Lockdown holiday

We completed our first EVER lockdown holiday. Did we stay at home? Half and half… Did we stay alert? Absolutely! Do we know what this means? Absolutely fucking no…

When my employer announced that no annual leave already booked for the lockdown period can be cancelled, there were some voices of discontent. “I was meant to spend two weeks in Bali, I don’t want to spend two weeks at home.” Whilst I’m sure the principal reason for this announcement was a prevention from the half of the business taking leave at the same time as soon as the air spaces re-open, it potentially forced people to get bored and get more creative on their staycation. After all, supposedly allowing children to be bored, unleashes their creativity! It makes my brain dead if you ask…

Anyway though

We were meant to be whale watching in the Azores, Portuguese islands in the Atlantic Ocean, a holiday we arranged back in October! Instead we learnt that one week was not enough to do 101 things we wanted to do… And oh my, we were busy… From bike rides, country hikes to gardening, DIY and a 13-hour bonanza of IKEA furniture assembly… The week passed like a summer breeze and despite being occupied on end, I realised two things…

… 1) how shattered I was, and 2) how much I deserved that break!

“Working from home” is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Before the lockdown I had been accustomed to working from home once/twice per week, but I was always a bit dismayed when friend and neighbours called it “working” from home (wink, wink). “No, mate, I AM really. I have to do timesheets!” People tend to work harder at home, because there are fewer distractions and more focus time. Colleagues think twice before scheduling a meeting in your diary too, hence no pointless back-to-backs running between floors and being asked to join last minute… Whilst working from home creates a bit of an illusion that you should be perhaps a bit more rested since you don’t spend time on a commute or you have more “me” time in the evening, it is actually just as exhausting as being in the office. Add to it kids being at home, and god forbid schooling them for 12+ weeks is certainly an equivalent of a daily dosage of HIIT for your brain…

You may not be able to travel anywhere, but don’t cancel your holiday for that reason! You need a break from work even if your child is to be attached to your leg throughout! Staycation does not have to be boring, but is necessary to recharge your batteries… So what did I do on my first lockdown vacation?

1. I managed a trip to the beach! We set off really early as we were somewhat petrified of the crowds of people invading our personal 2-metre diameter. We couldn’t be more wrong! The car park was busy, but the beach was comfortably empty! From a distance it looked like the Bournemouth ant nest that you see in various media outlets, but once we approached the shore we realised that the distance really distorts the reality!

We took our bikes with us as there is a national cycling route (www.sustrans.org.uk) along the coast and it was perfect. A flat and off-road bike trail for a “newly qualified” five-year-old cyclist combined with the seaview and a packed lunch on the beach was a dream come true, especially after so many weeks of limited movement…

2. I looked after our garden. In April we sowed some seeds which are now growing rather nicely. It has been a new discovery for me and I shocked myself enjoying looking after growing plants. I may have been even caught talking to them. There is something so rewarding and enjoyable about seeing the first green strawberry in your hanging baskets…

3. We did lots of DIY… When I was growing up, my dad always involved me in DIY. This may be why I do not have an issue with using a hammer drill or wielding an axe to my Christmas tree every year. It has to fit in that stand somehow! Similarly to gardening, there is something ever so calming and therapeutic about drilling these holes in the walls, assembling seven boxes of 8 boxes of IKEA and putting an upright in the shed…

4. More bike rides…! Bikes on the car and off we went! This time Sustrans took us to an old railway track in Kent… Flat and off-road. We hit the spot again and my son rode for a whopping 13.5 miles! What a resilience!

5. Doing fuck all in my double deck chair in the garden… Truly recommended….

What may shock you is that none of the above was accompanies by booze! In the first weeks of lockdown I was drinking so much wine and beer that it was becoming a habit I wanted to break. As a beer lover I discovered Brewdog’s alcohol free selection and oh my… these are good…(and I’m fussy)…

So yes, it is definitely worth taking a break! You deserve it!