20 April 2020


Where do I even begin to talk about how life has changed over the past few weeks? Being confined to our homes for our safety has been a strange concept. In fact, I realised I hadn't spent longer than a weekend in my home without seeing other people. I had a list the length of my arm of things I needed to do around the house that I never found the time for. I feel I almost feared the silence of my own house.

I'm an only child so silence was something I was used to growing up. It's the reason I had such a vivid imagination as a child. It's the reason I became such a good reader and confident communicator. My time alone, playing in my room let me discover who I really was. I had periods of sickness as a teen that also resulted in me being alone quite a lot - including home schooling for period. That taught me discipline and hard work. I've been reflecting on that period of my life a lot. I didn't think of being ill as isolation. It was self care. It was getting better. It was growth. When we were children, we went to our rooms to escape. Now I have a whole 3 bedroom house on my own that I can escape and nest in.

Isolation made me realise I was living here but hadn't rested here. I work long hours (on my day job and with the blog) as well as having other things I have to do in a normal Mon - Fri week. When it came to the weekend, all I was doing was chasing my tail and trying to do everything around the house as well as see my family and friends. Isolation has made me realise my work/life balance has been off. Before isolation, I couldn't tell you the last time I cooked a meal from scratch and sat at my kitchen table to enjoy it. I had become so used to rushing everywhere, eating prep meals you throw in the microwave and trying to cram 26 hours in to a 24 hour day.

Isolation has made me rediscover simple things I used to love, as well as highlighting some pretty bad habits....

The power of NO
I need to stop saying YES to everything. I love being able to help others but it is the age old 'Put your own mask on before helping others'. I know I often volunteer myself to do things when I already have very little fuel in my tank. I want to learn to say NO more to help myself to do things that make me feel better - chief among them, exercising or going to the gym! So often this falls low on my list of priorities. The same with looking after my house - when I say YES too  much it means I push back all the normal house things (laundry! mopping!) to the weekend, meaning my friend and family time becomes shorter. I have learned to prioritise during isolation - even saying no to some things during this period.

Early bird
My mother is the world's greatest morning person. As a child I found it crazy that our whole house would be cleaned and laundry done before I would go to school. It was quite normal for me to be eating my toast & mum was running around mopping under my feet. On the first day of isolation, I got up at 6.30 and did exactly what she used to do along with doing my pilates and walk around my neighbourhood. I can confirm I slept well that night! I want to become a morning person - I've been working on it throughout isolation. It is certainly one day I can make up for my time when I am busy - plus if it means no cleaning on the weekends and extra time in bed, even better! I'm working on doing this - some mornings during isolation I HAVE needed my sleep. I've laid awake worrying so many nights as I am sure many of you have. 

Silence is golden
I sat in my garden the other day and just listened to the noises - the birds, the kids playing in a neighbouring garden. We have become so reliant on noise - podcasts, music, the TV on in the background. It was lovely not to hear anything that I needed to digest. I reminded me of the times I used to go to the Healing Ministry at St. Anne's Cathedral. My favourite bit has always been at the end when people go up for prayer. I used to love just sitting in silence for 20 minutes on my own - it really calmed and soothed me. Little did I know, I could get the same silence 2 steps outside my back door.

You got skills baby
One of my favourite things to do during isolation is rediscover old skills. I've spent ages practicing makeup, doing DIY, even writing this blog! I used to write constantly and I've become lazy with it. The more I have to write for my day job, the less I seem to write here. I had totally forgotten the reason I became good at it was because of writing here!

On your own is A-OK
For the last number of years I've watched my close friends get into serious relationships and start to get married. I've watched and wondered 'When will it be me?' - to the point where I feel like I have been texting or dating people to ensure I wasn't left behind, rather than because I felt a connection with that person. Do I want to be on my own forever? No. But am I ok for now? Absolutely. I feared saying I liked being single like it is some sort of abnormality to be comfortable in your own presence. I have loved being able to communicate with people in a different way - even video-calling with my 81 year old grandmother. I never thought I'd see the day! It has made me realise how much communicating you do day to day - it can be absolutely draining and this is coming from someone who communicates as their day job! My friend text me to day one day I'll look back at isolation when I am (hopefully!) a busy mum & wife and wish I could have a day to myself! 

I've learned to love my own company in isolation. There is power in independence but I certainly cannot wait to see my family & friends for a big hug soon.

Wishing you all lots of love at this trying time

Gemma-Louise x