Garden Glimpses

two squirrels


Dave's notebook

Exhaustion in lockdown. Peta Bee investigates, Times Jan 23rd. John Leach suggests this is an adaptation to not knowing - when it will end, what is really going on with variants, are the vaccines actually the answer? So to the suggestions -

* No lying in bed and no falling asleep in front of the TV. Guilty as charged. Even if it's only 9.00 pm, go to bed.

* Eat. Fresh and varied. 2 litres of fluid per day. Not too late for the evening meal (6-7 pm?). We try. And don't drink alcohol late at night. Yes spot on - try and have a 4 hour break before bed. Think about Vitamin D and iron supplements.

* Reframe goals. Maybe not possible to plan short term work, fitness and social goals. These are maybe mostly activities outside the home, on the go. Reframing could be more about planning stuff within the home. Have a go at something simple. Not so easy when I always make stuff more complicated or break off before finishing. 
    Two daily routines. (1) Regular schedule like mealtimes - coffee, coffee, lunch, coffee, beer o'clock, evening meal, chocolate (2) Plan to fill in those spaces - exercise, hobbies - yoga, writing or getting finances in order. Pilates? a Blog? phoning a friend, social events - zoom for example. This is best done as a partnership, otherwise another's expectations might get in the way. 
    Sounds a bit busy to me and a bit contradictory. Smile and don't worry - try again the next day. 

* Slow exercise. Fitness is not all about busting the machines. Slow jog or walk for 20 minutes three times a week. Don't sit around all day. Get up from that chair every 30 minutes and go for a little walk.

* Get outside early. The dark months really do suck.

* Relaxation. Setting aside a quiet time and this sounds great. Reducing 'the processing of non-essential information' and moving away from ruminative and negative thoughts. This I get but don't always do. It's simple, measurable and enjoyable (SMART goals; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound). As long as you like, but I find 30 minutes a bit of stretch. I'm a Simon Barnes 'bottomless sit' person. Best in the garden. Let thoughts drift in and out. Tune into the periphery of the senses - sight and hearing. Having a breathing technique helps. It's mindlessness I'm after.

* Get scrubbed up each evening.

* Measure how you are doing. Improvement in tiredness is the overall goal. Otherwise Hmmm - how do you measure the simple things in life? Most of us will agree with most of this stuff. We must forgive ourselves if we struggle. Having a go maybe is achievement enough, but keep having a go.

So summary. We have never been perfect. We try and not surprise each other with a walk or housework when we've planned something else. Beer o'clock finishes 6.30 pm. I write something every day. We could exercise more. I could sit in the garden more. The reframing goals is hard - keep it simple and make it regular. Smile and don't worry - try again the next day or phone a friend. The childbride does.

The stoic dichotomy of control - 'The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control' — Epictetus. Discourses. II.5. 

When it will end, what is really going on with variants, are the vaccines actually the answer? Don't know - live with it. Compared to bereaved families and families with children of school age or any age come to that, we have it easy.

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