How are you breaking up the bleak winter?

Lockdown life was so much easier to tolerate when the days were longer and the sun was coming out as a wake-up call rather than, in winter, as an afterthought. My days in the first lockdown were broken up with walks in the park, gardening, and doing yoga in the garden like some schmucky middle-class twat lucky enough to have outdoor space while people were struggling in small confines.

In winter, it’s harder to mark the progress of time. One day pretty much resembles another. It’s like watching a replay of the worst movie ever on a loop but only that the loop is stuck on the worst scene of the worst movie ever. Don’t get me wrong. I still think that my glass is half-full.

I haven’t had Covid. My daughter had Covid but has recovered without a hitch. I am able to earn money while working comfortably from home and my cat is utterly delighted that I am home all the time. I am blessed and my cup runneth over with gratitude.

Sometimes, just sometimes though, I need a change. I don’t mean a change in my attitude. I mean a change in my routine. No man or woman or child is meant to live a Groundhog Day. If they did, Groundhogs wouldn’t have been invented because we would all be Groundhogs so there would be no need for Groundhogs. Confused? That is what living life in lockdown in winter on a Sunday feels like.

The New York Times published an article titled, ‘Breaking the Monotony of Winter’, which pushes the narrative that we need to create novelty when our days are indistinguishable. The writer came up with a concept called ‘The Daily Dose’ whereby people would do something new every day even if it was something as mundane as wearing two different coloured socks. Another idea was to count the number of glasses of water you drank in a day.

The ideas ranged from the simple to the more cerebral. For example, you could watch a documentary on climate change instead of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’. I have been watching ‘Grace and Frankie’ instead of watching news channels and political programmes as background noise. It had got to the stage where I was able to recognise a politician’s voice all the way in the kitchen from the lounge where my TV is with about 20 steps in between. I needed a change in routine.

Here are some tips for you:

Read #pandemiclife on Twitter for ideas

Write a diary and include details of conversations that you have had with people outside your bubble. It is those little connections you make that you will want to look back on fondly in years ahead.

Read a second blog which I have started on the midlife crisis. My way of embracing a new routine.

Put on the brightest jumper you own instead of wearing yesterday’s clothes because it is the closest thing to your bed when you wake up.

Good luck.

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