If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you… is the mantra I have always lived by. I’ve been through enough s**t in my life to know that you come out the other side a stronger, more determined person and you certainly understand yourself more after dealing with change or challenge.
Well Covid has definitely sent us that… in abundance! It was the start of March, I even had a long weekend booked to Spain and didn’t bat an eye lid that the trip wouldn’t go ahead, but sure enough Boris would announce that the country was going into lockdown. I will always remember this moment, I sat on my sofa and cried my eyes out… rang my mum, my dad and my boyfriend asking them what should I do! I was lost! What scared me the most was not knowing when it would end and that it put my goals for that year in complete jeopardy. At that time, the Tokyo Paralympic Games hadn’t been cancelled, so my first worry was how am I going to be able to train to a good enough standard to compete at my best at the Games. Then every other worry flooded in… not being able to see my boyfriend, not being able to see my family, my friends, not playing sport… That first week was really difficult, trying to navigate my way through a new way of living. Setting up a home gym, playing basketball on the road outside my house… all completely new ways of training, and pretty novel at first, but that soon wore off.
I told myself that I needed to use this time to be super productive, I’m not very good at not being busy so the free time I had was something I’ve not had for years… it was going to take some getting used to. I threw myself into ‘self improvement’, joining every online webinar known to man, spending hours on Duolingo trying to learn Spanish and constantly writing notes to myself about my passions and my hopes for my future. It was at about week 4 that I realised I needed to calm down, I wasn’t going to change the world or come up with amazing ideas or find my ideal career path, that wasn’t that important. What was important was coping. And I mean mentally coping. I cried a lot in the first 2 weeks, it was the unknown that scared me. But I started getting into a bit more of a routine and a rhythm… I took each day as it came, which trust me, is not like me! And now I’m actually enjoying waking up and deciding each day what I fancy doing… sometimes that’s exercise, sometimes it’s something creative, sometimes it’s tidying the house. I’ve been able to be in control of my schedule and what I do, I’ve really loved that.
As the weeks went on I started to settle in. I did spent time learning new things, different recipes, I baked (didn’t everyone), I did more yoga, I built this website… but I also just stopped. If some days I didn’t feel productive, I was okay with that and didn’t beat myself up. For me this time was for coping and for doing my best to get through the other side.
We’re on week 11 now and I think I’ve managed to cope just about alright. The main priority always has been my health and the health of everyone around me, staying save in these times in so important. So whatever you’ve got to do to keep yourself safe, please do it! It won’t be forever. We will be back together again.