The A Word: Lockdown – Week 2

The biggest thing to happen this week was changing the clocks.  For Jamie and I, the changing of the clocks tends to symbolise the start of warmer weather, longer evenings and the beginning of the cricket season but, right now, time has little meaning.  Each day is mostly a repeat of the one that preceded it, Groundhog Day, a continuous loop of FaceTime and Houseparty sessions.  At least the clocks jumping forward an hour takes us (artificially) one hour closer to the end of lockdown.

Interestingly, this may be our last time for the clocks going forward.  Last March, the European Parliament voted to scrap the twice-a-year change from either March or October 2021. At this point, member states will have to choose whether to remain on permanent summertime or permanent wintertime.

Given that we are leaving the EU, we’ll be able to keep using daylight saving time if we want, although it would cause problems for Ireland, as Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could end up with a time difference of an hour.  From what I read, it’s  likely that if the EU went for the change, then we would follow suit.

Looking at my summertime Outlook calendar reminds me of our normal existence.  Its full of all the activities that fill our life.  The Easter weekend is usually an exciting time for football as the promotion/relegation battles hot up. There are two games over Easter and, Jamie and I often take in both, home and away.  The home game is always a full house with a cracking atmosphere.  This year we are still debating where to go travelling for Easter, the living room or the new Capital of our house, the kitchen.

I write my weekly blog to raise awareness for autoimmune disease following my diagnosis for ankylosing spondylitis 6 years ago.  I try not to moan too much about my level of pain, but it has been higher than normal this week and I have upped my medication to help to alleviate the discomfort.

Unlike ordinary back pain, ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is not caused by physical trauma to the spine. It’s caused by inflammation in the bones of the spine.  Typical back pain often feels better after rest AS is the opposite. Pain is usually worse upon waking and gradually eases throughout the day.  While exercise may make ordinary back pain worse, AS symptoms actually feel better after exercise.  I am doing well with our limited gym at home and we do leave the house for one walk a day so I can only assume my inflammation markers are up.

On a more positive note there are many things that make me smile in our new world.  I was amused at my excitement the Headingly Ashes test match from last Summer was being aired again this weekend even though I know the result which is just weird!  I am also enjoying learning new things.  I have always been a hopeless dancer due to my lack of coordination, so I am doing an online dance class for beginners.  I’m also enjoying playing around with TikTok!  Jamie is producing a daily emoji quiz for our friends and family which is getting very competitive and we are starting to find time to read which is a bonus.  I am left with the blue sky on my jigsaw which, given that every remaining piece is exactly the same colour, its proving challenging! 😊.

I also like to participate in some of the online videos provided by the SAS TV guys like Ant Middleton, Jason Fox and Mark Billingham.  Jamie and I can now do Mark Billingham’s challenging core workout.  I love the positive attitude of these guys too.  When I did my sales training, we were always reminded that our attitude can make such a difference to the way we approach each day.

A Poem that always stuck with me from my training was written by Charles Swindoll (an American Pastor)

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude…

And so, it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes”

Like me, everyone will have bad days during the lockdown and whilst we cannot change what is happening in our Country, we can change our attitude towards it.  Research shows that our general mood levels and well-being are partially determined by factors such as genetics and upbringing, but roughly 40 percent of our happiness is within our control. 

For me, and others like me, pain levels play a big part in how I feel but I guess that comes under genetics.  Social isolation can have a profound effect on people’s mental health too, so I appreciate it’s not always easy to choose the right attitude.  However, if the lockdown is teaching us anything, it’s to focus on enjoying what we have, not on what we don’t have. It’s motivating to want more in our career, relationships, bank account, etc., but thinking about what we already have, and expressing gratitude for it, definitely makes us a lot happier.

The biggest irritation though is the way people exploit our lockdown situation.  Like many other things, the price of a jigsaw puzzle has rocketed.  I bought two puzzles for me and one for my granddaughter at around £7.00 each 3 weeks ago.   I looked the other day to purchase another one and they are over £30.00 each and I will never pay that.  Yeast is also impossible to purchase at a reasonable price so Jamie will start to grow our own!

I suspect our lockdown and social distancing will go on longer than the 3 weeks initially announced by the Government.  As quoted by Oscar Wilde –  “what seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise”, I do hope so.

Take care everyone, until next time xx

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