Day 12 – Friday 27th March
My social media is awash with challenges. Some of them are amusing like posting the photo that comes up if you google your name and ‘glamour shot’. Others are usual round of ‘let’s see if you read posts without photos’ which you’re supposed to copy and paste to your own media account. For the most part I ignore these posts. Yes, I read them if they are from a genuine friend, but I won’t be proliferating them any time soon. Never did chain letters as a kid either. It’s just not my thing.
However two challenges did stick. One a silly but amusing viral post, the other an idea that I haven’t seen repeated elsewhere though I’m sure it’s out there. The viral post was the ‘jeans challenge’ i.e. every few days you should try your jeans on to make sure they fit, as obviously we’re all slobbing in our pyjamas and sweat pants. I didn’t repost this, but I did put my jeans on to go to the supermarket.
I don’t know what bastard came up with that post originally, but my jeans were definitely tight. Let’s be honest, this is not a surprise. By the end of this quarantine they probably wont fit me at all. That’s OK, I have accepted a certain amount of weight gain as inevitable. This is not my first rodeo. I have spent far too much of my life on hospital watch. This is where someone you love is seriously ill and your life becomes an endless routine of driving to hospital, spending hours sat by their bed, driving home, sleeping then doing it all again the next day. Sometimes these hospitals are hours away. None ever have cafes with healthy food, though there’s invariably a coffee shop full of cakes. Between the stress and boredom eating your weight balloons. If you look at historic photos of me you can trace my yo yo-ing weight down to who was ill that year.
I know some people who are unable to eat when stressed. Very strange! That is not my problem. When I’m super stressed I will shovel whatever carbohydrate I can find into my mouth, often without realising I’m doing it. During one particularly bad period I was trying to control my stress eating by not having any food in the house. It didn’t work. After a crappy day the only thing I could find was a box of bran flakes. I didn’t even have milk. I still managed to eat the entire box. Let’s be honest this has nothing to do with hunger or taste. There is nothing remotely pleasurable about dry bran flakes. It’s a purely emotional reaction.
Fortunately things are not that bad at the moment and these previous experiences have left me with coping strategies. The first is to keep up the exercise. If I manage that then I know the weight will drop back off once the stressors have been removed and my eating returns to normal. Hence why I am running up and down stairs, dancing round my living room and doing the ghastly burpees. I’ve even added a half press up to my burpees. You really don’t want to know how tough that is. The second coping method is to make sure a healthy diet is included with all the stress eating i.e. I have my proper meals with plenty of veg, fruit, seeds, nuts, herbs & spices etc. Only after this am I allowed to wolf down the enormous pack of crisps, which is not a problem because my stomach can handle some seriously impressive quantities of food.
I was reading the other day methods for managing a high fever, which apparently I’m likely to suffer if I catch covid-19. One way is to suck on ice lollies to help bring your temperature down. I was wondering whether ice cream would work equally as well and perhaps I should get a stock in. In hindsight this is probably not a good idea.
The second Facebook challenge, which I nicked to put as a #TipOfTheDay at Costa Women Madrid, was the Wish Jar. It goes like this: every time you wish you could do something write it down on a post it note and put it in a jar. When all this is over this will be your bucket list. You work your way through the jar feeling grateful for your freedom.
Alright! I’ll admit I don’t have a jar nor have I written any post it notes, but I did give some thought to what I genuinely miss whilst in quarantine. Surprisingly only two things came up: visiting family and hiking. I thought perhaps travel would be in there, but it seems I’m happy to give it a rest for now. It might creep in the longer this goes on, but I have travelled a great deal in my life so I don’t feel I’ve missed out. Don’t get me wrong I will continue to travel and go on exotic holidays when all this is over, but it’s not up there as the most important thing.
One of the reasons I travel is to learn. Experiencing different cultures, geography, foods, languages etc, these are all mind expanding and I love to learn. The thing is I can still do that whilst in quarantine via books or learning sights like Coursera or TedX. Maybe that’s why the lack of travel opportunities is not a problem.
The other activity I thought I would miss is going out with friends. However if anything I am more in contact with my friends now than I was before. Also you focus on your real friends rather than the sometimes endless round of new contacts that expat life brings. It’s kind of nice to have the opportunity to bed in those friendships that matter. Plus all of the activities we would normally do together we can still do over the internet. There is a world of video conference socials, online comedies, plays, wines tastings, museums and art galleries. In fact it’s a little overwhelming just how much has been made available in such a short time. You could spend your days in a non stop whirlwind of online outings.
No, the only two things I really miss are family visits and hiking. I’m not missing my family, just the ability to visit. After all I was with them two weeks ago, just before the quarantine, and I wouldn’t normally return for another four weeks. Besides I’m on the phone or FaceTime to them every other day. So it’s not that I miss my family, I miss the idea that I can’t just jet off to see them if needed. It’s the fact that if something happens to one of them I can’t be there. Mind you if I was in the UK I’d still be in the same position, physically closer but still under quarantine and unable to be with them. I’ll survive with this discomfort. I had the same sensation when that volcano exploded in Iceland and grounded all planes. When you’re used to being to travel freely at will it’s an uncomfortable sensation to have that taken away.
Then there’s the mountains and the countryside. I so miss my weekly hikes. I feel like karma has come to bite me up the backside. For years I have posted regular photos of stunning scenes and glorious blue skies to all my friends in the UK. Now they’re allowed out for a walk once a day and posting photos of parks and riversides whilst I’m stuck indoors. Karma is a bitch!
On the plus side the thing about a wish jar is it lets you know what is really important in your life, because that is what you genuinely miss. My family has always been important to me. I value my independence and I’ve spent much of my life travelling and moving about the world. But I keep in contact and always come back to family. I always will do. Thinking about my two imaginary post it notes in the wish jar I am comforted by the thought that my life to now has been full of the things that are important to me and it will be again. I have no regrets.