Monday, 20 April 2020

Time for a lockdown detox!

A month. That's how long this has been going on. With the doors of my business closed, football, pubs and restaurants shut and TV gradually sliding into repeats and banality, the temptation to drink a bit too much and spend the day scouring social media is one that is hard to resist. In normal life, I find that having a strict regime and time management works well. On three days a week I don't drink at all. I get plenty of exercise, football every Thursday, most Sundays and a 6km dog walk every day. Unfortunately, two weeks before lockdown, I damaged my knee playing football. This has stubbornly refused to heal. The physio has proven had to get on top of. The cycling on the exercise bike at the gym has gone out of the window. I've found our regular circuit of the Totteridge valley just a little bit too long for a daily walk, so my exercise levels are down massively. In a normal week I do around 100,000 steps. Since lockdown, I've been doing half that. Two weeks ago, I only managed 29,000. As to the drinking. I think I've had three days off in a month. I've not been going mad, no hangovers, but every day is not good. We eat healthy. We've been freshly preparing wholesome food, trying new recipies, but a few too many cakes and puddings have not helped. My weight has gone from 15 Stone 7 up to 16.11. This is not good and could explain the reluctance of the knee to heal.

Then there is mental health. I like to think of myself as a robust person, but yesterday, I found myself in a state of despair. As you may have read here, my favourite Aunty died of a hospital acquired Covid19 infection on Tuesday.  As if this wasn't bad enough, yesterday the Sunday Times reported that there was total chaos at the heart of government during the period when the worst ravages should have been dealt with. I found I spent most of yesterday manically scouring Twitter and getting myself more and more worked up. This was not helped by an exchange with a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate, who demonstrated all of the characteristics of  people who think they are born to lead, but have none of the humanity or compassion to do so. When dealing with apologists for the inexcusable, especially when faced with the death of a close loved one, it is hard not to get upset.

So I did what I've been doing most days. Ate a bit too much, drank a bit too much, and got a bit cross with the idiots that stalk the earth on social media. Eventually I put down the phone, and watched 'Anne of a thousand days' with my wife.  I realised that there are many parallels between Henry VIII and our current Prime Minister, most of which are rather unflattering. When that finished, I had a bath and went to bed. As I lay there, I realised that none of this is healthy. None of it is conducive to happiness and wellbeing. So changes need to be made.

In normal life, I usually get up early, do some writing, have breakfast and check Twitter 3-4 times a day. The normal routine means that there are long periods when I don't look at my phone. I don't have time to seek out idiots, respond to rubbish or get cross. Even when I have got into pointless exchanges, work and family life forms a break and I get distracted. The lockdown provides little respite.

So as I lay there, unable to doze off, I realised that I need a new routine. This has to start with an all round detox. The first is an easy one. No drinking until Friday. To be honest, I am a bit bored with sitting at home and drinking right now. I find when things become habitual, they lose their joy. As we eat properly, there is little to do here, apart from cut down on the puddings and chocolate bars.

Then there is social media. It is both a blessing and a curse. With the recent family crisis, Facebook has provided some genuine solace. However, I have realised that in truth I am sick of Twitter. As I feel a responsibility to readers of this blog to stay in touch (when I don't post people email to see if I'm alright), I have set some rule. I will check Twitter three times a day. Once after breakfast and reading the papers. Once after Lunch and once when I post my blog, whenever that may be. Other than that, I will ignore it completely. I will apply the same rules to facebook. I think that a mental health detox is long overdue.

My first target is to get my weight down below 16 stone. I think that once this can be acheived, my knee problems will ease. It is important, so the biscuits, chocolates and boozing needs a severe haircut. I will give an update on Friday, to give you some idea how it's all going. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don't fancy going to hell, but if that's where I'm destined, I hope it won't be any time soon. Like many, I need to get some order back into my life and I need to spend my time on more productive things.

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