Excuse my bluntness but sweet geezus hasn’t this year been a royal shit show?!
As a Melbournite Covid really did smack us good. I experienced the full gamut of emotions, initially elated at the thought of lockdown, no place to go, just stay home and chill the hell out. Easy breezy. I didn’t fool myself into thinking I would achieve any great feats during this time, just embraced the slower pace and enjoyed having the family home. I was enormously thankful for the reasonably low pressure work scenario because that home schooling caper resulted in consistent interruptions rather than consistent working hours for me. I rolled with the punches on that. Then the helplessness and isolation kicked in. I missed my family. I missed my friends. I missed my freedom. I hated wearing a mask.
As we return to ‘normal’ and I reflect on my lockdown life I realise I have learned some lessons…
1. I sleep better when I am not busy.
You’re bloody kidding right??!! Ok so now that I think about this it seems obvious but prior to lockdown I’d been under the illusion that being busy would make me tired, then I would naturally sleep well. To add to that I was also under the illusion that I WAS sleeping well, turns out I was not. Turns out when you slow life down, lighten the load on the brain and quit racing around the body ‘rests’ better. Prior to lockdown I was sleeping 6 – 8 hours a night, during lockdown 8-10 and sometimes up to 12 hours a night. FEK ME!! Those are some snooze goals I did not even know I had!! To say I was feeling refreshed is an understatement. I had no clue that I had spent years waking feeling far less than ‘fresh’. To wake and not still feel tired, seriously, as mums we dream of that!
2. You do not have to be ‘productive’ every single minute of every single day.
I am late to the party on this aren’t I?! Filling every single minute with something ‘productive’ just made me less productive. Lockdown forced me into a position of being able to clearly see this and being able to clearly see the value of stepping away from my computer to sit in the sun, cuddle a kid or read a book. I was far more productive during the times I had allocated to ‘working’, that change in pace every 40mins to 1hr revived me and kept me focused for things I did need to focus on. Wow. Who would have thought?!
3. I function best when routine and structure is maintained.
At first shit went a little haywire in my day-to-day existence. I was used to working at home with just the dog and it had been that way for several years. I have always enjoyed working at home, by myself, then suddenly I had 3 kids and my partner home and chaos ensued. I found it hard to get into my groove. I missed the peace and quiet. My usually organised day rivalled the chaos of transition check in on race day! At first, I rolled with it. Then I cried when I could not get my favourite loaf of fruit bread, I knew that was sign I was done rolling with it and I needed to make some changes! As a family we developed our very own lockdown timetable which included an exercise routine for the kids, a list of additional household responsibilities for my new ‘work’ colleagues, interruption free time for both adults and a structure around each day that resembled the usual school day. Phew, I could breathe again.
4. Zwift is now a base word from which the verb zwifting and noun zwifter have been derived.
I had been a subscriber of zwift for around 6 months prior to lockdown, however, I rarely used it. I knew very little about the finer details and did not care to know until lockdown… You can now find me regularly zwifting in my garage, mostly on a Saturday morning when I enjoy being a zwifter as part of a race style event. I have learned to use discord, give a thumbs up, use the power ups and shop in the garage. I am no pro, but I can do the basics and find my way around the platform reasonably confidently now. A new lockdown skill learned!
5. Smart trainers are not just a convenient way to train and watch a movie, you can actually become a better cyclist.
Confession, I was ‘that’ triathlete who jumped on the trainer because it was the ‘easy’ option for training. I could watch a movie in the safety of my garage, out of the wind and rain and tick off a training session. I thought I was training well until my lockdown training started and I got a whole lot more focused and determined. I learned how to push. I started to ‘feel’ what it was like to work hard. I was sweating like I had never before on the trainer, it was fabulous and gross! My FTP increased by 52 in 12 weeks. My quads burned and my legs were wobbling like jelly after a tough set or race where I had flogged myself and I bloody loved it! I’m proud to be a zwifting zwifter!
