Lockdown update part 4

Lockdown measures are easing a bit and many of the shops are opening again. While going for a wander around Primark or going to Greggs for my first cheese and onion bake in months is tempting, I think it might still be a while before I have the energy for a full on shopping trip. I don’t fear setting foot in a shopping centre, I’ve just become a whole lot lazier these last few weeks. I’ve also focussed more on getting the stuff I need rather than the stuff I want. Amazon, surprisingly has become a lifesaver for me the last couple of months, as I’ve found that things I would normally have got online from other suppliers have been much easier and quicker to get from them. I never knew that they sold certain toiletries until a near three week wait for a delivery from a well known health and beauty retailer at the height of the lockdown period forced me to source some of the more urgent items sooner.

I’ve been spending more time sorting stuff at the house, ahead of the final stages (hopefully) of the renovation. It seems like I find more magazines from years ago the more often I go. I mean, I did read a LOT of comics as a kid as well as anything that I could get my hands on bar the more grown up stuff. I’m just shocked we still had so many of them when I’m sure we were regularly recycling a lot of them up until a few years ago.

I found a sketchbook at the house from when I was about 13. Was reminded I did have a bit of drawing ability back then, even if it was mostly drawing cartoon and video game characters. My drawing skills are practically non-existent now (my sister was the real artist in the family), but I was always more into writing.

I’ve added more to my Spotify playlist because I was bored.

I’m looking forward to being able to go away again. Some might moan about “staycations”, but I love going on holidays in the UK. I admit I currently have limited options, what with having not renewed my passport yet. But even if I did have a valid one I’d still choose holidaying on home turf. It’s just how I am.

I miss my friends more than ever, but I’m feeling more hopeful that I’ll get to see them before the end of September at least.

I learned that another term for smartphone addiction is nomophobia. I’m not one to self-diagnose based on what I find on the internet, but…

My Life Story were a hugely underrated band. “If You Can’t Live Without Me Then Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?” should have been massive, as should “12 Reasons Why I Love Her” but I think we already knew that.

And that is about it for now. Hope everything is well with you.

Lockdown update part 3

Since the last time I posted:

I have been going out for walks nearly every day. Just getting outside for even a ten minute walk around the block has helped me a lot, mentally and physically.

I’m having to get used to blogging on a smartphone since I’m unable to get my laptop back from storage at the moment (long story). I still find it a bit weird, but it’ll do for now.

I’m thinking about doing a course on using Adobe Spark. I know the basics, but I’d like to know how to master it so that everything I create on it (like the image above) doesn’t scream “graphic design is my passion”. Thank God it doesn’t have comic sans, not that I would use it.

I said to my best mate that I hope I get to see her before Christmas. She answered “what year?”. Well, exactly.

Same friend also asked me if I was doing anything for my 40th next year. Mate, I don’t even feel 39 yet and it was my birthday in February.

I was nominated to do a Facebook challenge and I did it, Wouldn’t normally engage in any of those kind of challenges but it was about books so I gave it a go.

Expanded my list of people who can do one. The latest addition is people who post photos of beaches on social media to complain about people on the beach. It’s got to the point where I don’t know, or care if the photo was taken today or is a photo from years ago that’s being passed off as today. It’s ultimately about getting people outraged for likes and RTs. Bit sad really when you think about it.

I made another Spotify playlist because I was bored. I keep adding stuff to it when I’m bored, which is still quite often at the moment, as you might expect:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/53c5uIE1GFLA4zMojy9Qpp?si=u9IL3HhiSeym_6WQqc9VCQ

Have come to the conclusion that TikTok is just an app for videos of people doing the same dance routines to Blinding Lights and some Dutch song about MDMA and having sex with your dad (????)

Anyway, I hope that you are all keeping well during this time. How has your lockdown experience been?

Lockdown update

As of the 29th April, I’ve taken to writing a post by hand and posting a photo of it rather than typing it all out. Mainly out of pure laziness, but also because I don’t have my laptop at the moment. Here’s what I wrote:

In addition to the above:

I’ve started to crave Maltesers, Salt and Vinegar Square crisps, Haribo Starmix and Strawberry Hubba Bubba. Not together, obviously. Yes, I know I could go out and get them but I’m reserving my time out of the house for actual essentials.

I listened to the radio show of The Mighty Boosh on BBC Sounds. Now I’m wanting to watch the TV series again. Remind myself of the nights when BBC Three was actually on TV and I’d stay up to watch and admire this work of crazy genius (and, ahem, Noel Fielding. Well he was weirdly attractive).

I rate my mood out of five on most days as a two. Moving to a 3.5 later on in the day.

I need to get off twitter completely for a bit. Even reducing my amount of time checking it isn’t doing me much good.

