Monday 30 March 2020

Settling into lockdown

The silver lining to the coronavirus lockdown is that there is bugger all that we can do about it. I made peace with this as I saw my business prospects plummeting - and just when 2020 was finally looking up for us after three years of very hard slog.

This lockdown is an appreciated break that is even better than a holiday. On holiday, the rest of the world continues as usual. Right now, everything and everyone that we deal with are shut-down too. As Mark Manson writes in his 'Motherf-cking Monday' newsletter, "And never in my adult life have I ever had more time and lack of obligations than now".

I've got no shortage of work to do but I decided to take a long weekend to do a lot of very little. I've tended to my new veggie garden, planted seeds, tumbled my compost, listened to an audiobook (while gardening), read two books, napped, done house cleaning, and I've exercised. I've allowed myself to awake without an alarm and I've lazed in bed drinking tea an reading - books or coronavirus articles online (I'm reducing this latter activity tomorrow!).

Breakfast on my patio on Day 1. I've been living here for four months and this is the first time I've had breakfast out here instead of in front of my computer. Every day during lockdown I will be eating breakfast outside.

My big work project involves intense image editing. I haven't had time to do this in the past 18 months because it is very time consuming and needs chunks of hours. I've got these now in abundance.

I am enjoying not having to go anywhere or do anything. I am just being. I haven't had this indulgence in a very long time. I've got lots of blog posts juggling around in my mind; but I haven't been drawn to turn on my computer even to write, from which I get great pleasure!

I count my blessings that I live in a cottage with a garden, I have running water and electricity (and gas), internet, and I have food in my cupboards. This makes lockdown very pleasant. I feel for those who do not have these luxuries.

I've been tired, exhausted and burnt out for so very long. Lockdown is exactly what I need to recovery and to be strong enough to deal with what life is going to throw at me again.

An afternoon read and nap under the blanket I made last year.
I have the pleasure of living in a place with a reasonable garden. When I open my driveway gate and that of my landlord, I can run a loop of about 90 metres. I've resurrected circuit training -  activity sessions with a variety of activities 'connected' by running loops between sets. I wrote about circuit training back in 2010 (OMG - 10 years ago!).

In short, you pick 5-6 exercises like burpees, squats, lunges, push ups, sit ups, mountain climber, tricep dips, stair climbs, jumping jacks, weight lifts. You assign these activities to stations. You can connect the stations with movement like jumps, skips, runs, backward-runs and the like. The completion of all activities with connecting element is one round.

I work the activities in a pyramid round. For example: the first round I do each activity twice. After completing say the sit-ups, I run a loop and head for the next station (can be in the same place or another location in the house/garden). I do the next activity - say burpees - for two repetitions and then run again. After completing each activity and run loops, I've completed a round. For the next round, I increase the reps by two - so in the next round I must do each activity 4 times i.e. 4 x burpees, 4 x sit-ups. The next round will be 6, then 8 and then 10. If I have the energy, I can bring the pyramid back down again.

If you don't have space to run, the connecting element could be skipping or running on the spot for a set count.

Circuits are great for cardio and strength. I've done two sessions and I can feel it! I get ideas for different activities from the internet - there is no limit to the amount of variations you can create.

I'm also committed to doing yoga daily - either a class or some stretching postures after a circuit. I love yoga, especially Ashtanga, but I haven't had space in my life for much of it for too long.

A few years ago, I discovered Lesley Fightmaster on YouTube and downloaded a bunch of her videos for Ashtanga classes. I think I did two or three of them and then lost the plot to self-practice. I'm back and I loved her 50-minute Ashtanga class that I did yesterday. She has posted tons of videos since I first downloaded a couple and I look forward to exploring her channel. I also have other videos saved from a variety of sources that focus on balance elements - I look forward to progressing with these.

Fixing forward head posture
I've become increasingly aware of my forward head posture - too much time spent on my computer and looking down at my phone. I'm not bad, but I could end up that way if I don't do something about it. I found this video two days ago. I have not doubt that it will prove useful to you too. I correct myself throughout the day (plus it helps not being on my computer much too!).


Rusty training
If there is one thing I've let Rusty down on, it is dog training. She is smart and learns quickly. She would have loved to be an agility dog or to do dancing with me. I just haven't had the time to commit on this. By chance, I discovered dog trainer Karis Nafte yesterday. She is posting daily videos on Instagram with training tricks to do with your dog. Rusty and I started with weaving - where she weaves between my legs. Fortunately Rusts is very food motivated. I'm so impressed with her progress in our three short sessions today. We'll pick it up again tomorrow.

Foot off the gas
While I have aspirations to do an online course and to accomplish other tasks during lockdown, I am also cautious of doing what I've been doing for the past 20-plus years: filling every waking moment with work, tasks and obligations.

For lockdown, I'm taking my foot off the gas: doing only what I need to. I'm not thinking too much (yet) about how to go about picking up the pieces of my businesses when lockdown ends.

1 comment:

Conrad van den Berg said...

We're all in this together but interestingly each is getting something tailor-made out of it. As a newly retired person who has been on a long holiday recently and in danger of just floating along, I am keeping to a working-day routine, including a morning alarm. Exercise is difficult, except for my regular twice a week strength routine which is in-house anyway. But the cardio I find hard in the constrained area. I have followed the link to your circuit training post and that will help me. I have offered to help a private primary school with cross country coaching and your circuit training idea will come in useful. This is not the first of your ideas that I will be adopting. For instance, for the Gariep dam trail run I want to use your idea of numbered locations on the map and on the ground, that you did for the Dome Forest Run (permission please). You have been an inspiration to me, with getting into running longer distances, with blogging, and now with organising a race.