Some doors closed during lockdown

A close-up image of a plaid I am crocheting in different shades of pink.
Small part of a big project

Mid March — on the sixteenth to be specific — we went into lockdown. Now the lockdown in The Netherlands was called ‘an intellectual lockdown’ since we weren’t forced to stay home, but requested to work from home as far as possible. Yes, schools, day care centers, care homes, pubs, restaurants, fitness and sex clubs closed, but we were still allowed to go out, with a lot of restrictions, and we were required to be thinking for ourselves what was sensible actions.

Our company decided that one part of the employees still had to go to work every day — they work in production so can’t work from home — and the office workers were put on a roster. I was planned in too, having to go to the office two days a week, but I came back from London with a ‘cold’, which lasted three weeks, and was much worse than any other cold I ever had (no, I wasn’t tested). By the time I was better, a group of ladies had been ordered to be in the office every day, and there was no need for me to return to the office. Last week Friday was the first day since mid March that I worked in the office, and it was only for the day.

Changing and not changing behaviors

When I started working from home, a couple of things changed. My normal morning routine started an hour because I didn’t have to drive into the office, which means I slept an hour longer. Where this is really nice, I know it will take some getting used to when I have to turn my alarm back an hour. One thing I did wrong until about 2 weeks ago, is not having breakfast. The moment I came downstairs I sat down at my computer and started working, and breakfast was had at about 11am, when I started getting hungry. My tummy protested, which is why I decided it was time to have a regular eating pattern again – breakfast as soon as I come downstairs, and something light for lunch.

One thing that has been a huge positive in the past four months of working from home, is how much I can get done on one day, and how well I can concentrate. When in the office, there are people around you talking, or they come interrupt you to ask something, and that is something I don’t have when working at home.

The first couple of weeks I had difficulty logging off from work, and found myself making ten hour days, instead of the 8.5 hours I should work. I realized if I kept it up I would burn myself up quite quickly, so made a point of logging off at 4pm, and then only log in again the next morning. This has been made much easier about a month ago when I got a company laptop, which I put away when work is done.

I feel like I have pretty much stayed on top of my behaviors, and feel that I have everything under control and quite balanced. I love that I can do all my work from home, and I think one major thing lockdown has taught me is that I don’t have to be in the office to have everything under control. I am thinking about putting in a request to have a 50/50 work week when we return to the office — 50% in the office, and 50% working from home. You see, where others miss the personal contact with colleagues, I am almost ashamed to say I don’t. I actually prefer working alone, and having Microsoft Teams to keep contact is more than enough for me. This is not something I would’ve thought of myself before lockdown.

Thinking about other aspects

The lockdown definitely got me thinking about other aspects of life too. Unfortunately, during the lockdown — not only here but also in other countries — I have seen the best and the worst of and in people. I am sure many others will agree with me that we all react differently to the situation around us.

My mental health has taken a huge dip. This was not only because of the lockdown, although I do think that some things that happened was an indirect consequence of the lockdowns in various countries. By end March I wasn’t only feeling panicked ‘at times’ but also had panic attacks, and by half April they were daily occurrences. Since I always seem to be a slow learner and forget to put myself in the first spot because of always trying to keep everyone around me happy, it took me until deep into June to realize I was the only one who could change things.

I needed to reassess what I was doing. Reassess what was important. Reassess what I want for my future.

The conclusion was that I needed to close some doors, in order for others to open. I realized I had pushed myself far too hard for far too long, and I had been very unkind to myself. I am still in the process of assessing where I want to go and what I want to do, but I already feel more in control than I have for months (and possibly years, if I am really honest). Some doors will be closed forever, and others might be reopened again. Only time will tell how I will handle this, but for now I need to remember to always put myself and my own needs first.

More thinking to do

When I closed some doors, it seemed to not only have freed up some space in my head, but also some of my time. Because of this, I started crocheting, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. My first project is very simple, albeit very big. I am crocheting a plaid (that’s the picture you see above), as this doesn’t require me to read a pattern, but I already have several other things I want to crochet once this is done.

When I am crocheting, my mind is all over the place, thinking a lot about lockdown, about things that had happened, about how it affected me, about my shaky mental health, and how I want to move forward. I still have difficulty finding words for most of it, and just allow the thoughts to go round and round in my head, until the words crystallize and I can put them down on paper.

Until then, I will just keep on changing balls of wool into different projects, and keep doors closed until they are ready to be opened again.

Or not.

© Rebel’s Notes


Wicked Wednesday

Life Matters

24 thoughts on “Some doors closed during lockdown

  1. A lot of insights and learnings! I was sort of prepared for Covid isolation and changes by having multiple concussions 5 years ago. I went from too busy to I couldn’t do much: barely walk, hard time speaking, light and sound of any volume were too much. Gradually I’m discovering my new Traumatic Brain Injured self , especially after the having to fight to get medical care and disability income partially resolved after 4 years. Now the difference is that I can’t do any of the work I used to be involved in so I’m having to discover what I’m able to do and called to do as I discover who I am now. For me the major learning is to accept myself now as I am and not fight acceptance. It sounds like you have had major discoveries in accepting the self you are now in the situation you’re in .. Bravo! I image your crocheting and thinking as your transforming your thoughts into colorful creations and letting go of their power over you. Better to be crocheting than crotchety.

