My week … the one with a lot of steps

The reference in this week’s title isn’t some new year lockdown health craze, its simply been a challenging week and my way to destress is to run and I’ve needed to run lots of miles this week. Within the pandemic, I feel that this has been the toughest week, its January, its been cold and / or wet and the pandemic just seems more real and dangerous. This week the country has recorded the highest numbers of deaths in the pandemic and the situation appears very grim.

Personally, work has dominated my week. Its very busy during the day and with my new role comes new responsibilities and I’ve needed to complete 2 virtual courses in the evenings to enable me to do these tasks in work. I’ve also had to renew my DSL training (child protection) so also attended a TEAMS training course this week. I always find this training quite harrowing, so coupled with my nhs training on administering the rapid flow Covid tests, safer recruitment training and safeguarding its been a week. Not every week will be like this, unfortunately, its simply been a perfect storm of events and circumstances.

Given this week (and there’s more but its not appropriate for me to write about) I did think I would struggle to have any highlights, I’ve not opened a book which is so rare for me and its lockdown so life is very limited. However, I did manage to find a few sparkles from the week.

Vaccines

The biggest highlight this week was that my 89 year old father in law got his first Covid vaccine. He has been so careful and I haven’t seen him in nearly a year, so to know that he’s been vaccinated and it will be safe to see him soon made me quite emotional. My dad who has some underlying health conditions and is nearly 75 gets his first vaccination tomorrow. It is a wonderful feeling that we have the vaccines and our most vulnerable are receiving it.

Lockdown Learner of the week

I am so grateful that Mr S is ‘retired’ as I couldn’t do what I do at work without him being at home for us all. He is home school teacher, although this time, it is slightly more relaxed for him as its live lessons and much more a typical school day. On Friday, Mr S emailed me through the latest letter from school and told me to read it carefully. To my surprise and delight, our daughter was the school’s lockdown learner of the week and today received her prize voucher in the post. It was definitely a proud mum (and dad and grandparents) moment and just the news I needed after a tough week.

My first milestone on the Virtual Lands End to John O’Groats virtual run.

With the daily exercise rule in lockdown I’m not able to follow my usual running pattern and am tending to run on the days when I work as other days are family exercise time. Running is my therapy and I’ve just gone and run this week, no plans of times and routes, just the steady repetition of one foot in front of another. I got my first milestone on the Lands End to John O’Groats run this week by passing the 50 mile mark. Its a virtual postcard but a nice little reminder of the challenge and the places I’ve ‘run’ past en route in Cornwall. Its also the only way to ‘see’ all these places at present.

And finally

Another week with nothing on the calendar except a food delivery. I miss all the little things so much and feel at present, its about getting through each day as positively as we can.

My week … the one with Lockdown 3.0

Well this was definitely an eventful week, promotion at work, Lockdown 3.0, the restart of home learning and the completion of my university course. Its the sort of week in which you can’t actually think about all that is going on, otherwise it would totally overwhelm you. However, I do try to compartmentalise my life to maintain my sanity and humour and this has helped me to get through the week. I do this by breaking down my day into different sessions and devote each time to different part of my life. It has also been essential to get out on my own everyday to walk or run and simply to gather my thoughts.

Lockdown 3.0 did not come as a surprise, the scientists had predicted the second wave and it hit just as they said it would. At work we had taken heed of their warnings in November at the start of Lockdown 2.0 and we have continued with our lockdown plans since then. At home, I was surprised by the announcement that the schools’ closure would last until at least half term. Our son really struggled with the long lockdown and we made the decision together that he would return to school. He is classed as a vulnerable student on two counts and I am also a critical worker. Thankfully he has loved being back at school, he is at special school so his class is smaller than at mainstream. He was tested as part of the fast track school testing system on his first day and was very proud to be the first student at his school to have the test. We have used the same system at my school and it definitely is a game changer for tracking Covid in schools. Our daughter is staying at home to do her home learning, it seems a lot more formal (and demanding) this lockdown with lots of live lessons.

Here are my sparkles of the week.

I ran lots.

In the first lockdown, I stopped running for nearly 2 months obeying the guidance for one daily exercise which was taken as a family. It affected my wellbeing and this time I’m being more organised to ensure that I get my time. I learnt that walking to work is a commute and doesn’t count as exercise, so I am now walking to work, 4 days a week. I can then run in the weekday evenings and on a couple of occasions this week my daughter has joined me. I really feel that this helped me feel more in control of the ever changing situation. I’m also on a Lands End to John O’Groats virtual running challenge for this year so have ticked off my first 28 miles.

I finished a book

The Memory Tree is my last book of 2020 as I read most of it in December and just the last few chapters this week. Its a sad but uplifting story of a young mother with early onset Alzheimer’s, there’s no happy ending but a story which shows the importance of family and kindness and love.

I completed my University course.

In such a busy week, this became something of an anti-climax. I finished the work in the holidays and had just been waiting for the final approval from my tutor to submit it. I was worried that I would need to do more work and had visions of being up all night, but in fact all I needed to do was add a reference which was quickly done (thank goodness for my careful reading notes) The work was submitted on time and now I’m just waiting for the results. My mum asked me what I was going to do next and I honestly believe that this has been my final academic work. I’ll have my degree and two post graduate courses after my name which I think is suffice.

