A January blues
With lockdown in the UK still in full swing, the days and months seem to blend into one with only a few things to punctuate them. The run up to Christmas always seems never-ending, partly because the shops start putting out their Christmas stock in September/October time, but then you have Christmas and New Year and it’s all over in a flash. So here we are in the middle of February, a thankfully short month after the long drag of January.
I always struggle a little in January anyway. As a Freelancer, it sometimes takes a while for work to pick up and it can be worrying financially if my December workload has been quiet as well. For so many years when I was full time employed, you reluctantly head back to work in the first week in January after all the holiday celebrations, but before you know it you’re back into a work routine and it’s business as usual within a few days. However when you’re freelance, that routine isn’t always there, and that’s the bit I struggle with. Try as I might, when I don’t have work, it’s sometimes hard to sit at a computer and find self-motivation. I tell myself, I want to do some training, watch some webinars, catch up on admin, but this year more than ever, I am really struggling to find focus on any particular thing. I put some of it down to so-called ‘lockdown fatigue’. Every day, the same routine, every week the same news on the TV, constant stats and figures being discussed, the same worries about health, finances and whether friends and family are okay. All these whirl around in your head and it’s so easy to get distracted or caught up in it. I am sure I am not the only one feeling this way. In my last post, I described it as my thoughts flying around like bits of paper inside the Crystal Maze final. Trying to focus on one thing, but there’s so many other things whizzing around in your brain, that you lose track of the first thing you were trying to hold onto. So many times lately I’ve gone to search for something online, only to get distracted and forget 3 seconds later what I was originally doing. It’s a tad concerning, but am sure it’s all related.
We are now into February and work has picked up a little, but I still need to work on getting myself out there again and getting some kind of routine back. I work better if I have structure and routine. If I know what my day is going to be like, I can plan accordingly, and I think that makes me feel more at ease.
From a non-work related perspective, I do have some routine each week where I’m volunteering (dog walking and helping at the vaccine hub where I live). It’s actually the few times of the week at the moment where I feel the most relaxed. Have wanted to volunteer for years, so being able to find the time to do so, has definitely helped my frame of mind.
Hopefully going forward into Spring, with the evenings getting lighter, and the days getting warmer, my mood will improve. I still want to set myself some tasks to try and achieve, but I am not going to beat myself up if I don’t manage all of them:
- Get my work admin done on time. I actually managed some of this before Christmas, so am hopefully on track for the tax man.
- Update my website
- Attempt to learn a new skill with training. There are so many free resources out there, I need to make good use of them. Hoping to learn either some XD and/or After Effects
And from a health perspective:
- Drink less alcohol. Have managed to do this over January and February by not drinking during the week. It helps having a clearer head.
- Sleep more. As in go to bed earlier. It doesn’t help having a partner who is a night owl, but I need to stop watching crap on TV late at night and switch off as well!
- Watch the snacking. Easy to pick at stuff if at home. Thank God for Gousto as at least our food portions are regulated for our main meals.
- Get out cycling again. I’ve not been out since early January and for all my good intentions of getting out doing Winter cycling, I’ve just been too chicken to go out in the freezing rain and cold.
- Go walking from time to time, even during my lunch break. Walking with the dog twice a week has definitely helped me. We are so lucky to live near a forest, so on a quiet day, listening to the noises of the trees and wildlife is just lovely.
Until next time…