My usual day starts about 6am (sometimes before), then I make my journey to work… 57 miles and approximately 2 hours depending on the traffic! Then, come 4pm, I embark on the same tedious journey home. By 7pm I could be sitting down to dinner, or just making it… So when COVID-19 struck and Boris announced a lockdown, I was fairly content and happy. Happy to not have to do that journey, happy to not be spending all my spare money on petrol, and happy to be at home to finally finish some of the jobs that have been ongoing for a few years!
If you are like me, you could quite happliy spend this time in PJs, sat in bed with a cuppa and netflix. So to make sure I am making the most of this time, without burning myself out, I decided to make a list of all the things I would like to achieve over the coming weeks/months! Here are the top 5 things I’m doing to stop myself going insane (or disappearing into my mattress).
1. Finish DIY projects
I am always decorating, or moving rooms around, or revamping areas of my home/garden. However, they don’t always get finished! One day I will be super motivated and turn my home upside down. And the next day I will want a ‘lazy’ day.
Some of my ongoing projects at home are:
- Landscaping the garden and building a tiki bar
- Swapping my bedroom and home office/spare room
- Repainting/restyling my kitchen
- Renovate the downstairs toilet
- Decorate my daughters bedroom
I have made a list of the smaller jobs which make up each big job, and pinned them on my noticeboard. I can’t function without a list!
2. Reconnect with Hobbies
When life gets in the way, hobbies can easily be pushed aside with excuses about ‘lack of time’. I cannot remember the last time I took my camera out for a walk with the aim to do some shooting.
During this period of uncertainty it is time to dust off my lens and get out there! Not only will it encourage me to do a daily walk and get me out of these four walls, but it is also something I’d like to turn into a money maker.
Some other hobbies I have that I could reconnect with whilst I’m home working are:
- Dog walking/walking in general
- Exercise with home based apps or games consoles
- Yoga – I have downloaded the Keep Yoga app on my phone. I’ve not tried it yet, but I am starting to feel stiff and restless.
- HIIT sessions – I have a Joe Wicks 90 Day plan. I subscribed nearly a year ago and not even completed 1 cycle yet! I need to make the most of the money spent and start again,
- Wii Fit – I used to love this and I definitely need to dust it off and get back on it!
- Cooking – I will leave the baking to my daughter as she is much better at brownies than me!
- Listening to and discovering new music – Spotify is great for this!
- Upcycling – I love to revamp and reuse items around the house that may have outlived their purpose. My current project is building a sideboard/bar for the kitchen out of wooden crates.
3. Take time to Reflect
Being in these four walls for the majority of the day, 7 days a week can become a strain on my mind. I have suffered with depression for most of my adult life, so recognising the signs of the downhill slope is vital to ensuring that I don’t end up tearing my hair out. It starts with simply over thinking things… could be money, or the jobs around the house, or work… Then, before I know it, I become so overwhelmed by thoughts that I convince myself that life is too hard. But now I know what to look for in myself, I can overcome the issues with minor disruption to my days.
To help with my mental health, I have a meditation app called Insight Timer. I love this app. I use it almost every day! Mostly for sleeping, and it has worked wonders for that. There is a huge amount of free content on there, I did try a few other apps but found the free stuff was very limited. There is also a very supportive community of people on there. I have joined a few chat groups for support, and it has helped me no end with positivity and emptying my mind of all the noise.
This time at home has helped me realise that I want more from life than what I currently have. In the sense that I want to be at home, do something I am passionate about, be an inspirational role model for all the young ladies in my family, and to be the happiest version of myself. As I said in my introduction to this blog, I first wanted to start blogging years ago, but always seem to put things off, for another day… I had the epiphany when it dawned on me that I could have another 30 years of working life (if I am lucky to live to a ripe old age), and I cannot see myself being an engineer for that period of time! As much as I like my job, I don’t love it. I don’t get the same satisfaction from my jab as I did 20 years ago when I first started off as a technician.
So… That leaves a blank canvass for the future! I always encourage my children, and nieces/nephews to be who ever they want to be. Be ambitious. Chase their dreams. Well… It’s about time I took a dose of my own medicine.
What would I love to do?
- Lifestyle Blogger
- Landscape Photographer
- Mobile Food Van for events
- Interior Design (although this feels like too much hard work!)
Plenty to keep me occupied, 1 & 2 can be done alongside my current job. Build up a reputation and a following to ensure it’s a sustainable career path when I decide to hand in my notice!
No.3 will have to wait until I’m in a financially better place, but I definitely want to pursue this dream (check out my Pinterest to see my ideas).
No.4 is a pipe dream, but I would love to be able to do it as a hobby for friends and family.
4. Binge Watch Netflix
My top 5 binge worthy series currently on Netflix:
- Grace & Frankie – Such a feel good, light hearted US sitcom with a serious undertone. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel happy, and you’ll feeel sad. Perfect mix!
- Good Girls – Funny but gritty. Follow the Mums as they get into trouble and dig themselves deeper into the underworld than they’d like to be!
- Schitts Creek – A rich family lose everything, except a town the father bought as a joke. It starts off a bit slow and the characters take time to develop. But after 3/4 episodes I was hooked.
- Dead to Me – Season 2 is due out in May, so perfect time to binge the first season! A widowed woman’s quest to find justice for her husband…
- American Horror Story – Currently 8 seasons on Netflix. Each season is completely different, so if you are not keen on one of them, skip to another. Gory, jumpy, and plenty of twists to keep you guessing. Coven and Hotel were my favourite seasons!
5. Start an Online Short Course
I love learning new things, whether it is a practical skill, or gaining knowledge on a new subject. I am currently studying for a MSc in engineering, but that’s for professional development, not personal! One of the perks of being with Vodafone is they have ‘Very me’ rewards for their customers. Sometimes it’s a free coffee, or money off a subscription for gin. One of the deals last week was a 76% a course with the New Skills Academy. I decided to enrol on a blogging and vlogging course which I will start next week. the course doesn’t have an expiry date which is ideal for me, as I’m pretty rubbish at doing anything in a time restricted environment!
I also enrolled with the Shaw Academy, as they were giving a free trial for 30 days. In hindsight, I should have completed the trial before deciding to pay for lifetime membership! I have started a photography course… It is ok, but if you want any of the materials, resources, or a certificate at the end of the course you have to pay extra (for each thing). So a ‘free’ course can end up costing hundreds of pounds by the time you pay for all the extras, which I would expect as part of the course!