I got creative

I have written my #21for21 and one is to do something creative everyday. I bought the book 365 days of Creativity and have started doing the tasks. My big job this week was to do our family photo book for 2020. I’ve tried not to reflect on the year gone by, but doing the photo book really brought home how different life was in 2020. I am so hoping that this year’s book is full of photos of the children with their grandparents, family holiday adventures and events.

And finally

Our family got good news this weekend, my 89 year old father in law gets his first Covid vaccination on Wednesday. Its the best news I’ve had in ages and a little light to show that we are getting through this pandemic.

My #20for2020

This little activity is inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier which is a must listen every week. Its something I have done over the past few years, 17for17, 18for18, 19for19, where you choose items to be done in the year, they can be fun or serious, work related or home based. This year started as usual and my items were designed for a typical year, however this year was everything but typical and many items simply couldn’t be done under the Covid restrictions. Here’s my review of my list and what I was able to adapt to a Covid year,

  1. Read for pleasure, 15 minutes a day.  I am pleased with this target, I always have a book on the go and think I will finish the year having read around 37 books for pleasure ( the 38th is nearly finished) and countless more for my studies. Achieved
  2. Resize my wedding and engagement rings.  Achieved
  3. Complete my University course.  The Covid pandemic meant that modules and assignments needed to be rearranged and my deadline day is January 6th 2021. However, I think I have completed all the work now and just want to have a final proof read before handing them in and awaiting my result. Nearly there!
  4.  Run a 10k race. I had entered a 10k race with a friend for May, but this was cancelled. However lots of races went virtual and I did the London and Edinburgh 10k races. I submitted proof of my time and distance and got lovely goodie bags with t-shirts and medals. Virtual races were a great idea to come from this difficult year. Achieved
  5. Run a parkrun PB. I missed a PB on a wet and very muddy course by 3 seconds in early 2020 and then parkrun was suspended with no return date yet. I have not timed any of my home 5k runs this year, if the 5k isn’t on my parkrun course it just wouldn’t count for me. To be continued ..
  6. Have a no spend month. I did this intentionally in January and then by accident in March and April with the lockdown and closure of all non essential shops. Achieved.
  7. Enjoy live music. Gutted that due to Covid this was not achieved. Of all the things I missed doing in 2020, live music and theatre top the list (family and friends not included) Covid casualty.
  8.  Plan a special 10 year famiversary.  Another Covid casualty as so many of my possibilities were not possible. We spent the day at our local beach and enjoyed a take away at home. It also showed that all that mattered was being together. Covid casualty.
  9. Have a rainbow of nail colours. Despite Covid, I did manage quite a few colours on my trips to the nail bar, except May – July and November when it was closed. Achieved.
  10. Visit the fashion museum. Not achieved due to Covid. One day I will definitely do this! Covid casualty.
  11. Wear colourful running kit and smile. TBH, this year its been more important just to get out there and run rather than think about kit. Unsurprisingly, given the lockdown, I’ve not been to any running shops to browse ranges. I did get a new pair of capris but had limited choice online, though I did go for khaki as alternative to black! I do have an apricot parkrun t-shirt and a royal blue finishers t-shirt from Edinburgh to add a little colour, although I would like a pretty skort or capris for when parkrun returns in ’21. As for the smiling, I think I still look pretty grumpy when running, even if I’m not feeling it inside. I think I may just have a grumpy face! To be continued…
  12. Special bakes for Valentines, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Well baking seemed to be a compulsory lockdown activity and we did plenty. I have a long list of bakes we made during the year. Baking was a welcome, comforting activity in this year. Achieved
  13. Review every film watched. So sad to say that I did not go to the cinema in 2020, my last trip was December 31st 2019. I love the cinema and have really missed our trips to the big screen. Covid casualty.
  14. Get the correct school place for Little ManIt was so stressful and went down legal avenues but we were successful and our son is so happy at his new school. One of our biggest achievements as parents. Achieved.
  15. Complete a photo a week challenge.  I took so many photos in 2020, but didn’t follow a set challenge. I don’t think the subjects inspired me. This may need a reboot in 21 as I do love taking photographs. Not achieved.
  16. Finish the 50 parkruns milestone.  Gutted to not have got my red t-shirt but whilst parkrun paused, I did continue to run and am raring to return to parkrun when it is safe again. Covid casualty.
  17. Take Little Man to London. I had started to make proper plans for this trip which was to happen in late spring or early summer but then Covid happened and our little adventure has been postponed. Covid casualty.
  18. Plan each season’s style. Interestingly this was an area which really developed, I had the time to sort out my wardrobe and losing weight made me really streamline my wardrobe and make careful purchases. I also started to follow a few fashion influencers on Instagram, going for styles similar to my lifestyle and watched a few videos on YouTube. Achieved
  19. Take a flower arranging class. Again, another item planned but postponed due to Covid, fingers crossed it can happen in ’21. Covid casualty.
  20. No sweets or chocolate. Amazingly despite spending the year in a pandemic, I managed to keep to this pledge! No I can’t quite believe it either. It showed that sweets and chocolate were more habit than desire. I missed both and will be enjoying them again in ’21 but perhaps a little more mindfully. Achieved.

So despite the pandemic and a few alterations and postponements, I managed to achieve 9 of my 20, a few are nearly there and others were simply not possible under the Covid restrictions. I’m happy with those results. I do enjoy this challenge and in the next few days will be finishing my #21for21, which after this year definitely needs to to be fun and frivolous list!