It’s the First of November and all over Europe, countries are returning to varying degrees of lockdown. I have decided to return to my ‘Quarantine Diaries’ as a means of staying sane during Lockdown Round 2. I started out by re-reading my post ‘Lessons Learned in Lockdown‘ to see what I thought I’d learned back then, and whether my perspective has changed since.
Looking back on lessons learned
- ‘The only time you will get any peace and quiet is a silly-o-clock in the morning. But you may regret the decision to get up at 5am when it gets to 8pm and the kids are still bounding around full of energy.’ This is likely to be the case again very shortly. So far, the half-term holiday has been extended by one week. But with the Covid-19 situation worsening in Slovenia, I don’t expect the schools to re-open next week.
- ‘Asking for half-an-hour’s peace and quiet is not unreasonable, in fact it is more selfish to deny yourself a break, play the martyr and then take it out on everyone else later.’ Absolutely agree with myself here – sometimes half-an-hour is all you need to get your mind back in balance.
- ‘If you can’t get any peace and quiet indoors, there’s always the supermarket…if you head there at the right time of day.’ When we first entered lockdown in Spain back in March, we were only allowed out for essential shopping. Thankfully, this is no longer the case as it seems Covid is not spread easily in outdoor settings. So going purely for fresh air and exercise will now be an option.
- ‘Dirty dishes breed faster than rabbits. The minute you turn your back on them, the sink fills up again. Make sure everyone takes their turn washing up.‘ Well, now I have a dishwasher, so this is no longer much of a problem. But I do think everyone can should take their turn loading and emptying it!
- ‘Don’t feel guilty if your children spend more time online/playing video games than you would like. Just remember to give them your full attention at times when you are able.‘ This advice applied when I was working full-time for an employer. But my situation has changed and I can now choose my own hours, so I will be trying to limit screen time for my kids (though certainly not abolish it altogether).
- ’12-6pm may be the allocated time for children to have their outdoor exercise, but if it’s 30 degrees and sunny, stay poolside and chill!’ This advice is certainly no longer relevant since swapping the Costa del Sol for the Slovenian Alps!
- Bathtime is sacred (your own bathtime, that is). I no longer have a bath and I do miss it (is the obsession with bathing a British phenomenon?) However, I do have two showers to choose from, so I’m not complaining!
- ‘Don’t be too strict about the homeschool timetable: think quality over quantity when it comes to educational activities. It’s more important that your kids are engaged and interested than that they slavishly follow the curriculum.’ I am a little stressed about this point, second time around. There is talk of MS Teams-based live classes and I think I will be expected to re-create the school timetable for my 7-year-old as much as possible. I have no idea how I am going to do this in Slovenian, with a three-year-old to entertain in parallel. Time will tell…
- ‘Leave non-urgent work tasks until the afternoon or evening, once the kids have finished school. Also prioritise your own mental wellbeing over meeting work deadlines.’ As I mentioned above, I am now my own boss, but I think the point about prioritising my own mental health remains important!
- ‘You can NEVER do too much reading, or writing.’ Still agree with this one! Writing keeps me grounded and reading expands my horizons. So I plan to keep on keepin’ on with both.
A very important omission
Perhaps it’s evidence of my progress on the path to spiritual growth that I have a new lesson to add to the above list. Perhaps this is the most important lesson of all:
11. Never underestimate the value of gratitude
I cannot stress enough how much this lesson has helped through all the many changes I have experienced this year. For example:
- I took voluntary redundancy from my job and began living my dream of being a writer.
- I swapped a balmy Mediterranean climate for a Continental European climate: for the first time in four years I am experiencing Autumn in all its blazing glory, and my children may get to experience a white Christmas.
- I am gaining confidence speaking Slovenian, all the effort I put into learning it many years ago is now paying dividends.
- I am devoting 10-15 minutes a day to meditation and I am reaping enormous benefits.
- I may not be allowed to leave the region in which I live for the time-being, but I live in a world-renowned beauty spot.
- I have gained new perspectives on life in different countries and within different cultures.
- I get to be locked down with my beautiful family and spend time with them when we would normally be separated by school and work activities.
- I will save a fortune by not eating out and not wanting to buy new clothes as I will mostly be in the house or walking around in nature!
How is lockdown looking for you?
Another reason to be grateful: I get to connect with wonderfully talented writers from across the globe. I gain new perspectives and realise there is so much more to life than my little world. I’d be really interested to know how you have been affected by the recent round of lockdown measures, or indeed, whether you have been affected at all?
I hope you enjoyed this post and like the new look of my site, which has been given a little bit of a face lift today 😊 thank you for reading!