Surviving Another Lockdown

Can it be too quiet?

[If you’re too busy to read, scroll to the end; I need your help with answers to weekly questions.]

The Current State of Affairs

A friend of mine who happens to be alone a lot because of his work, had this to say about quarantine:

“I’ve been practicing how to isolate my entire life.”

I can relate to that. I’ve been living alone for eight years now and it’s been pretty quiet and more peaceful than I ever imagined. So much so that I cannot imagine it any other way. Still, it’s different when you choose to be alone versus having the government enforce it. And for you partnered folks: if living with someone works for you, I wouldn’t want you to change it; just presenting alternatives.

I guess there was always the possibility that the government in Portugal would decide a second lockdown was necessary. I saw it happening in other European countries and it was only a matter of time. So here we are again: big infection rates and more deaths than we can handle. And as you’ve heard, a slowdown in vaccine production and delivery.

Intellectually, I get it. I’m constantly imagining what it must be like for people losing family members and close friends. And believe me the last thing I want is to be in hospital in a foreign country hooked up to a respirator. I’m living in Portugal where I have new friends who care about me, but who wouldn’t be able to see me in hospital anyway. And then of course there is my dog Paco; it’s been just the two of us for a year now. I’m convinced that without Paco, I would be a slug with a big bag of chips, on a too cushy sofa, rewatching Netflix originals and endlessly surfing Youtube videos.

The Right Head Space

Attitude is a huge part of a successful lockdown. If you spend a lot of time thinking about what you cannot do and where you cannot go, you will become bitter and filled with anxiety. On the other hand, if you remind yourself that lives are being saved by staying put and it’s temporary, coping becomes easier (at least for me).

I also purchased a tiny little fireplace for 30 Euros on Amazon. It runs on ethanol and it’s very safe. So when I’m wrapped up in a quilt with Paco curled up next to me, I now have a fire to add to the peaceful ambiance. Make your space comfy and cozy so that you never want to leave.

Routine

I’m finding that routine helps me feel better about the situation I find myself in. I go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, spend time journaling and blogging in the morning, take Paco to the dog park (where I can also socialize from a distance), do some stretching and walking, learning Portuguese on Memrise, cleaning up a bit, cooking new dishes, going to the market (allowed), reading, watching a bit of news (not too much, I find it depressing and the media sensationalizes everything), Facetime or whatsapp family and friends, etc. If I do all of these things, just about everyday, time breezes by and I feel fulfilled. I have also discovered the art of napping. Closing your eyes for 10 to 20 minutes in the middle of the day, can be quite rejuvenating and there’s no guilt attached.

Newish Hobbies

I’ve always been at a loss for dreaming up new and interesting hobbies. Like most people, I’ll try something a couple of times and put it down. Pre-COVID-19 I discovered that I enjoyed croquet; bought an expensive new mallet and everything. Now I hang my jacket on it. The point is, I found a passtime I enjoyed and now I know that I can do it again . . . hopefully in the near future.

Lockdown has forced me to cook more and that’s a good thing. I’m enjoying watching Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson on Portugal’s mixed Portuguese and English food channel, 24Kitchen. Not just for enjoyment (most of the Food Network these days), these are shows where you can watch, listen and learn. I’m having fun duplicating recipes with my own twist. I don’t write them down, I wait a day or two, let it churn in my head a bit, and then give it a try. I’ve come up with quite a few very satisfying meals. I’m not photographing most of them — something I’ve discovered about social media: most people couldn’t care less what I cook.

I’m occasionally enjoying a virtual meal with my friend Gina. It’s not the same as sitting across from her, but it’s fun for the two of us to plan a menu, pull up a laptop, and chow down together.

The Quiet

There is a high school with hundreds of students very close to my apartment. Students hangout at a café at the base of my building, pretty much all day. A few weeks ago the government decided that all of Portugal should stay at home except teachers and school kids. So for the first few days, when the second lockdown began, I continued to hear the chatter of high schoolers from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admittedly, I resented it. Even the owner of the café was concerned about the pile-up of young people on the sidewalk. They were maskless and all over one another (well that’s what you do when you think you’ll live forever). I guess their infection rates went up and the kids are back home. I miss the chatter. It was a reminder that there is life out there in the world. Quiet is grossly overrated.

My Perspective

It helps to have a place to breathe. The view of the Ria Formosa and Atlantic Ocean from my terrace never gets old. Some days the temperature goes up to 70 degrees (21C) or higher. If you’re going to have to stay home, the Algarve isn’t a bad place to be.

