Lockdown 2.0

 Well, here we are, galloping housewives. Back to Zoom meetings and box sets and not having to put a bra on for days on end. Day drinking and not having to make up excuses not to go to the mother in laws for Sunday lunch. Comparing sour dough triumphs and getting the book written and having time to talk with our families. I know, it’s a fucking disaster, right?

So many of us will be struggling right now with the news that the UK is going into more stringent restrictions nationally from Thursday. The galloping housewife is not calling this lockdown, because its not. What we did in March wasn’t lockdown, and this is even more relaxed than that. And while these measures are absolutely necessary as a result of the government’s failure to develop any sort of mitigation strategy in the last eight months, they’re not welcome by anyone. We are all making sacrifices with no end in sight, and more and more, not a lot of hope.

It’s time for the galloping housewives to step up. We need to collectively do whatever it takes to take care of ourselves, to ensure that we get through this intact, because it will be us that puts the world back together on the other side. 

Our mental health is taking a battering, and like any other health issue it is important that we identify the source, not the symptom. Whether you are anxious or worried or depressed or stressed, chances are that it is uncertainty that is causing it. We are out of control and we don’t like that.

First of all, take stock. Have a look at what you are really afraid of and see if there is genuinely anything you can do. If there is, break that thing down into stages and do it. If not, ask for help. If there is none, then do what you can to prepare for the bad thing to happen. Then forget it. Worrying about the bad thing is not going fix it.

Next make a list of the shit you really need to be, do or have over the next month (or so – who are we kidding?) Are you going to be able to look after your pets, your family, yourself? Again, do what you can, ask for help, prepare for the worst, leave it alone. You’ve done all you can. You’ll either be OK or you won’t. And if you’re not OK, you can deal with that then.

Now you’ve got all the necessary stuff dealt with, it’s time to really, properly take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. If you only get the absolutely necessary done in the world, that’s enough. Eat well, sleep well, exercise lightly. Now is absolutely not the time to start a new fitness regime, but at the very least you should try and get outside every day and go for a walk. Even better if you’re on top of a horse. Do something every single day that is just for you. Read a book, do a puzzle, pick up the cross stitch, curl up in front of the fire with a cup of tea and a favourite magazine, chill out in a bath with oils and candles, paint a picture, turn the music up really loud and dance. Every single day. Just for you. Do not be tempted to use this time to clear out a closet or whatever hell else job it is that you’ve been putting off forever. This time is just for you.

 Once you’ve got yourself looked after, you’re free to figure out a project. Something attainable that you’ve always wanted to do but maybe not had the time. Something that you can tick off working towards every day and feel like you have achieved something. Don’t be too ambitious, but a galloping housewife loves to get shit done, and it gives her back some sense of control in an uncontrollable world. Getting the little stuff done leads to getting the big stuff done.

It might seem all a little selfish right now, but nothing could be farther from the truth. You owe it to the world, to your community, to your family, to yourself, to be in the best form you can be.

Cartoon of a woman riding a paint horse in wearing a New market rug in front of autumn leaves 

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