At the beginning of social distancing, I envisaged that lockdown was definitely going to be a challenge for my little family, however I never anticipated how difficult it would get! Trying to work from home, both myself and my husband, homeschooling our 4 year old, whilst trying to entertain our 2 year old (who is currently in the throws of the ‘tantrum-y terrible twos’), breaking up on-going sibling punch ups, whilst trying to keep some kind of sanity – yep it was going to be tough! Forever the optimist though, and at times, yes it has been super challenging, we managed to juggle through everything and try to remain positive and safe.
As if I didn’t have enough to concentrate on, I decided to take on the 21 day self care challenge (please see my ‘Isolation motivation – are you up for a challenge’ post for more info). I was looking for that zap of energy, I felt sluggish after being cooped up in the house for 4 weeks and was in need of some isolation motivation – so I accepted the challenge.
The 21 day self care challenge included the following:
I had to choose 2 things to drop from my life over 21 days from the following list.
- All white carbs, or bread and,
- Sugar (inc. sweets, chocolate and fruit juice)
And choose to add 2 things into my life over 21 days.
- Drink 2L of water per day and,
- Extra 2,000 steps a day (try to get above 10,000 a day)
So how did I do? – Focusing on the positives . . .
At the beginning of the self care challenge, I lost someone very close to me to covid and another family member had contracted the virus whilst being in hospital. It was a hard time for me and my family and restrictions around funerals made it even tougher. What we were seeing on the news suddenly became our reality and it was very real for us. Not being able to be with loved ones at such a difficult time was hard.
I’ve always enjoyed exercise and going to the gym. Exercise has helped me in the past to gain focus and control during difficult times in my life and I was keen on getting back into it. I was in the middle of Joe Wick’s 90 day plan before I fell pregnant with my second child, but I was looking for a different type of exercise, ‘not a quick HITT’, something I could escape into. I always enjoyed running at school but hadn’t ran since then. I decided to download the Couch to 5K app and give it a try. To begin with I was anxious about being able to run again but now after 6 weeks using the app – I’m loving it! It’s helped to clear my mind and it’s given me some ‘me-time’ back. Some mornings I wake up and I can’t wait to run, it’s definitely lifted my spirits and helped my mental health.
I am now able to easily get above 10,000 steps and an extra 2,000 a day on my Fitbit. As I’m exercising more I’m also finding that I’m able to drink 2L of water per day. I have more energy and feel fitter in myself.
I’ve found it hard to cut out white carbs and sugar completely, so I eat them occasionally and monitor my food/drink intake – everything in moderation. We are all going to have bad days and slip ups – it’s just remembering to not be too hard on ourselves when we do and know that tomorrow is always another day to reboot and start being good again!
What I have learnt from the 21 day self care challenge is to make time for me – something that is often hard to do especially when I have a young family. I’ve also dropped another thing from the list which I feel has helped me mentally. I’ve now permanently turned off my work app notifications, this is a huge thing for me as I’m a bit of a workaholic, but my ‘family time’ is no longer interrupted by work notifications on days when I’m not working. When I am working is when I deal with any notifications and only then.
Taking a step back from online chat has helped me to re-focus on my work and what I need to get done during the day. Having a busy and very noisy current working environment, it can often feel overwhelming – it’s full on 24/7. I’m finding it useful to make to-do lists and preparing as much as I can for each day, it helps me to stay on track with work and homeschooling and it helps the children if we have some kind of routine. If I’m able to tick off one thing on the list then I feel I’ve achieved at least one thing during the day. We are all going through our own rollercoaster of emotions and experiencing very different stresses during this unsettling time. Being kind to one another and being supportive is key to getting through this!
I’m glad I took on the 21 day self care challenge and I think it’s a useful tool to dip in and out of when you are feeling a bit low, particularly during lockdown and looking for some motivation. It’s helped me to get back on track after a difficult time and become stronger both mentally and physically. Isolating with children, working and homeschooling, all confined to the lounge can feel at times very exhausting and claustrophobic. The 21 day challenge has helped me to remember how crucial it is to take some time out for me, even if it is a short run and breathe!