    1. Thank you for your comment, David, and sorry that you had to fight so long for medical care and disability income. That just is so depressing. I think it’s always better to accept than to fight a situation, and I know this is easy to say, and understand that it’s a process to get to the point of acceptance.
      As for my crocheting… I am really enjoying it, especially now that I am making some stuffed toys for my grandsons 😉

    1. Indeed, I needed to do something to get myself to calm down, and to get through these times where the world is an upside down place!

  2. I feel like my approach has echoed much of what you are expressing here. While I do feel sad about what has happened, the closed doors do somehow mean that you are forced to focus, take stock and make some changes. I am glad that you have been able to make positive changes and prioritise what was important. You have so much to give and hopefully you will see the reward of your endeavours. Your blanket looks amazing! ❤️

    1. Thank you, Missy. I will never stop giving, because that is just so much part of me, but I will just make a better choice of who I give it to. I guess that’s one thing that I have learned when those door closed. And thank you, I really love my blanket! 😀

  3. Craft is definitely a great way to relax your body and let your mind wander at will. Which sounds un productive but I have found overall to be very therapeutic.

    1. Oh yes, it IS therapeutic. I am really enjoying it, and now that I have started, I’m not stopping. I have some more projects in mind, and will be busy creating all those things until at least the end of the year, and am sure more ideas will come along 😉

  4. Projects help when it comes to dealing with those crazy merry go round emotions. First and foremost you need to take care of yourself. I am glad you have found productive and practical outlet.

    1. Thank you, Raven. Indeed, I need to take care of myself first, which I am very much doing now, to give myself time to heal. I have been hard on myself for far too long…

  5. I think a lot of companies have learned so much from the lockdown – exactly what you have said – being at home can be more productive and they save on office space too –
    I am sorry about your panic attacks – I think that mental health was left out in the cold a little during lockdown. Many suffered and if we ever have to do it again I hope authorities have more in place regarding this.
    Take Care of yourself Marie
    May xx

    1. I agree with you re the mental health aspect, May. Many indeed suffered, and something should be in place to help those who suffer the most. Also, there are now companies who wll change their policies of having people in the office most of the time, to having them at home most of the time, because the work still get done and people are more productive.
      Thank you for your comment, dear May xox

  6. Lovely post Marie … and I found exactly the same issues as you when I first began working from home (later getting-up, logging-in straight away, irregular breakfast routine … and logging off actually much later than had physically been in the office).
    Thankfully I had no colds or health issues.
    Here’s hoping the doors you have closed will give you more time, and less pressure, to explore new avenues more leisurely and enjoyably.
    Xxx – K

    1. I am still trying to get back to a healthy routine again re my eating, but it’s a slow process. And thank you, K, I believe things never happen without a reason, and those closed doors might just mean new doors open with great opportunities behind them. For now I am just enjoying that I have less pressure and more time 🙂 xox

  7. I share in the sentiment of liking working from home. I don’t get to do so everyday, but not having to wake up so early is really nice. Hopefully, when there’s is a bit more normalcy, they’ll allow you to do work 50/50 from home and the office as you wish.

    1. I really hope they do allow it. One thing I don’t miss at all is the traffic jams every morning, and of course I love to stay in bed an hour longer 🙂

  8. I hope the 50/50 schedule is able to work for you if you choose to apply for it.

    If there’s one thing that I’ve decided re: work from home during this time is that I don’t like it. Having outsiders “in” my home via video/web conferencing causes my anxiety to skyrocket, especially within the already-high-stress context/content of my work. So I’ll be very glad when in-person work resumes. I know a lot of people enjoy working from home, but I’m not one of them.

    1. I think the lockdowns has taught us all something about ourselves. Where I didn’t like the meetings where my colleagues were suddenly IN my house, thankfully they only happened a couple of times at the beginning of lockdown, and then stopped. Now we only have online chat contact (which I prefer) or phone calls. As for the 50/50 schedule, I already mentioned it, and they seemed in favor of it 🙂

  9. I think as submissive we are natural “people pleasers”. As great as that is it can be exhausting and we definitely put others before us.
    I’m glad you’ve taken the time for you and hope you see many more open doors because of it.
    Some doors close because they are actually windows. They give you a glimpse but no access. Better off closed if you ask me…
    xo

    1. Thank you for that last part of your comment, about the windows, and only giving a glimpse. You are right, it’s better when they stay closed. As for being a ‘people pleaser’, yes! It’s very much part of who I am, and I always need to be reminded that I should sometimes think of myself too, that I don’t always have to please others. Thanks for your wise words, MrsK xox

  10. I of course can’t fully look into your life but it has felt to me more recently that you seem a little more relaxed or less tense. I really hope that’s true because you deserve some peace and happiness instead of the constant anxiety. I enjoy seeing that you took up the new hobby and how that particular blanket is coming along. It looks cosy and I love the colours!

    1. Yes, you are right. I feel less tense, and panic attacks now don’t happen every day anymore. It seems the steps I have taken to preserve my own mental health are paying off. And crocheting the blanket is part of the healing process, as it keeps my fidgety fingers busy, and filters the bad thoughts I have in my mind. I also started a second crocheting project, and that totally keeps me counting 😉

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