As 2021 swings into action, so do the lockdown restrictions – here we go onto the third installment of this trilogy like no other. I’m thinking to myself about the kind of strategy I will need to keep sane in this next phase.
Lockdown 1 strategy : got into twitter action, lots of walking and running, household organisation, gardening and rewarding ourselves every weekend with deliciously fatty food and large quantities of booze while sat on sofa laughing at tv/netflix etc. Engaged in absolutely zero home schooling (kids very young).
Lockdown 2 strategy: Having learned that large quantities of booze every weekend takes its toll on your humour for much of the week, we decided a complete flipflop. We felt that our productivity as a household was a wee bit slack and therefore we quit booze entirely from September to early December. It turns out that laziness is actually a character flaw and nothing to do with wine. Our productivity barely improved. However, I did feel good by early December, in a way I hadn’t in years.
So what to do for lockdown 3? Having indulged in a very generous Christmas week (all indoors in our house), where cheese, chocolate and wine all came together every evening in glorious harmony, there is definitely a belt/waist problem. But just repeating lockdown 2 focus doesn’t feel enough to spur any decent levels of motivation. Plus, one of the kids is in school now so I have to at least pretend to be a teacher. I need something to really pick up my interest. I need challenges so that I get out of the bed every morning with a smile and a chuckle.
So this is it – lockdown 3 is about challenges. I am going to do a 10-30 challenge. Ten things I am going to do every day for thirty days. Obviously ten things is nuts, so they are ten small things, some of them tiny little habits, which together create one empirical Mount Everest for me. Basically, if I nail this list, I turn into either Martha Stewart or Michelle Obama.
Ten things I commit to do daily for 30 days:
- Clean the kitchen every evening (sometimes I get lazy and leave stuff til the next day…)
- No booze (except when used as an ingredient for cooking)
- Meditate for ten minutes
- Follow the literary diet https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/dec/27/feed-your-soul-the-31-day-literary-diet-for-january-2021-culture-books
- Go for a run or a walk (minimum 3km)
- Cook something new – either a new recipe from my new Mary Berry cook book or else just something I’ve never cooked before
- A trade embargo has been place on all crisps and all “nice, fancy cheeses”.
- Do at least 5 sun salutations every morning
- Go through my phone every evening to make sure I have replied to all the whatsapps and texts I got that day
- No eating after 7pm (except Fridays and Saturdays – when else could I get my chocolate fix, except when kids are in bed?)
So that’s the list. It still allows for sweet stuff, just not after 7pm (except Friday and Saturdays) so I have lots of rewards to keep myself going.
I’m on Day 8 and so far, so good.
Actually that’s a lie.
I’m on day 8 and I’m already knackered. By 9pm last night, even though we eat three square meals a day (including one particularly stodgy and luscious pasta dish courtesy of Mrs Berry), I was starving. I have run or walked every day which doesn’t actually sound too onerous; however I started from a base line of not having walked in a month. I peaked a couple of nights ago on a glorious 7.5km scamper up and down the hills around me. Last night, I scraped myself along the very flat sea front for about fifteen minutes and then turned back. It doesn’t help that because of the kids, I only get out for flash-light lit evening walks.
Bizarrely, and contrary to my Mother’s reaction, the cooking is going very well. I look forward to it and enjoy it; perhaps because we are on a major lockdown and there is nothing novel or interesting happening in my life (except the kids but they’re a bit too novel and interesting at times).
But I am nothing if not determined and the list above is so full of such simple, easy things, how can I not succeed? How difficult is it to throw a couple of dishes in the dishwasher every evening or make sure to meditate for ten teeny-tiny minutes every morning? I don’t even get out of bed for the meditation!! That’s mainly because if I do it attracts attention from the kids and then they jump and scream on top of me. Instead, I lie in my comfy bed, set a ten minute timer and stare at the ceiling trying to clear my head of thoughts… yet not fall back asleep.
And due to those kids, and the fun-filled frustrating lockdown, it has taken me over 6 days to write this damn blog so I’ll leave it there or it’ll be February before I get this thing out.
P.S. Homeschooling starts next week, so I will probably be a whiskey-swilling, swearing, emotionally-battered, heroin addict by next Friday. Note how not one item on my list above includes anything about home -schooling, or trying to keep my kids to a strict daily routine – that’s because I know better.