In early July I took a week off work on annual leave. We packed up the car and headed to Richmond in North Yorkshire to enjoy a three-night break in a remote and cosy Airbnb. It was the first week that lockdown restrictions on “overnight stays” were lifted and as fate would have it, it was also the week of our second wedding anniversary, so it seemed the perfect excuse to get away. We walked for hours each day with the dog in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales, enjoyed great food and spent lots of quality time together. It was a much needed break from work and the general grind of everyday life. BUT, I couldn’t help feel there was something missing – and that was the sunshine. We didn’t see a glimmer of sunshine during our entire time away, and I have to be honest, it was pretty disappointing. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy an annual family summer holiday abroad for as long as I can remember, and for me, the blue skies and bright sunshine is synonymous with feeling calm, relaxed and at peace… and I suppose truly “on holiday”.
Originally, Paul and I were planning to spend our July 2020 summer holiday in Greece or southern Italy – but alas, Covid-19 put a stop to all of that. We were also looking at booking a late winter break to Iceland to see the Northern Lights and perhaps we’d even squeeze in a little European city break somewhere too. One of my favourite things to do at the beginning of the year during those dreary wintery January days (that seem to go on forever!), is to plan where we will escape to in the coming year. Having a holiday to look forward to gets me through the year – there’s no doubt about it.
I’m not going to lie, during this time of “lockdown” there have been times when I have really struggled to come to terms with the fact that I may have to experience an entire year without a period of some guaranteed sunshine and respite. As a serial over-thinker and a self-confessed anxious bunny, carving out time in my year that is completely dedicated to doing the things I love, switching to a lower gear and spending quality time and sharing wonderful moments with my husband is really very important.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand these are very much first-world problems. There are people who have lost their jobs, who can’t pay their bills, who have become ill and lost loved ones. But I think it’s OK to acknowledge that this new way of life has had a negative impact on everyone in one way or another. I talk about holidays because they are so incredibly important to my mental health, but I’ve also felt isolated by working full-time from home and plagued with worry about my husband’s health and wellbeing – he’s a front-line worker. I’ve also missed the early months of my nephew’s life (he was only born in October 2019) and I’ve been unable to spend precious time with my lovely Granny who is 92 years old… and who came to resemble Albert Einstein during lockdown with her untamed white cloud of hair, god bless her!
So whilst I think it’s important to be mindful of what you do have, and above anything of course health is the thing that matters the most, I think it’s OK to admit that you’re feeling a bit blue when things get you down. We don’t always have to take everything in our stride or look on the bright side. Sometimes we can have a little wallow, feel low or wish things were different. But only for a short while, and then it’s time to pick ourselves back up and find new and different ways to help make us happy again, filling some of the gaping voids until the world turns itself the right way up again.