The last 12 months have challenged us all in ways we never expected. I’ve teetered near the edge many times… but somehow I’m managing to keep it together while the world feels like it is falling apart.
So this is our new normal. It’s a year into the pandemic, and we’re still wearing masks. We’re still working from home and staying away from our loved ones, and still social distancing.
How did we get here?
In the UK, we first went into lockdown in March 2020. I didn’t know we’d still be here now, but did anybody? We were certain we’d be out in time for summer, weren’t we? I was hoping we could get reacquainted with our old ways of living and prepare to indulge in freedom again. But it hasn’t turned out that way at all.
In the UK we are in our third national lockdown. Although I was expecting it, this one has hit me hard. Any hopes of being back to normal have flown swiftly out the window. Now I’m just focusing on getting through each day.
At this point in this worldwide experience, I’m really missing being around people. More specifically, being around people I didn’t give birth to. It’s gone past the point of missing my friends and family members, now I feel starved of social interaction overall. Most weeks, the only time I speak to another adult is when I do the food shop at Aldi.
Finding motivation was a myth
It feels more challenging to keep it together right now. I’ve honestly been searching for motivation since the 1st of Jan, but I haven’t found it yet. I’ve felt a numbness, a hopelessness empty feeling that couldn’t be filled with Netflix or takeaways. Not even voice notes on WhatsApp are working their magic on me.
Here’s my situation:
I’m a single parent who works part-time. My children are, of course, home with me while the schools are closed to non-key-worker children. My children have online lessons and work to do, usually, at the same time that I’m working. I’ve been a teaching assistant and tech support to help them with the transition to online learning. It’s been particularly challenging helping them both while also doing my paid job; holding meetings and trying to concentrate on deliverables while also trying to parent. I can’t be in three places at once, but I’m having to at least try to get this to work.
By the time I’ve finished my day job, it’s time for lunch. Then I help my youngest child with her maths work, as that’s the one subject she needs the most of my support with. After, it’s time for me to wash up, make an afternoon snack, do some sort of housework. Then get ready to start making dinner. Bedtime feels like a warzone at times; by the time my children have gone to bed, I’m too knackered to do anything for myself. So I go to bed, sleep, wake up, and repeat.
I am with my children 15 hours per day, 6 days a week. I get a break for 24 hours at the weekend, which I’m grateful for as I know many single parents don’t even get that. During this time, I catch up on housework, do a food shop, go for a walk at my local park. Every week feels the same. Every week is the same.
Planning is helping me cope
I struggle to concentrate at work. I barely get time to breathe. My head feels like it might explode sometimes. But somehow, I’m coping, and I’ve been thinking about what it is I’m doing that’s keeping me going; having a plan.
In a time where the outside world doesn’t make sense or bring comfort, I’ve been desperate to keep it together at home. So, now I plan everything and it is actually helping me loads. Plans keep my anxiety at bay because I know what to expect, and help me think less and do more when I’m feeling mentally exhausted.
I have a few different plans that I’m using right now:
- a daily self-care plan
- a weekly meal timetable (which I also use to write my shopping list)
- weekly activity plan – for me and my children
- daily plan – a gorgeous daily planner that I write in before I go to bed.
It might seem like such a simple thing but it’s changing everything for me. It’s eased a little pressure and gives me some structure for our homelife.
At first, I was trying to do the most but now I’m mindful of what I actually have the capacity for. I’m learning that part of keeping it together is also about accepting where I am, where the world is at right now. Letting go of normal has given me room to adapt and change, and that feels much better than resisting it all right now.
How about you, my love? How are you keeping it together? Let me know in the comments.
Need help with planning? Click here to book onto my Power Planner workshop.
With love x