I know I’m not the only one who has found motivation running away from me. I’ve found it really difficult to know what to post on our social feeds with all that’s going on, so I thought I’d talk about things that I have found have helped me cope in lockdown.
3 tips that I’m sometimes good at doing. Sometimes awful at doing. But that’s ok too. We all have good days and bad days. But if one result of lockdown is learning to look after ourselves a little bit more, then that’s not a bad thing is it?
1. Doing nothing is productive.
This year, for the first time in years, Rob and I did very little over Christmas and New Year.
Usually, the week is filled by staying at different family and friends’ houses, seeing as many people as we can. It’s fabulous seeing everyone, but it’s exhausting sleeping in a different bed every night for a week (I don’t know how touring artists do it!).
This year was obviously different. We stayed at home in Manchester. Just the 2 of us. We’ve never done Christmas with just us before.
I even did my best to avoid social media for a few days too. (I found that quite hard!)
What we did realise was how much we both needed to rest.
We needed to take time off.
To sit and do nothing.
And it was wonderful.
So my promise to myself is to do more of nothing. Even just for a few hours each week.
Doing nothing is productive.
2. Turn off the tech
This has been equally one of the most helpful but most difficult to actually do. Turning off my tech.
I’ve stopped listening to the radio (almost totally) as the constant news bulletins and COVID updates were bringing me down. (Obviously, this won’t be an issue if – like Rob – you’re editing/recording all day).
We try to have a day at the weekend that is mostly off-screen, so I’ve been cooking loads, we’ve gone for walks, sat and listened to music, brewed beer. I’ve done jigsaws, started cross-stitching and played my piano. I’ve even sorted draws, cleaned the oven and defrosted the freezer (I know!).
My mobile gets switched to ‘do not disturb’ around 9pm now so I can’t see if emails have come in. I don’t know if anyone has posted on socials. I’m not getting any alerts.
This change has made a huge difference to how positive and rested I feel (we’re still bingeing Netflix though). I promise you I’ve found it really, really hard. I have to put my phone in another room or I break and sometimes it doesn’t work and I look anyway. Or I just pick up the iPad. Or laptop.
3. I find this easier to say than do but set your own pace.
We are constantly bombarded with things screaming at us to DO THIS NOW! If you don’t do this thing now, you’ll miss out on something totally amazing. You’ll probably miss an opportunity of a lifetime. You’ll save a fortune if you just do it NOW!
ARGH! It makes me want to scream back and yell ‘Leave me alone!’
When I put that pressure on myself and force myself to do something, I start to resent it. Things slip, and I stop doing the thing I feel I should be doing. That constant bombardment to DO THIS NOW makes me feel guilty. And usually results in nothing lasting for more than a few days or weeks.
BUT, when I set my own pace, I’m more likely to do the thing.
A little encouragement and the occasional reminder is good (I like a nudge or encouragement from someone else to do that thing I really don’t want to do). But please, don’t scream DO THIS NOW OR ELSE at me.
You can read more about our approach to non-shouty marketing in my blog here.
And Rob and I promise to not do that to you either. And if we do ever slip up, feel free to remind us. I give you permission to shout it at us.
Lockdown and other events this year have taught me that some days it’s OK to admit I’m having a bad day. That I’m just staring at my screen, not getting anything done. Get up. Go for a walk, or switch the Xbox on. For 30 minutes, an hour or half a day – whatever you need. And go back to that thing another time. Usually, the break allows my head to re-set a little. And then I can crack on again.
So here’s to the days we can go to theatres, sit in beer gardens in the sun and laugh with our friends, visit our family whenever we want and just be us again. But until then, I send huge virtual hugs.