I returned to work this week after more than three weeks off. I don’t think I’ve had this much time off with no ‘real goal’ in mind ever – except perhaps when I was unemployed. In the midst of lockdown (only essential shops open, restaurants takeaway only, restrictions on visiting people), there was nowhere to travel, no one to catch up with and being winter, very little to do.
I thought it would drag. But all of a sudden, it was over and I was back to work.
They allowed us out of lockdown for December 24 and 25 so Christmas could be celebrated in a semi-normal way. There were limitations on how many people you could see at one time, but since my family here is on the small side anyway, we spent Christmas pretty much in the same was as always: Covid test in the morning, gathering in the early afternoon, singing Silent Night, opening presents and eating together. Oh… wait… the Covid test, that was something new for this year.
I’m the kind of person who likes to do things. And I had a list of things to do over the Christmas break. But when I looked at it on day one of my holiday, I realised that it was quite sparse. I could have probably ticked everything off in the first week if I’d been manic about it.
So what did I do? I had to learn how to relax.
My best sleep in day was until 9am, which I haven’t achieved in a long time. I rejoiced in simply lying in bed, just drifting. There was really no need to get up until my stomach started to complain about hunger. Then there was a lazy breakfast and numerous cups of tea before I would think seriously about what I was going to do that day.
Yes, I did get quite a lot done in the end. I had a number of appointments trying to sort out my current hip pain, I gave the cellar a good clean out, I walked almost every day, sometimes on snow or ice-laden streets, and I even built a snowman. I did a lot of writing, though I have to say motivation and inspiration was quite low. I finally finished Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series, and pondered on the next book to start. I completed who knows how many jigsaw puzzles, and we watched tons of movies – some new and some old classics. We kept ourselves fed well, and despite assuming we’d eat out a lot, only managed one take-away day, dubbed Pizza-Movie-Madness-Day, which consisted of five pizzas, multiple movies and the couch.
Yes, I could have done more. But when most of my standard holidays consist of tripping from one side of a country to another in days filled with a whirlwind of activities, I gave myself a break. I indulged. And I let myself relax. Which was nice, but I’m not going to lie – it’s not my ideal. I had a couple of days where I felt overly teary and emotional – it’s hard being stuck in the cold, with little-to-no sun, especially when my friends back in Oz are basically out of lockdown and enjoying summer.
But enough about that. They’re calling it lockdown #3 now since we took two days off for Christmas, but really, it’s just an extension of #2. So I’m continuing on my drift, chatting to my Aussie pals to try and stave off the bouts of homesickness, taking outdoor walks with friends, and well… working. There’s a hope that holidays will be possible this year, but I think we’ll just have to wait and see (ducking and weaving from this evil mutated UK strain). In the meantime, I’m just hanging out for warmer weather. Only 4 months till the pool opens. Bring it on!