The A Word: Easing Lockdown – Week 3

OK, this hasn’t been my best week but before I go into detail about why, I wanted to talk about “curiosity” and then all will become clear.  We all know the saying “curiosity killed the cat” but personally, I don’t think curiosity is cat specific.

Curiosity is the desire to learn about anything and some people are naturally more curious than others.  My husband, Jamie, loves to learn and is curious about everything.  I, on the other hand am only curious about things that interest or excite me.  I would like to be more curious as it certainly broadens your knowledge base, but I’m just not made that way.  Some people have a lifelong interest in learning, simply for the sake of learning which I think is wonderful.

In my opinion, curiosity is vital in the workplace too, especially if you want to advance your career.  Curious people ask great questions that start with “how,” “what,” “when,” “where” and “why,”  They are always seeking new knowledge by engaging in conversations and broadening their network.  When asked a question, they aren’t afraid to admit when they don’t have an answer.  In my experience, they have the ability to shelve a sense of being right in favour of being open to the insights and opinions of others.

Whilst it wasn’t a childhood ambition of mine to work in technology sales, I was passionate and excited about selling and therefore always eager to seek out new information to improve my skills.  For me, being passionate about something helps me to be curious and I would analyse every deal (a win or a loss) to see what I could glean from it and I still do today.  I loved talking to and listening to our subject matter experts and Consultants to understand more about the solutions I was selling. I would read books and attend training to learn about the financial markets and how they worked so I could be knowledgeable in front of my clients too.  Somehow, I need to extend that curiosity into other areas that I am not so passionate about (yet!).  

The reason for mentioning curiosity is that it occurred to me during lockdown that being curious is a superb trait to have. Some people have taken the opportunity to learn a new language, study a subject they knew nothing about, learnt to paint, taken up a new hobby or resurrected an old one.  I, on the other hand, haven’t. I’ve managed to do some of the things I enjoy, like walking and exercise. However, because we are moving home, other things I take pleasure from such as gardening or house projects didn’t seem appropriate, especially spending money unnecessarily on our spring and summer planting.  I did buy a few jigsaws and also taught myself some dance moves, but I haven’t achieved anything else.  And that’s the clue to the reason I had a bad week.

My ankylosing spondylitis has been very painful in the last 10 days or so and I normally use a distraction technique to help me through pain and flareups. As I write my blog to raise awareness of autoimmune disease, I thought it might be helpful to discuss this subject in more detail.  I am on a maximum dose of medication and my usual pain management strategy using “distraction” has been completely ineffective.

I have always used this strategy to redirect my mind off pain. Being able to distract my mind away from the pain by immersing myself in other things has been an invaluable self-management tool. Work has always been a great distraction but it’s very quiet at the moment. Our normal life is so full, I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. Looking forward to and visiting family and grandchildren, going to football, meeting friends, being in the pub or out for dinner, cricket at the Oval, our beloved Cornwall, our travel, gardening and my photography have filled up our days. 

When you’re living with chronic pain, every pain management strategy helps and sometimes you need it more than others. This week, I’ve had nothing to distract myself with, so thinking about my pain was top of my “to do” list and it wears you down.   I was unable to read as my mind wasn’t in the right place and I also managed to smash up a jigsaw I was half-way through out of frustration of not being able to see anyone.

So that’s why I believe curiosity isn’t just for cats as it can help with every aspect of life. Curiosity can be the most powerful thing you own and one of the greatest cures for boredom.

On a happier note, the one thing that has helped me is music.  I listen to music when working out in our homemade gym (loudly). A few years ago, Jamie downloaded an app called Shazam which will identify any song in seconds. Over the years and during our travels we’ve heard tracks we absolutely love, identified them using Shazam and Jamie compiled a long playlist of all our favourites which I’ve blasted out every day. Because the songs represent so many happy memories, they really lift my mood. 

There are some tracks that stand out like when we were sitting in a beach cafe watching the surf in Yallingup, Western Australia listening to some superb chill out tracks.  The late afternoon session in the beach club we go to in France always makes me smile, as do the Eurodance mixes by the French DJ’s in the late-night bars and, of course, the brilliant music played in our favourite place, the Taphouse in St Agnes, Cornwall.  I love music and it helps me work up a great sweat too 😊.

If you want to keep your brain engaged, listening to or playing music is a wonderful tool. It provides a total brain workout. Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.

One track that stood out during my workout this morning was “Five More Hours”, Chris Brown, Deorro and I sang out loudly when we got to the best bit.

This right here is my type of party
Five more hours, we’re just getting started

This will be us when COVID-19 has (hopefully) gone away, one big party that will last all through to Summer of 2021, mixed with a bit of work of course 😊.

Until next time, keep safe and #StayAlert

2 thoughts on “The A Word: Easing Lockdown – Week 3

  1. Hi Andrea, sorry you have had a bad week. Music is a wonderful therapy.
    There are presenters at Surrey Hills Radio who need the outlet to help their mental health.
    The radio has been in lockdown and sadly we heard on Monday that Kevin who has mental health problems couldn’t cope any longer and took his own life.
    Hope you have a better week ahead.
    Love Cathy x.

    Like

  2. Oh my, Cathy, that is so very sad. Its so difficult for people who channel their energy into everyday life, you’re left to think too much. I am sure many people have suffered so much because of the lockdown rather than the virus itself. xxxx

    Like

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