Here ends the update. Hope you’re doing good.

Lockdown report

Aggretsuko. The cutest death metal head.

As of 21st April 2020:

I have only gone out of the house five times (excluding the times I’ve been in the garden) since lockdown began.

I have watched far too much Homes Under The Hammer.

I realised Aggretsuko is my spirit animal minus the singing of death metal at karaoke. I don’t do karaoke, but I have fantasised about screaming “YOU’RE A SHITTY BOSS!!!!!! I HATE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!” at former horrible managers.

I have taken part in a 30 day song challenge on Instagram. Normally I find these kind of challenges on any social media platform incredibly annoying but it is something to relieve the boredom. And it is interesting to find out what others I follow who are doing it post.

I got three letters from the hospital on the same day (two of them being the same letter). One was the dreaded letter telling me I was in the “at risk” group with me having a long term health condition and saying I should shield for 12 weeks. The other letter(s) were from my consultant which included a form to self assess my level of risk. The higher the score, the higher the risk. My score? 0. Therefore I don’t have to fully shield and can follow the social distancing protocols. Yes I’m confused, but thinking about it I’d rather have got the letters than not. It shows they’re looking out for us.

My anxiety has been through the roof.

I am grateful to live in the time of video calls and messaging apps.

I’ve reduced my twitter consumption if only to stop myself from getting upset and angry at 5G truthers and all other assorted idiots that are in overdrive during this time.

I’ve also reduced my Facebook time for the same reason. Thankfully, I don’t have many friends on there and the majority of them don’t engage with that kind of nonsense.

I believe Disney + came along at just the right time. And yes, The Mandalorian is magnificent.

I’m still meh about Killing Eve.

I downloaded Disney Sorcerer’s Arena on my phone. I deleted it after two days as it drained my phone battery faster than Fallout Shelter did a few years back. Good game though. That reminds me, I need to get a new phone when this is all over.

I also downloaded Incredibox. You have to pay for it, but it is a fun little app.

Been using Noted to empty my head of thoughts. Some potential blog material which I might share, then again might not.

I wrote about lockdown and ended up turning it into some weird poem that I’m kind of equal parts proud and embarrassed about.

My skin has gone bad.

I’m more tired than I’ve been for a while.

I’m doing my best to hold it together.

I hope you’re coping well.

A letter for whoever needs this right now.

Hi,

I hope this finds you well.

I know that right now things seem more than a bit weird. You might also be finding it a tad overwhelming at the moment, what with the near constant stream of information (and misinformation) that is coming through every day from media outlets. It’s natural that you will be worried about your friends and your family, especially all those who are at high risk. I know right now my own priority is ensuring that myself and my own family are safe and healthy.

If there is one piece of advice I can give to you in a situation like this is, don’t stress yourself out. Stress doesn’t just affect your mental health, it puts a strain on your physical health too. It can impact on your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and other illnesses. So even if you don’t pick up coronavirus, you could still pick up something else. Be aware of what’s going on, keep yourself informed, keep washing your hands (it’s very important), but please don’t let your attempts at protecting yourself from this virus mess up your health in other ways. It really isn’t worth it.

In the meantime, if you’re feeling a little more anxious than usual at the moment, take time for yourself as much as possible. Also:

Mute anything or anyone on social media that is posting negativity. Better still, take a break from social media altogether, it works wonders.

Restrict your news consumption. Having BBC News 24 on all day when you’re already feeling down will just make you feel worse, as will following news sites on twitter all day. Check the news once a day, any time apart when you wake up or before you go to bed. Maybe even get a newspaper (yes they still exist) just avoid the S*n or Daily Fail.

Try a mindfulness app. I’ve found that using Headspace has helped me a lot when I have had bouts of stress and anxiety. I particularly recommend their sleepcasts if you’re having difficulty sleeping.

Sleep well. Eat healthily. Exercise. Read. Listen to music and podcasts you love, or discover new ones to enjoy. Watch your favourite films and TV. Play games. Have a go making that thing you’ve said you wanted to make but have never had the time to. If you are having to self- isolate at this time, now you’ve a chance to do it.

Be kind to your body and mind. Remember life still goes on, just in a different way from what you’re used to.

Take care.

I did have a title for this.

Procrastination is not something I want to do. But I’ve been doing it even more so of late. I just can’t get myself motivated to do anything that I know needs doing . Maybe it’s down to currently having a lack of a routine. Maybe it’s down to my body getting used to being relaxed after such a long period of rushing around, being stressed and not having a chance to have a break. I don’t want to feel like I’m putting things off, I do want to feel like I am doing something necessary. Besides I promised myself that I wouldn’t be a lazy get.

