As I write this, we are just over six months into the Global Pandemic, almost 4 full months in to ‘Lockdown life’ here in Scotland.  I currently have about 5 drafts started and saved for different articles, and another 3 ideas I want to write about.  Like many people, it seems the less I’m doing, the less I’m inclined to do!

The first 9 weeks I had a good excuse for putting writing on the back burner.  Like many people, there have been a number of challenges to navigate all throughout this period of change and uncertainty-the initial 9 weeks for me was one of the most difficult periods of my life to date in terms of the feeling of overwhelm and anxiety.  I was solo parenting to my anxious 5 (now 6) year old, and my sensitive Autistic 9 year old.  I was trying to balance supporting them through the sudden and abrupt change to their routine and lifestyle, to navigate my new role as ‘home school’ teacher, to build in time to work and teach my dance classes from home- as well as now being responsible for everything day to day ‘parenting’- all the housework, meals, washing, bedtimes, setting something resembling routine and boundaries, as well as being their only source of conversation and entertainment! All without even as much as a couple hours respite, I felt under a tremendous amount of pressure to get it ‘right’, and to show that I could do it all myself. My independence, resilience and self-reliance are a very valuable part of my identity to me, but can sometimes lead to a reluctance to ask for/accept help and support.  As I’ve come to learn over the past few months this can often have a detrimental effect on my connections and my self esteem overall, therefore actually making life more difficult than it need be.  I’ll be writing another piece in more depth on this particular subject soon, after having an epiphany moment over this past weekend!  I’ve come to realise that although it has served a valuable purpose over the last few years whilst I’ve rebuilt my life, my boundaries and my sense of self, just maybe living with the mantra “No one is coming to save you, you have to be able to do this yourself” is at best inaccurate, and at worst very damaging!

Now that the children are finally going back to their dad’s for a few nights a week, and the world is beginning to slowly open back up again, I have time to reflect on the positive opportunities Lockdown has presented in addition to it’s challenges.  I’ve been able to spend a lot of time at home with the kids, and really slow down and get to hear them properly again.  Although my eldest is struggling with the changes and restrictions, which is hard to witness, this time with him has allowed me to see symptoms of his ASD and anxieties which were masked before in the busy, day to day run around of life.  Seeing this has allowed me to get him additional professional support, and also to consider what changes and effects I might have to prepare for in the future.  Similar with my youngest.  She is loud, boisterous and ‘sassy’ in the extreme-but also it would seem extremely anxious, which I am seeing manifested in her constant questioning and need for reassurance.  Again this aspect of her personality might have stayed hidden were it not for the isolation brought on my the pandemic, and so it may have taken longer to get her the necessary support.

There have been some purely positive things which have come about out of the necessity for change the circumstances dictated.  I have been able to sign back up for a fitness Bootcamp I used to love going to.  I had to give it up due to the fact the location meant travelling there regularly was unsustainable.  The social distancing regulations mean the sessions have now gone online, like so many other classes and businesses have had to do.  This increased online presence has also allowed me to attend Burlesque tutorials, courses and shows from all around the country-and in some cases across the world-something which I might never have been able to do before!  I’ve been able to go online with my own classes, and like many people I have had quite the education on technology and communications!  Most importantly, I’ve come to appreciate the little things more and more, and learned not to take my health, my family and my friends for granted.  There has been much loss, either directly or indirectly related to COVID-19, a sad and sobering reminder that tomorrow isn’t promised for anyone.  It’s a reminder for me personally that I vowed 2020 would be all about Gratitude and reflection, and that I have an abundance of things to be grateful for at present, so to enjoy that moment to moment, and find the ways I can give back and help others who need it however I can.  Looking forward now to putting some plans I’ve made over the last few weeks into action, and getting back out and re-connecting with the world- from a safe, 2m distance, obviously!