder and more likelihood of rainy days. It felt brutal being told we could only go out once a day for exercise in the spring, and yes, it turns out that rule has made a reappearance this time too, probably because with the “you can meet with one other person from outside of your household” aspect they want to prevent people from going out half a dozen times during a day for exercise with 6 different people. At this time of year though when being cosy indoors feels like more of an attraction? Somehow not *quite* so difficult.
Undoubtedly though there are still challenges. Oddly enough when you’re told that you can only go out once a day for exercise it makes it far more likely that you start to feel cooped up and claustrophobic. We’ll be doing our morning walks as usual most days, sometimes I may add a run on to the end of those once MrEH has started working, and there will inevitably be odd errands to do on other days in the week too, where possible I’ll probably try to save up those for days when I need to get out a second time as I feel more comfortable making a second trip out for an allowed reason rather than simply going for a second bout of exercise - although if that is needed for mental health reasons, and allowing that I won’t be meeting anyone else or using my car, I will do that free of guilt. The scaffolding means that natural light indoors is incredibly limited and we have to have lights on for much of the day - at the best of times I struggle through the winter with the shorter days, unsurprisingly the scaffold is definitely not helping with that! Through November and December I dealt with it effectively by just going out for multiple walks most days. I was also able to run regularly through most of that time, which has a huge positive effect on me. By the time we went away though I was really starting to struggle - the combination of a period of time not running because of injury, combined with limited time outside due to quarantining ahead of the Hebrides trip - the two week reset was pretty much essential and hugely beneficial. I came back feeling I could cope with the unknown that was Tier 4 life, and now lockdown too.
If you’re struggling then do know that you’re not alone, and there are so many resources out there that can help - the most straightforward of which is simply talking to someone. If you have nobody close to you that you feel is right to chat to about how you’re feeling, there are telephone options such as The Samaritans - but the key thing is to tackle things before they get worse. Know your triggers, and be aware if they rear their heads. Social media can be one for me - most usually Twitter. When the negativity on there gets too much I either stop looking altogether for a few days or simply retreat into notifications. Facebook has an incredibly useful “mute for 30 days” feature which can tackle those who you feel uncomfortable about (or it’s “politically awkward”) unfriending. Remember on Instagram you can delete comments, and restrict other accounts in how they interact with you too. Twitter too has both mute and block functions too - using both liberally can make a huge difference in the feel of your timeline! Know your coping mechanisms too - and use them. This WILL end - the vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, but rather like the longer, warmer days of spring, it’s still just a little way away from making the vital difference.