Update 03/10 – 11/10 2020

I am still struggling with motivation regarding my blog and where I am going with it. I am signed up to get e-mails from Pete McPherson who runs the “Do You Even Blog” podcast and had one at the beginning of October talking about how his motivation was down because of all the changes that have taken place during this pandemic and, reading it, I realised that most of my lack of motivation is down to the Coronavirus. At this moment in time, where I live is back on a local lockdown and it seems that one day we are able to do thigs then the next we can’t and no one really knows what we are supposed to, or not supposed to be doing. Its really tiring and is all leaving me a bit lacklustre and drained.

Last Saturday was the boys Birthday, he turned 40. We had planned to have a big party, a room was booked for the party, a band was booked, food was planned and the guests invited but because of all the different restrictions across Wales and the rest of the UK it couldn’t go ahead. The boy went for a walk with a couple of friends and went target practicing, had a fire and came home a bit cold and wet as the weather wasn’t that good. We had a few drinks but nothing special, he liked his day but it wasn’t as special as it could have been.

I’ve been in work all week, we are running on a skeleton staff as most people are now working from home. It has been quiet in work but really busy as we are finalising payments. Work have slowly been rolling out laptops to all staff so we can work from home , its a slow process as all the software used varies from office to office depending on what our job role requires us to have access to, we need vpn access and network access along with a ton of other things. I received my laptop on Tuesday and had it up and working fully by Wednesday so was able to work from home on Friday. I was a bit apprehensive about how working from home would be, especially as my motivation has been so low lately but I really liked it. I had my wax melt burner going and was able to listen to podcasts without my headphones on, there were no interruptions and I could concentrate on what I had to do. It was a really nice day!

Over the weekend we have been sorting the house out, since the boy moved in we have had loads of stuff to sort out, tidy up and things that we needed to get rid of. We have a tip not far from our house and I finally was able to book a visit slot to get rid of some stuff. Our tip, as part of the COVID restrictions has put measures in place that mean each visit needs to be prebooked, your car registration given and a time slot chosen, only one person can go, any others need to remain in the car and if you miss your time slot then you need to re-book. The system is pretty good though I was doubtful about getting a weekend slot so I was surprised to get one this weekend. The boy filled his car up and took the stuff down and got rid of it then we spent time sorting out the downstairs of our house. It feels loads better now and it’s starting to look much better than before! I wish I had taken some before photos, I’ll share an after photo soon!

I’m not sure how this week is going to pa out and what the plans are, I’m not sure if I will be working from home at all this week yet. I am off on Friday though, I have a day’s annual leave booked as it is my Birthday. I plan to spend the day doing nothing, Lol! I might have a lie in and a lazy day with Roxy and potter about. I have a few art things to work on, I started Inktober though I am a bit behind, I may spend the day doodling for that. I have also been writing for The Everyday, an online magazine which is really worth checking out, there are so many good articles on there (especially ones by someone called Suzi Tench 😉 . I have an idea for another article that I want to write and may pitch the idea this week and make a start on writing the article on Friday if not before then.

Are any of you struggling with your motivation? How are you dealing with it? I’d love to hear your opinions on motivation and the Coronavirus in the comments!

Guess Who’s Back? An Update

It’s been months since I last wrote a blog post and so much has happened in that time,  I have had a few weeks away from work with an unidentified sickness which was thought to be Coronavirus (this was pre-testing) which then developed into a 4 week, 2 lots of antibiotics, battle with a chest infection.  On top of that, I have had to take further time off from work as I had been in contact with someone who started to show Covid symptoms to shield my co-workers and make sure I was not unwell.  All of this and the uncertainty of the past few months in general have really knocked me off kilter with my routines and writing which has meant that blogging has been pretty hard to keep up with.

Though I have not been blogging I have still been writing, Iwrote an article for an on-line magazine called The Everyday that you can find here https://theeverydaymagazine.co.uk/opinion/working-from-home-before-and-after-covid?rq=suzi%20tench and I have written another article for them that should be published at some point in September.

I started the 100 Day Project(https://www.the100dayproject.org/), a free art project lasting 100 days, which started on 7th April 2020, where you aim to do something creative each day for 100 days.  I started with the good intensions of being able to complete the 100 days but gave up around 20 days because I just felt so unmotivated to do any art.  I had started with an idea to work on an 8×8 inch square each day that would link together with other squares to form a bigger picture.  In all honesty, though I really enjoyed what I was doing, I think I was overly ambitious in the sizing of my squares that took more than a day to complete.  I think I will do the project again next year with the same concept but use much smaller squares of either 4×4 inch or 2×2 inch as they will be quicker to complete.

