It’s actually happened. A matter of days after the Prime Minister said it would be inhuman to put in measures around seeing family over Christmas – he put those measures in. And with that, the plans of so many of us for Christmas were altered or cancelled.
I live in a city called Chelmsford in Essex which is one of the places, along with London, that has been moved to tier four which is essentially lockdown under a different name.
Non-essential retail, gyms and outdoor mixing with all but one person from a different household is off limits. All of this was announced to the public just six days before Christmas. Six. Days.
This isn’t going to be a post where I moan about the governments approach to handling the pandemic, particularly the last month or so but I want to focus on how it affected me mentally once the news broke and how I have handled it since.
Saturday December 19th – 16:00
I started off the day with a 70 minute easy run as part of my training for the London Marathon in October which I completed successfully, remaining consistent with my pacing throughout. Having done this at the start of the day it set my mood to be a positive one for the day ahead – oh, how that didn’t last.
Seeing as I live quite close to a town called Basildon which currently has one of, if not these highest COVID infection rates in the country I expected the news from Downing Street to be bad.
However, the multiple blows of bad news that was broken to the nation during the press conference was worse than I thought it would be, so much worse.
I didn’t watch the entire thing in the end. Once I heard the bad news regarding Christmas I wanted to do nothing more than to pack away my Christmas tree and rip the lights off my balcony.
Given the state of the world and the year we’ve had I was struggling to feel festive but over the past week I began to get that feeling a little. I spent my evenings watching festive classics such as both Home Alone films and I wrapped the gifts I bought for my family and stored them under the tree in my living room all while burning some festive themed scented candles.
But I lost that entire sense of festive feeling in a matter of seconds. I was angry, sad and gutted. So I decided to leave the flat for an hour or so just to get some fresh air and clear my mind.
During my walk I went to a sports shop called Decathlon to pick up an exercise matt so I can focus on my core and yoga work as part of my marathon training. After that I picked up an abundance of snacks from Tesco followed by a swift stop in Foyles to buy a couple of books.
After that I returned home and spoke to my mum on the phone regarding the latest hammer blow of restrictions and I can safely say my mood hasn’t been that bad in a very long time.
While talking with a friend earlier I said I found the first lockdown fine, to be honest the idea of staying at home back then came at a very good time for me personally, obviously I wish the circumstances were completely different. I then went on to say that lockdown two over November floored me before adding that yesterdays news just flattened me completely.
Throughout the epidemic I’ve said that i’m not going to complain so long as I can still earn a living and pay my bills but I just found yesterdays news such a tough pill to swallow.
Saturday December 19th – 18:00
One of the new things I tried in 2020 was watching Strictly Come Dancing. I’d never given a try before but seeing as I had completed Netflix I thought i’d tune in when the series started eight weeks ago – and I became hooked.
I’ve always had great admiration for people who can dance and it is a skill I wish I possessed but even I didn’t think i’d enjoy it as much as I did, and yesterdays final was exactly what I needed after the bad news two hours earlier.
It’s hard to put into words the affect it had but when I was in as foul a mood as I was there are only a few things that could cheer me up and the Strictly final was exactly that.
To be honest the combination of that plus I’m a Celebrity which finished a couple of weeks ago were a welcome escape from the constant cycle of bad news which has been continuous in 2020. Almost as if it was a case of taking a step back and enjoying the little things.
Sunday December 20 – 08:00
A few years ago I started having golf lessons which ceased when I left the country for two months to travel around South and North America. I’ve kept it up ever since albeit I stopped for pretty much an entire year while I lived in London but in 2020 I have kept it going whenever the courses were open.
One of the few differences i’ve spotted between tier four and lockdown is that golf clubs can remain open, but limited to two people. This was a huge sigh of relief for me because I had a round booked this morning which was exactly what I needed to start day one in tier four.
I started the day by hitting forty balls at the driving range to pick up some consistency with my driver and iron shots before taking to a 9-hole very close to where I live.
Since the courses reopened after the first lockdown up until their forced closure again for November I more or less played every weekend at different courses in the local area and todays round was the best I have played so far, and the same goes for my friend with whom I took to the course with.
I was back in my flat by midday and i’ve remained in a pretty positive mood ever since, all things considered of course.
The current situation is dreadful, there is no two ways about it. However, I do feel that I have the right ideas of how to go about making it slightly easier for myself, which will just involve doing things a little differently, as we have all had to do throughout the year and as i’m sure we will have to into the first few months of 2021.
None of us know how this new strain of coronavirus will play out and how long it will be before something like a normal version of the planet is restored. But all we can do is take everyday as it comes and count our blessings and we’ll be there soon enough.
As for Christmas, it’s going to be different and for a lot of people, not as good but it is one year only and just means we’ll have to go all out in twelve months time.
One last thing…
As I mentioned a few times in the post i’m running the 2021 London Marathon for Mind. If you wish to donate or keep up to date with how my training and fundraising is going you can do so by following the links below.
Fundraising Page – https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JordanCamp
My new Instagram page dedicated to my London Marathon journey – @26.2MilesForMind
Strava – https://www.strava.com/athletes/9589825
Mind Website – https://www.mind.org.uk