April 2020 Link Up with A Chronic Voice: Lockdown Life!
This month, I thought I’d take part in the April 2020 Linkup Party for people with chronic illnesses, over at A Chronic Voice. The link parties are a monthly get together for anyone with a chronic illness/condition.
It’s been a funny old month, what with the Coronavirus pandemic forcing the UK into a complete lockdown. So in light of this, I thought I’d use the prompts this month to get some of my thoughts and feelings down.
Before lockdown, I was pretty stressed if I’m honest. I was living life on full speed, cramming so much in that I neglected myself and self care. I was training for a marathon, and it consumed my life. Weekends were taken up with preparing for and recovering from long runs of up to 20 miles. I was, in all honesty, exhausted and in pain most of the time. Training for a marathon puts a real stress on your body, and even more so when you have scoliosis.
Just a week before the marathon was cancelled, I had just done my longest run of 20 miles. I had reached the end of my training and was supposed to be entering the “taper” phase of the training plan, where you reduce the miles ready for the big day. My legs were heavy, my muscles were tight and I had blisters, bleeding feet and a bruised toe nail.
I was absolutely gutted when the marathon was cancelled at that late stage of my training. All those Saturday mornings where I got up at 4.30am and ran in the cold, what a waste, I thought. My training was in the winter months, so most of my runs were in the dark and freezing rain.
It was devastating at the time, but I know that cancelling the marathon was necessary and after several weeks in lockdown, I actually feel so much better. The forced rest has meant my legs have recovered, and I’ve enjoyed slowing down and running for the fun of it again, rather than following an intense training plan, where running was painful and not enjoyable.
I have also had the time to make more time for myself and spend time on the things that make me feel good during lockdown. I have returned to spending time writing for my blog for example and I have also been doing yoga daily. Usually I neglect things like this as I have so many other daily pressures, people to see places to go, that I don’t always have the time. It’s nice to return to myself without having the worry that I’m missing out on something else, as there’s not much to miss out on at the moment!
Lockdown may not be fun in many respects, but it has forced me to stop, which has taught me that it’s important to slow down and look after yourself once in a while.
In the past, I think we have all been guilty of taking certain things for granted. For example, that we can order items off Amazon and get them the same day, that we can go out to the supermarkets and get whatever we like, whenever we like, that our bins will get emptied each week. These are all things that I think before all of this, many of us never really thought about. I know I will certainly appreciate these things much more after this is over.
But this pandemic has highlighted that it is because of the keyworkers, those who work in warehouses and supermarkets, for example, most of whom are on low wages, that our county can keep running.
Then there’s the NHS – we are so lucky to have the NHS in the UK and in the past it has been taken for granted by many, and not given the necessary funding. I really hope that people, and the government, remember this once this is over.
I think another thing all this has highlighted as well, is that many people take their health for granted. Having scoliosis and undergoing major spinal surgery, has meant that I have never taken my health for granted. I appreciate all the things I can do as there was a time that I couldn’t do half the things I do now. This is why I do my best to look after my health and keep fit now. Hopefully, a lasting result of all this will be that more people take their health seriously and look after themselves going forwards.
We are all distancing ourselves from others at the moment as a result of social distancing in a bid to control the spread of this virus. I’m actually finding that distancing is a good thing for me, which sounds odd I know.
I’m an introvert so I like my own space. I quite like how the world has slowed down, and when I go out I like how quiet and peaceful it is. I wish it could always be this way. I feel like I have space to reflect and think without feeling pressured to do something or be somewhere.
I do miss seeing my friends and family but it’s not so bad, as with technology, we are always connected.
It’s a stressful time for everyone at the minute with so much fear and unknown surrounding the coronavirus.
I’m not feeling too bad. I’m managing to manage my stress and anxiety through yoga and running.
Although there are a few things that are stressing me out at the moment.
Trips to the supermarket stress me out. People get too close and don’t follow the one way systems and 2m social distancing rules that are put in place. For these reasons, going to the supermarket just gives me anxiety at the moment.
Trying to avoid people when I’m out running is also pretty stressful. I’m trying to find more isolated routes or go later on in the evenings when it’s quieter but it can still be hard to avoid people.
My scheduled trip to Machu Picchu later this year is also something that is weighing on my mind. This year it has been 10 years since my scoliosis surgery, and I planned to celebrate by completing the Manchester marathon in April and then completing a charity trek to Machu Picchu in October to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.
Obviously the marathon has now been cancelled. I’m hoping Machu Picchu will go ahead, but I need to raise over £3,000 for the trip and I’m stressing about how I’m going to do this whilst in lockdown and with all this going on.
Charities are taking a real knock at the moment with everything going on, as they rely on funding from events such as the marathons that have been cancelled. So I feel like it’s more important than ever for me to crack on and try and raise my funds as planned.
It’s not all doom and gloom!
I think we need to celebrate the good that has come out of this pandemic. Communities pulling together to help and support each other, businesses innovating in order to cheer people up and add value to peoples lives. Pollution levels dropping, families spending more time together etc.
We are also fortunate that we have technology – WiFi, Netflix, YouTube and many online resources that make lockdown bearable.
I also celebrate that i can still go out and run, as it’s keeping me sane at the moment. I know this isn’t the case in all countries.
It’s important to think about what we have rather than what we don’t have at times like these. I wrote a blog post on this a few weeks ago – 5 positives we can take from lockdown.
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How are you getting on with lockdown life? Let me know in the comments below!
Stay safe everyone,
I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.