Isolation Week One: Boredom, Binge watching Netflix and (much) Better Days.

On New Years Eve, when I was enjoying a nice, big glass of Raspberry Gin ‘n’ lemonade (not a G&T fan) and playing board games with my family, I didn’t expect three months into 2020 to look the way it currently is.

We all set ourselves goals for the year ahead, and most of us go into the new year with an optimistic attitude that this will be ‘my year.’Whatever your goal is, to get fitter, to start a new career, save more money, or give up the booze for 31 days, we all do it. This year in particular I gave myself a goal, which was to ensure that everyday was a productive day, until I found my dream job, and from there continue being equally productive. And that surprisingly didn’t take too long at all. But that was because I embodied this attitude that I wasn’t going to give up trying until I got what I wanted, and of course in the end I did.

I was so motivated, blogging to enhance my writing, actively applying for jobs, networking with professionals on LinkedIn, whatever it was I could do to make a life for myself, I did. From January 1st I was a firm believer that 2020 was going to be my year, because I’ve worked hard, I’ve never given up and I deserved an opportunity to kickstart the life I’ve always wanted. But unfortunately Covid 19 had very different plans.

I think when we first heard about the ‘Coronavirus’ back in November/December time, a lot of us, myself included, believed it posed very little threat to us. It was so far away and China seemed to contain it in Wuhan. Admittedly, up until the beginning of March, I still believed the impact would be minuscule, I mean how on earth can a virus have such a big effect? I’m a history grad, so I don’t really understand how, when I’ve studied the plague, that it didn’t click that this could be so catastrophic, but I think I was still living in Emily Land. Correction- I deffo was living in Emily Land.

But anyway, here we are one week into the ‘three week lockdown’ period (that we all know is not going to be three weeks) with a very different set of circumstances. In the past week my seemingly, almost perfect, I’ve got my sh*t together life has done a complete 180, and without getting into too many details, I’m not enjoying it. I have a very cynical outlook on life, which tends to be I don’t like being happy, because it means I’m going to be sad. So whenever something good happens, I don’t really fully enjoy it because I feel like it will quickly be taken away from me. Yeah, I know how depressing? But I feel that having this mentality means I’ll never feel truly let down or disappointed, however I am trying to work on this during my time in isolation.

So because Week one is now officially over, I want to recap on how I’ve felt, what I’ve done (not a lot) and how I’m going to improve going forward, and get the productivity and motivation I had in January back.

First of all, missing our loved ones is something that has such a large impact on morale during this time. Usually we have freedom to see our; boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, grandparents, friends and other family members, whenever and wherever. And now this freedom has been completely taken off us, which is something I’ve noticed myself, and my friends have massively struggled with and this is probably because for our generation we’ve never had to make a personal sacrifice this large. Personally, I don’t tend to struggle too much if I don’t see my boyfriend for a couple of days, to a week. Though this is irregular now, at the beginning of our relationship we were both in two different cities, Newcastle and Nottingham, and this was for about 18 months to two years. For a long period of time we wouldn’t see each other for 4-6 weeks depending on our uni work and part-time jobs, so I’m used to knowing that we have to make time to FaceTime each other and communicate well to make our relationship work. But for a lot of people this is a completely new experience and it can be so difficult, especially when two people miss each other. Emotions run high and can take the better of us which can often result in petty arguments, that purely boil down to the fact you miss each other. Trust me, been there, done that, got the t-shirt that says I start arguments for no reason (other than I want attention.)

But regardless, this is totally new for a lot of people and it’s hard. It is sooooo hard to not be able to see the people you love and want to see and not have control over when we will have normality back in our lives. So right now my top advice would be, make time for FaceTiming whoever it is you’re missing, and make it fun. As lame as it sounds (I don’t find it lame but I can imagine there’s some people out there with a stick in a certain orifice who will) but Jason and I will both download a game like Scrabble or 8 Ball Pool and play this over FaceTime. It always keeps everything interesting, fun and also stops you both from slipping into talking about whats actually going on in the world, bringing that normality back even if it is only for a short period of time. And you know, you can learn new words, who doesn’t love learning new words?

Likewise, I still need me weekly dose of girl time, so far this week I’ve had two FaceTime chats with my gorgeous girls, who always manage to keep me feeling positive. During this uncertain time it is so important to surround yourself with positive, supportive people and plenty of wine, to help stay motivated. I really would have struggled the past week without my friends and boyfriend to help minimise the number of break downs I’ve had, as everything is up in the air, so make sure your still making time for your friends, to help stay sane. I know a lot of people have downloaded the ‘Houseparty’ app but having heard some dodgy reviews, maybe just stick to group FaceTime.