Last week I created a list in my journal of tasks for the week. I had about three tasks for each day and I marked off each one I completed. Admittedly, I had more incomplete tasks than completed, but it was better that I managed to attempt some of them than none of them. That I made the effort to compile a list was also an achievement, I suppose.

How do you try to avoid putting things off? And how do you try to keep yourself busy?

Technology hates me (again)

Last weekend my iPhone crashed. I spent the best part of nearly three hours trying to download the update, only for it having to be restored to factory settings and my most recent backup being installed on it. It was then that I found out that my phone hadn’t backed up since June, so all the apps that installed were all the old versions which wouldn’t work until I had downloaded the update. I did of course, backup my phone to my computer after I had installed everything (I usually do it to the cloud but it was taking a hell of a long time that night and I was very, very, impatient).

A few days ago, I noticed that nearly the entire middle row of my laptop’s keyboard wasn’t working properly. Out of ASDFGHJKL, only the “G” and “H” keys were okay, while some of the symbols weren’t working either. I gave the keyboard a clean, but still no luck. Not good for someone who blogs and has also started an online copywriting course. I bought a USB keyboard off amazon and you know what, I am pretty glad I did in the end. As much as I like the keyboard on my laptop, I’ve not always felt comfortable using it. It’s alright when you’re browsing the web, tweeting and stuff like that, but it could be a bit of a pain when you’re writing longer things. Also it used to be pretty annoying when I was writing a blog post or email only to have to start over when the corner of my hand would catch a button whilst typing and delete everything.

I’m just hoping I don’t have any other technical difficulties for a bit as I don’t really want to fork out for anything new just yet unless anything goes completely kaput.

(By the way, these technical difficulties have meant that part two of my “Brief History of Blogging” post has been delayed somewhat. It is coming, I promise).

My Brief History of Blogging: Part One

Hi. So originally I was going to make this a really short post about how I feel blogging is different these days. I ended up writing about my own journey as a blogger and it has turned out longer than I anticipated. In fact, I am still writing it. So I thought it would be a great idea to turn it into a mini series on here. I know you’re excited.

Here’s the first part of this post. Expect the second sometime later this week. Enjoy the read.

Blogging has changed so much since I started doing it back in the day. When I started, people were doing it as a hobby. It was an online diary. People used it to talk about their lives, share the things that they were up to and what interested them. They also used them to rant a fair bit and post the results of quizzes they did when they were bored and should have been doing something constructive. Or at least, I did.

In the days I first started to blog, MySpace was in existence. I didn’t sign up for a profile until about 2006 and I was probably getting on a bit to have one even then (reader, I was 25). I did post some blogs on there but not often. I thought it was a bit crap if you wanted to use it as a blog space but ok for the occasional quick ramble.

My first blog proper, was on Blogger. I’d looked at all the various blog platforms, including LiveJournal and one called 20Six but I settled on Blogger because it seemed like the easiest to set up at the time. I used the blog to post about my interests and what I’d been doing to begin with, then started to use it as a platform to let off steam about anything in the news or in my life that had pissed me off that day. Towards the end, I ended up doing various online quizzes such as “Which Muppet are you?” and “What superpower should you have?” and sharing the results as I had no idea what to write about. My first blog, which I can’t remember the name of, let alone the url, was eventually abandoned and left to float into the darkest depths of cyberspace.

 My interest in blogging, though, hadn’t entirely gone with it…

Job hunt.

For reasons that I won’t go into a lot of detail on here, I am looking for another job. I have said in the past that was going to look for one and never really acted on it. Well I really am this time.

I’ve been spending time every day on the job search. I’ve worked on my CV, I’ve uploaded it to more than one job site so I can use it the moment I see something I’m interested in. I’ve printed a couple of copies that I could hand in to places I see looking to hire people. So far, my search has come to nothing. In the meantime, I’ve got people who, while they absolutely mean well, are in my ear telling me about vacancies they’ve seen and telling me I should apply to them. Even if it means me getting the tram in the morning. I have experienced getting the tram in the morning rush hour and, yeah it’s not something I want to experience on a regular basis (FYI, I don’t drive).

To be honest, after so many years in my current job, I’m ready for something different, not simply doing the same thing in a different place. Recently, I’ve felt like I’ve been going through the motions in my job and realised a long time ago that there was little to no chance of progression while I was still doing it. I’ve also decided that, whatever I do next, I don’t want to be having to be on my feet as often as I have been in this one. I want to be able to do something without my arthritic knees being aggravated from having to stand up for the best part of an eight-hour shift. However, the more I trail the job sites, the more I wonder whether I’ve left it too late to change career path, or am I going to have to consider moving away in order to get a decent job.

I suppose if I am unable to get a job straight away I can always use the time to learn to drive, brush up on some skills or maybe do stuff for peanuts online. In the meantime, I’ll just keep on looking.