I found a fab group on Facebook called Frock Up Friday thatwas set up by Susan Sims and Bevali Francis during lockdown and gave members an excuse to get dressed up on Fridays when much of the world was working from home in comfortable clothes.  I joined and have taken part in frocking up on several Fridays during lockdown, which has helped me with my mental health during these uncertain times and has given me something to look forward to each week.  The Frock Up Friday group are lovely and the outfit’s people post, not just on a Friday, are amazing!

The biggest thing that happened just prior and during lockdown was that I gained a new boyfriend who has moved in with me!  I say new, though we grew up together, his sister and I were best friends through secondary school and her family became like my second family when growing up.  We have been in contact much of our adult live, mostly via social media, and decided to meet for a drink one evening and didn’tstop talking all night.  It has been lovely to have someone in my life who has known me through the years and has shared memories of things we did as kids.  A few months ago, we made the decision to move in together, he gave notice on the place he had been living in and moved in with me.

Since Rob and I got together and lockdown has eased, we have been away several times for the weekend, once we went to St David’s for the weekend to visit his mum and other weekends we have stayed in Brean walking along the beach, going out for dinner, having a mosey around the market or playing games in the arcades.  We have spent nights in during the week, watching tv, cooking food, having takeaways, listening to music and enjoying the odd glass of cider or wine.  When it was really hot, back in July, we bought a large paddling pool that we put in the garden, filled with water and sat out in the evenings watching the sun go down and the stars come out.  All this stuff, things that people take for granted in relationships, I didn’t realise I missed until I had it back in my life.

Anyway, that’s enough of the soppy stuff…  What have you all been up to while I have been away?  I hope you are all well and safe!  Hopefully, this post will be the start of more regular blog posts coming from me as I have really missed my blog, blog friends ad my blogging routine!

Coronavirus, Lockdown and Me

***This post is image-heavy***

 

I’ve been off from work for a few weeks now, I was really poorly with something – aches, tiredness, shortness of breath, coughing and a sore throat which wasn’t good.  My temperature spiked on Easter Monday to 38.3 and by Tuesday I felt awful.  I phoned the dr and had a telephone consultation where he said from the sounds of my symptoms I could have contracted the virus but now it sounded like a chest infection as I was coughing up some funky coloured phlegm, and have been prescribed antibiotics.  The prescription was sent to my local pharmacy and I had a bit of trouble getting it – queued for ages at the pharmacy who couldn’t find my prescription so I had to call the dr to re-send it and managed to get my antibiotics on Friday.

I’ve been taking my antibiotics since Friday and am still feeling rough but getting better slowly and I’m so thankful that we have got an NHS service that can provide us with these things and take care of us.

I’ve been on lockdown and in isolation for nearly 3 weeks now and it can be a struggle, I find myself getting a bit lonely and my stress and anxiety haven’t been too good, and coupled with being ill it has been hard at times, but I have found some ways to cope and cheer myself up.  Our street takes part in the Clap for Carers at 8pm on a Thursday which I have been joining in with from my doorstep, its nice to see the neighbours and be part of something nice.  I have also been joining in with Frock Up Friday which is a fantastic group full of the most lovely people who all get dressed up on a Friday and post their outfits to the group, I’ve never been part of a more lovely and inspiring group!  It has even encouraged me to get dressed up during the week too, and I have been making an effort with my outfit and makeup choices each day.  I find that making an effort to dress up is making me feel a bit less ill and it has altered my mindset in a positive way.

And I am working on the 100 Day Project which runs for 100 days!  People can choose to do anything over the 100 days, I’ve seen people doing 100 days of baking, dancing, singing, sketching, sewing, all sorts!  It’s not just for artists and anyone can take part!  I decided to do 100 days of squares and am doing 8×8 inch squares which will all link together to form a big picture which I want to hang in my spare room.  I am using the project to try out lots of different mediums and techniques so the outcome should be really interesting.  I am a few days behind as I have been working on linking the pictures together and re-working some things as I go along so its not really been a square a day but, I have been “arting” each day!

Here’s some of my work on the project so far…

How are you all?  what have you been up to?  I hope you are all staying safe and well!

Words on Wednesday

wednesday-3

It seems that I could have contracted the Coronavirus.  I haven’t been feeling 100% for the past week and have been self-isolating for the second time since last Wednesday.  I have had another cough and sore throat which I had put down to having really bad hayfever but isolated again just to be on the safe side.  For the past few days, I have been feeling pretty short of breath like I have just run somewhere or have been rushing about even though all I have done is go upstairs for something and come back down.  I phoned work to let them know how I am feeling and that I would be isolating for a bit longer.  Aside from the shortness of breath and the odd coughing fit I don’t feel too bad in all, just really anxious and worried about the whole virus situation.

I decided not to watch the news as I was getting pretty triggered by it and have had a few panic attacks, instead I only watch one news programme – the update each day, and I will read the news update on the Guardian app on my phone if I miss the daily tv news.  This has been helping to control the anxiety I have been feeling.  I have also been practising mindfulness for half an hour each day – lighting incense, listening to some calming meditation music and just breathing.