I’ve found this week that I’ve really struggled to stay motivated. I pride myself on being someone who will get up and make the most of the day, whether it be going to work, working out, working from home or getting pampered. Don’t get me wrong I love a lazy day as much as the next person, but when you’re forced into it the fun and relaxation of it is completely sucked out. But unfortunately I received a letter to say I’m a high risk individual so I have to follow a different set of precautions to avoid contracting the virus. Because of this I’m not supposed to leave the house (I have an eye op on Wednesday which is the only exception so trust me I’ll be making the most of it,) and I’m advised to isolate in my own space, so the four walls of my bedroom are now named and my new best-friends, but I swear they slowly move closer to me.Though I’m not a runner, I love going out for walks with my dog and my parents so immediately this activity was crossed off the list of ‘fun things to do in isolation.’ Now it looks like lazy days are going to be a more frequent occurrence, but that’s only if I maintain that mindset. So though I’ve had a rough week I’m adamant that this negative mindset won’t continue for the entire duration of my isolation. As someone who has previously suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, I know that if I continue feeling the way I do, my emotions will quickly spiral out of control.

I’m a firm believer in the statement ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ I’ve allowed myself this week to feel as low as I’ve wanted to feel, to cry whenever I’ve wanted to cry (which has been a lot because I got my period) and to eat whatever crap food I wanted to. But as of today I’m taking back control of my life and my emotions and working hard to become the driven and determined person I truly am, by bettering myself.

Because I love to pamper myself, I decided to learn how to do my own acrylic and gel nails, which has been really therapeutic the past couple of days. I’ve also always wanted to learn how to do Calligraphy, so I ordered a work book and some pens to help occupy some of my spare time next week. These are two skills I’ve wanted to develop for some time, so rather than dwelling on the fact I’ve now got 12 (11 and counting) weeks of me time, I thought it would be great to actually learn something new, as you never know when making decorative table cards is going to be necessary. (I’ll be available for weddings, christenings, hen do’s and whenever my dad cooks tea.) And if learning how to do these two things isn’t enough for you, I’m also planning on taking a couple of LinkedIn courses, just to keep me ticking over, because you can never learn enough in my opinion. I’ve found in the past LinkedIn is a great platform to help broaden your knowledge on whatever it is you’re wanting to learn about. In the past I’ve completed Copywriting courses, which have been super useful, and you even get your own certificate. This is a great way to stay productive and stay motivated, all while being able to add another skill to your CV.

While it can be super easy to just lie in bed and binge watch the entire Avenger franchise on Disney+ (I’m on film 13/22) this is stopping as of Week 2 of the lockdown period. Over the weekend I got extremely agitated watching films, there truly is only so many films you can watch before you want to pull your hair out, and at this point I knew I had to make a change for the week ahead. The past week I haven’t hopped on the bandwagon of home work outs at all, purely because I haven’t been in the mood, which like I said above I’ve allowed myself to do. But as of today I’m kicking my own backside and I will be working out, because not only is it good to keep in shape, I can’t stress enough how good exercising is for your own mental health. Today I started Charlotte Crosby’s ‘3 minute Belly Blitz’ home work out and I can honestly say I already feel much better. Though I did have a little go last week, my motivation was short lived, so I quickly wrote this off for another day. But for anyone thinking os starting home work outs I’d highly recommend giving this one a go. Whether you do this everyday, every other day or once or twice a week, you will soon start to feel much better, dispite a few aches and pains.

So week one as a whole, may have been slightly unproductive but I needed that week to get back on my feet, build myself up and just reconnect with myself. And because of it, I now feel that I’m in a position where I feel ready to start broadening my academic scope, learning new skills and working out daily. I feel I have my motivation back, I’m out of my funk and I’m just ready to take on week two of lockdown. But this is all because I’ve gone at my own pace, I’ve had my ‘me’ time to reflect and realised what I now need to do and I feel so much better because of it. Remember it is okay, to have bad days, to have days where we only feel 30%, but knowing when this has to end is also so important for personal growth. I always say, somtimes it’s rainy but it can’t rain forever, and right now I think my own clouds are starting to part.

If anyone has any tips for combatting lockdown, please comment below as they’d be greatly appreciated. In the words of my childhood crush, Troy Bolton, we’re all in this together.

Lots of Love,

Emily xo