6. Running without earphones makes you a better runner.
Well, it has me anyway. I wrote an entire blog on this it was so pivotal to my running. I’m calling it conscious running. It’s like being mindful only way cooler! No earphones means no distractions which means I can ‘feel’ what is happening when I am running. I can easily gauge my efforts, distinguish between my mad and mellow, feel when I am getting tired and lazy and letting my technique slip. I can catch niggles quickly and amend technique accordingly. In addition, I can think, the time away from ‘noise’ is so good for my mind, far more clearing than running with the noise.
7. Simplifying life is a new goal / must do and self-imposed ‘lockdowns’ are going on my ‘to do’ list.
So, whilst 34 weeks in lockdown with the family was definitely too long for this independent, semi anti-social lass there was plenty to love about the lack of shit to do outside the house! I enjoyed not having to go places and remember appointments, not being stuck in traffic, having time in the mornings, not washing school uniforms 3 times a week then madly getting them dry in time, not having to remember to pick up or drop off a kid or two. Lockdown freed up some brain space, it gave me time to breathe, a chance to step back from the ‘busy’. I loved that. I need to remember this and build some of that time to breathe into my life moving forward. Self-imposed lock down weekends have just become a new thing and I am going to say no, not all the time, just more than I used to.
8. Late, boozy nights have a bigger impact than I was willing to initially acknowledge.
I went 20 weeks without an alcoholic beverage, 140 days no booze. I did not plan it, it just happened. Then when I did next enjoy a boozy night it messed with me for days! 3 drinks and a bedtime of just after midnight resulted in a 4 day recovery back to ‘normal’. I did not sleep well. I woke several times through the night feeling hot. I woke in the morning with a foggy head then suffered through the day feeling fragile and did not get my training done. By day four I was feeling good again and back to sleeping well and waking refreshed, but I am not sure vodka soda is worth it any more….?! At 42 I think my days as a wild party animal are behind me and I am both happy and sad about that! This lockdown lesson is linked closely to number one and number three both of which are important to me functioning at my best.
There you have it. My top 8 lockdown lessons. Nothing ground breaking. Just valuable lessons and reminders to continue to work at living a more balanced, healthy lifestyle. A little evidence that despite the shitty year we've had it's been worthy in some ways.
And if you're not yet sick of me...
25 BONUS, less important yet relevant, lockdown realisations:
- I quit my teaching job for a reason.
- My partner is very loud on the phone.
- I am very loud on the phone – or so my partner says.
- Jamming a rubber thong under your door stops it from opening and keeps people out.
- Politicians have the worst job ever.
- Uber eats and Menu Log are invaluable and are an appropriate response to the question, ‘Mum, what’s for dinner?’ No further information necessary.
- PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment.
- Rationing toilet paper is a skill our family did not master, thank goodness for tissues.
- My hairdresser is the key to my youthful appearance.
- We can save the planet; it is a shame it took a pandemic for nature to show us the impact humans have on the presence of wildlife.
- Watching a YouTube video on how to cut boys hair does not qualify you as a hairdresser.
- Masks are most useful when picking up dog shit.
- My boss wearing pink lycra during a zoom meeting is something that cannot be unseen.
- The purchase of a coffee machine is now a tax deductible expense.
- My partner is calm until the WIFI is not working and then 1hr a day of outside time really isn’t enough for any of us.
- The bin isolation outing page on Facebook was hilarious.
- The kindness pandemic page on Facebook filled me with hope and made me cry often.
- Pandemic memes were a constant source of laughter.
- Supporting local business is crucial.
- I like people more than I thought I did.
- The word 'pivot' is a far more important business term than is used to be.
- The car is a perfectly acceptable place to enjoy a meal in peace.
- Year 9 algebra is not information I have retained.
- People are resilient and brave.
- Sit / stand desks are great when you remember, they are in fact, sit / stand desks.