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Crisis. And Breathe.

Crisis. And Breathe.

Learning, developing and reflecting are all part of the core purpose of Womenclimb. We encourage volunteers and members to learn and develop wherever they can. Today, Siobhan Smith, our Social Media Manager shares some of her thoughts, helping to articulate what so many people are experiencing now, in the midst of the UK Covid-19 lockdown. These feelings reflect experiences which many of us go through at different stages of the journey of life, and particularly in climbing, so if you’re seeing this with Covid-19 as a long distant memory, read on. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote about routine, and why we should embrace it during this time. It’s important for both our mental, and physical well being. We are all in different circumstances and here is what I’ve learnt since the last post.

Lark or Owl?

I’m better in the morning than the afternoon. On the most part I have more enthusiasm in the morning than the afternoon, which surprises me as I usually feel more productive artistically at night. So the fact that I’m being more productive in the morning is new to me. During the week I have managed to get up at a decent time (it is a little later than I first planned, but really, I have no need to get up at 6:30am at the moment), get some exercise and house work and/or Womenclimb work done.

But I have to admit, by around two in the afternoon my enthusiasm fades and I tend to end up wondering around looking for something to do but not wanting to do anything at all. It’s an awkward few hours until it’s time to make dinner. 

Some days are better than others

Some days I’m full of energy and feel great, others I feel awful: lazy and restless all at the same time. I feel unproductive and miss my family, friends, the hills, everything. Today I’m really missing a chat. Living with three males, two of which are teenagers, means getting a chat out of any of them can be like pulling teeth. Today I could really do with a girly chin wag!

Remember to relax

Something else I have discovered in the last week, and have chatted to others about quite a lot… Give yourself a break! I don’t know about you, but when lockdown happened and I was no longer working, I gave myself such a mammoth list of things to get done during this time. We were all so enthusiastic about making the most of being stuck at home, and getting all those to-do’s done on that list that has been growing for, well, probably years…

But then I realised… Hang on here, we are in a crisis situation. We didn’t choose to have this time off to get all that painting done, the garden, that bit of skirting board that needed fitting for the past eight months.

Even when we are not thinking about it, we are aware, in the back of our minds that the death toll is going up, that we can’t see those that we love and that rearranging pebbles in the garden has been the closest thing to touching rock in weeks. Maybe, for some of us, our jobs or businesses are on the brink, or if you are working, you’re working in a whole different environment where you can’t separate your day to day life from your work. Or perhaps you are a key worker who is stressed out to the max. Or a parent trying to keep your children from climbing the walls (maybe just set up a top rope around the banisters and let them go for it). 

The postie rings your door bell and then literally runs away from the door like he’s egged your house. Going for a food shop feels like you’re heading into the Zombie danger zone and you even need nerves of steel to go for your daily exercise. Our liberty has virtually been taken away from us.

So don’t be disappointed in yourself; give yourself a break! It’s ok to have those bad days, it’s ok that we haven’t been quite as productive as we might have hoped. It’s ok that our chocolate intake has risen (a little)…

So how has my routine changed?

Well, not changed, adapted is a better word. These are uncertain times, so take advantage of that. Try new things and new ways of setting yourself goals. For some people, time is plentiful right now, so if that’s you, experiment with things. Find out what helps, what doesn’t. Try new techniques, whether it’s a list or a spider diagram. See what does, and doesn’t work for you.

What I have discovered is that setting myself all these tasks to do in a day was just overwhelming.  Although some days it was fine, on others I looked at my list and wanted to cry.

So, I now I have a ‘Master List’. The Master List is the big, giant list of alllll the things that need doing, from cleaning the oven to catching up on my hiking journal.

I also have a list of exercise routines I do, whether it’s a run, a HIIT session, weights, yoga, mindfulness and so on. 

Each day, I try keep to my usual household routine, I tend to do the cleaning, washing etc. on the same days I always did. And then, whilst sipping on my morning coffee, I can judge how I feel that day, what the weathers like, how energetic or lazy I feel, right down to how my coffee tastes. And then, depending on my mood, I choose one thing of my master list, and one thing of my exercise list to do that day.

On the days I’m feeling super productive, I will get that first one done and go back for more, but on the days I don’t feel great, I can choose something nice and easy. That way, even on the bad days I still get to tick something off, which, in turn, makes me feel so much better. On that Master List I have everything from the energetic, big tasks to the simplest of things like trying a new recipe. It just means, even on the bad days you’ll feel like you’ve at least accomplished something. 

Another thing I’ve discovered is keeping some stuff to do for the afternoon, slowing my flow just a little. I’m super proud of how much exercise I have been doing, I’m determined to come out of this fitter, not fatter. And I want to be ready to push my climbing to the next level. I tend to alternate days that I run, or do weights, or a HIIT session. But I’ve been doing yoga every day, sometimes for only half an hour, sometimes longer.

I like to do my exercise in the morning, that way it’s over and done with and I don’t need to think about dragging myself out for a run later. But I now keep my yoga session which I do over Facetime with my niece in the afternoon.

A – because she’s a teenager and trying to get her up in the morning was becoming tiresome (she’s now on her Easter holidays from home-schooling so has no need to get up before noon). And B – because it gives me something nice to do later on in the day, I look forward to it and gives me a wee boost in the awkward few hours after lunch.

On the whole, please pause and give yourself a big pat on the back, or a nice hug. You’re doing great, we are all doing great. And remember, on those really rubbish days, reach out. We are here for you.

If you want to keep in touch take a look at our lockdown activities to see if there’s something there for you.

1 Comment
  • Lorna fewtrell
    April 22, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Lovely article. I am a big fan of lists and realise that, while I have never thought of it as such, I too have a master list and then subsidiary daily lists. I try to get a few things on my daily list the night before – if I come down to am empty list I have discovered I have a crap day and totally lack motivation.
    Knowing you are going to have bad days (and allowing yourself to have bad days) is useful. You are not alone – we are all having them.

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