I’m legally permitted to exercise close to home. Long walks with earbuds and music was no longer satisfying, so I have started listening to podcasts. Wow, if you want to pass time and be stimulated while you’re doing it, this is the way to go. You have to sort through the bed stuff to get to the good ones, but once you find a few you like . . . it’s like my outdoor Netflix and they’re free on Spotify (with occasional ads). Modern Love, The Counter Chronicles, The Daily, The Daily Zeitgeist — all very interesting. Short spurts of listening are not a problem. Audio books next?

Eat. Sleep. Isolate. Repeat.: Funny Self Isolation Notebook Journal.  Quarantine Humor for Coworkers and Friends. Social Distancing Sarcastic  Quotes.: Press, Twisted Journaling: 9798639563256: Amazon.com: Books

Question of the Week:

How has lockdown changed the way you think about life?

10 thoughts on “Surviving Another Lockdown

  1. So glad you nap now! I always felt you had a militant anti-nap ethos so I felt guilty of taking a cat nap around you. Not a big deal but I LOVE NAPS. Welcome to the fold friend!

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  2. Tired of the lockdowns. We’ve been here since November, and we haven’t seen you yet. Good news is…the new wine and martini glasses have come in, and we’ve found a good supplier of wine. Soon!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Has the lockdown changed how I think about life? Truthfully, the combination of Trump Hell and COVID almost collapsed me. I experienced episodes of deeper, longer depressions. I do enjoy my own company so the isolation was tolerable. I had two surgeries (March ’20 & Jan ’21) and my cat passed away. I started sewing again and gained the COVID 19 lbs. I grew close to my condo neighbors as we held Cul-de-Sac Kareoke weekly, with masks, 6′ apart. I “gonged” my singing bowl outside each evening at 7pm. I bought two bird feeders. I held weekly phone sessions with my therapist. My glass is still half full. I’m a survivor. I am more conscious and appreciative of my life. Unfortunately, when I do venture out, I jabber like a magpie with every person within 10′. Someday, I hope to visit you in Portugal. Once COVID disappears, you are welcome to nap in my spare bedroom anytime. Good news from doctor today, I’m scheduled to get the vaccine in 4 to 6 weeks!!!!!! Peace, Anne from Maine

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  4. First, happy birthday Anne. “A nap in your spare bedroom,” a very generous and much appreciated offer. I’m sorry to hear about your cat; very difficult loss I’m certain. You ARE a survivor and that’s exactly what will get us through this challenge. Everything you’re going through is part of the human condition: the good, the bad, the Karaoke. Good luck with your jabs and heal quickly. Thanks for reading Anne.

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  5. I am embarrassed to say it hasn’t changed my life hugely. Well, I did go out once a week to dinner and it’s been a year since I did that. I stay in contact with others via the phone, zoom, Skype and texting of course, but I am pretty happy being left alone to make things. But I do miss friends and wish I could have a big house warming party, though the way I am unpacking, the house may only be ready when life returns to normal.
    I do believe it will return to normal. It may just take another year for that to happen.

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  6. Good Morning to you- I always save your bloggs for when I have a day free from work so I can sit on my couch with a coffee. You make me smile!!! 😁
    Oslo is in a locked down now more severe then March/April- even though the COVID cases are decreasing.
    The British mutated virus is here and the Government is in panic mode. So no alcohol serving (consequently not many restaurants open), Gyms are closed, no cinemas, theatre, or other activities.

    How do I survive?
    I am one of the “singles” and we get to have 2 cohorts that we can socialise with.
    So I really make a point of seeing one of them at least 2-3 times a week.
    I have to communicate (telephone/video chat) daily with someone (outside my work colleagues on TEAMS meetings).
    Staying connected with people and knowing you are not alone has kept my sane.

    My routine daily (feels like the T.Hanks film Groundhog Day) – EVERY DAY 😳
    Coffee
    *Yoga (Ashtangen after learning this at a New Years retreat)
    Work – if necessary (“my” hotel has been closed) If a free day than a long ski trip if the snow is good….
    Light lunch
    2-3 hour walk- no matter the weather- I have an “on-line” library card so I listen to audio books free. Or Audiable- I listen a lot to Brene Brown books & post casts (inspiring)
    Re-check in with the job, if necessary.
    Cross something off the TO Do list (cleaning, laundry, organise all my photos on the PC….)
    Work on a zig saw puzzle that I have open on my dining table (mindless)
    Dinner- not too motivated to try new recipes for 1😒….also trying to stay away from the alcohol
    Then sad to say Netflix, with
    * knitting (Marybeth tried to teach me years ago) I am trying hard to get better at this…😏
    Sleep.

    * new COVID activities- forcing myself to stick with them, even if I am not so great…..practice makes perfect???

    Please keep your blogs coming…you are helping us survive 😏

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