The long short week (29.2020)

Monday was a bank holiday. Not an official one in my part of the world, just a day’s holiday granted by my employer, a bank. It was their way of encouraging people to take time off, take a break, slow down, maybe book some extra holiday to recover from all the stress we have been under since March. I didn’t book any extra holiday so it was just one extra day off for me.

But a day off is still a day off and it was a chance to get caught up on some gardening. The weeds are doing really well, almost better than the actual plants. The recent weather has been really favourable for the weeds. And the grass seems to think the garden beds are part of the lawn. We have an ongoing battle, the grass and I. It tries to take more ground and I try to beat it back.

In the afternoon I spent some time beading through the master file of The Novel and doing some editing. Some bits are good, some bits are very rough indeed. I have a long road ahead of me with edits and rewrites. No, that’s a wrong attitude. I need to look at it as a positive thing to inspire myself to do this work. How about insetad: I am looking forward to polishing the text and making this a great novel.

Tuesday morning we did our usual “proper” supermarket shopping at Lidl. We walked past Oasis cafe on the way home and Mustapha saw us and gave us a wave. So now I have to feel guilty that I didn’t want a coffee? But I also feel worried about the amount of coffee that I’ve been drinking since we entered lockdown.

Guilt and worry, not a good combination. So it was useful that on Wednesday I sat in on another webinar, this one about Facing anxiety and staying strong. The top tip seemed to be that anxiety induces immobility, and immobility makes the anxiety worse. The way to get yourself out of a cycle of anxiety is to move or do something. Physical movement or exercise can help reduce stress chemicals. Writing down your anxious thoughts can help provide distance. Talking to people or connecting with someone or doing something for someone can help you feel less isolated, less alone. This is all good and useful advice, but at the same time, I fully understand the paralysis that comes with extreme anxiety (and depression). That kind of paralysis is hard to fight against. And no matter what the logical part of your brain says and knows, the emotional part can overrule it.

This week was very heavy on screen time a work. I had several 2hr video calls which I’m sure would have been less intensive if they had been face to face but that’s not an option right now, so after some long spells of intense concentration, I was very tired at the end of the day. I didn’t really feel like watching TV in the evening but still spent a couple of nights absorbed in Mindhunter. I think it’s better to watch it on Friday night as my wind down watching at the end of the week. So strange that I find something so intense, so relaxing, but on The Before, after a particularly intense day at work, I would it relaxing to do sudoku on my commute home.

On Thursday night we got online just in time to catch Deep Blue Sea from the National Theatre online streaming. It was good, and for a change, all the characters were sympathetic. Even the ones I expected to dislike were actually not as obnoxious as I expected. Next week is the last of the National’s live streams. I will miss them, but apparently actual theatres may be able to open on 1 August (but I may have read that wrong). My lockdown resolution has been that in The After, I will support more small and local theatres.

On Friday it was my 20 year anniversary at work. I don’t get a watch or a pin or anything, just a small sense of achievement. I’m one of four people in my team celebrating 20 years this month so July 2000 must have been a prime time for hiring great people!

On Saturday we had another team get together. I expected it to be easy to get there – catch my commuting train from The Before – but my train line was suspended for engineering works. No problem, I’ll catch the 48 bus. Except, as the woman at the bus station information said to me, “48 bus stopped a long time ago.” There is no 48 bus anymore. Instead I caught the 55 which seemed to follow a similar route (i.e. slow and circuitous down streets choked with traffic). I forgot that I would be wearing a mask for over an hour on the bus on a warm summer’s day. I did not realise what the would be like. It’s like a little mini steam facial for your lower face.

Why is it that four day weeks so often seem longer than five day weeks?

What were the highlights and lowlights of your week?

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