I have been chatting to friends on the phone daily and am grateful that we have video calling, and have spent a few hours chatting with friends and being able to see their faces.  I have been working on my blog and planning future posts that I want to write which have been nice as I feel that, after the patchy internet episode I had the other month, I have been neglecting my blog and routine somewhat.  I have even managed to do a few hours work in the garden the other day as the sun has been shining.

I have a few different things I want to do, many of which I feel should wait until I feel less out of breath – finish painting the kitchen, add a few different coloured strips to the wall where my desk is located in my spare room, sanding down some desk drawers I was given and re-painting them, the list goes on!

But, for now, I have a new project that I am undertaking which started yesterday, its called The 100 Day Project.  The project runs for 100 Days and you can choose to do anything in that 100 days, so far I have seen posts from people who will be undertaking 100 days of dance, workouts, baking, card making, weaving, drawing, writing and all sorts of other activities in-between.  I have decided to take part and am working on one 8×8 inch square of paper each day, creating a pattern on it that will link to the next square and so on.  I am hoping, by the end of it to have 100 squares that are all linked together and forming an 80×80 inch square made up of 10×10 8inch squares which I will be fixing together to hang in my spare room.  I will be putting the date on the back of each square and am thinking about journaling something onto the backs so I can look back on it in years to come and remember what I was doing.

How is everyone?  Are there any projects you are currently working on?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Coronavirus, Anxiety and Me

I have been in self-isolation for the past week and I am on the verge of returning to work after this 7 day period at home.  I have been ok physically but, as the coronavirus outbreak is worsening I am really starting to struggle with my mental health.

Last year I was absent from work with stress, anxiety and depression for nearly 6 months and up until a few days ago I felt pretty stable but now I am starting to struggle, especially with the anxiety side of my mental health.

I went shopping, as I usually do on payday and I normally buy much that I need for the month ahead.  In the days leading up to going shopping, I was hearing stories of the shops selling out of essentials that I normally buy monthly which started my anxiety levels to rise.

I get paid monthly, I live on my own, I have bills to pay and my monthly salary just about covers that along with food and other things I might need.  I have very little room monthly to save any money and budgeting for food is one way that I can keep in some kind of control of my finances.  When I went shopping (and I visited 3 different supermarkets), not one had items that I rely on for my monthly food shop.  I eat a lot of pasta, at least 3 times a week as I know that what I cook will do me for 3 meals (one that evening, then lunch with the leftovers for tea), there were no tins of baked beans that I eat on toast at least 2 times a week, there was no veg, the freezers were empty save for a few tubs of ice-cream.  There were no toilet rolls or dog food, laundry products, hand wash, bath products or bin bags.  This has caused me a lot of worry and expense.  I need to eat, my dog needs to eat and I have a budget that I really can’t go too far away from.

In the end, I was forced to buy dog food and pasta on-line (Amazon had some stocks available) but I paid over the odds.  Roxy usually has one type of food and I couldn’t get that so instead of spending the usual £9 on a bag I had to buy something that was similar in nutritional value and ingredients that cost twice as much.  And I have had to bulk buy pasta online spending a lot more than I usually do.

In addition to that, I am getting really anxious about how this virus will affect those around me, both my Mum and Dad are in the at-risk group and are retired and I am worried about their health and how they will manage in having to isolate themselves with things like food shopping and just remaining safe.  My brother is also in self-isolation for the foreseeable future as he is asthmatic.

I have been watching the news, not constantly but the important parts of it as the advice the government are giving seems to change on a daily, if not hourly, basis.  I don’t know whether watching it is making my anxiety worse or not but I do know that I would rather be armed with the facts and be up to date with advice that is being given.

I’m worried about going back to work, and I can’t help panicking about what would happen if I picked up the virus and carried it to my parents or transferred it to someone else and I am worried about how the virus could affect me.

I’m worried about what will happen with work and if the office will remain open and about working from home.  I was planning on getting broadband put into my home this month but can no longer afford to do so as my food bill was more than I had planned.  Not having broadband and having to rely on mobile internet might be ok for blogging and other general browsing but I don’t have enough data to work from home for 7.5 hours a day for 5 days let alone afford to do this indefinitely.  I don’t even know if working from home would be an option when the work I do means that I have access to personal data.

And I am worried about having an extended period of time away from work, whether I will still get paid, whether I will still have a job to go back to should I take leave and whether, if I have to have time off again due to my mental health (which was stable before this virus pandemic) whether it will go down as sick leave and how that will affect my sickness record and pay.

I am just really anxious and worried about everything at the moment and I’m struggling to see anything in a positive light with so few answers to any questions, the advice we are being given changing constantly and all these stupid people who are panic buying and making the situation even worse in the grand scheme of things.