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Funny Inside Soul-Searching

Life in Lockdown {Feeling the Pressure}

wisteria in the garden

This week we got the news that we were kind of expecting but also dreading – lockdown was officially extended for a further 3 weeks. It wasn’t a surprise, I think most of us thought this would happen from the outset, but the announcement left me feeling pretty flat.

Another 3 weeks not seeing family and friends in the flesh. Another 3 weeks playing ‘dodge the stranger’ in the street. Another 3 weeks of uncertainty for our business. Another 3 weeks eating and drinking the house bare. Another 3 weeks of trying to persuade my son to get out of bed before 1pm (anyone else’s teenagers slowly becoming nocturnal?). Another 3 weeks staring at my roots, questioning whether I should just brave the grey.

Then there was the realisation that my biggest girl will be spending her 20th birthday in lockdown, 80 miles from home. That’s been a bit hard to get my head around this week.

Feeling the Pressure to Get Lockdown Right

In many ways, we are finding our way in this strange new world. We’ve developed some little routines that we try to stick to, like doing a circuits class in the garden a couple of times a week, eating a meal together every evening, only drinking alcohol five nights out of the seven (major achievement). We’ve also enjoyed ending our days by watching an episode of Line of Duty, followed by Gavin and Stacey for some light-hearted relief.

But I’ve had this nagging pressure all week, that I need to get lockdown right. It sounds stupid when I write it down but although these last 4 weeks have felt like an eternity in some respects, I’m conscious that this time is a gift, one that I won’t get back. In short, I’m scared of regretting how I have or haven’t spent this time in lockdown.

Even though most of us are doing very little at the moment, social media (and my mind) would have me believe that everyone is mastering a new skill to be revealed to the world once lockdown is over; everyone is making wonderful family memories that will be talked about in years to come; everyone is creating a garden that even the National Trust would be envious of*.

Everyone, that is, but me.

When Motivation and Concentration Go on a Mini-Break

I’ll admit to starting week one feeling fairly optimistic; heck, I even made bread for the first time in my life! I went on to set myself some nice, achievable goals like clearing out my wardrobe (week two’s success story). Unfortunately, the goals started and ended with my wardrobe because ever since, I’ve had zero motivation and the concentration span of a gnat. There’s been no Marie-Kondoing of my knicker drawer and my spice rack remains laden with the same clogged up contents that should have been thrown out in 2013.

My biggest lockdown achievement to date, is managing to get the teens to pick up a duster. Followed closely by finding eggs and pasta during the same shopping trip (I’ve yet to find flour).

Tell me…

Have you had nights when you’ve secretly longed to go to bed early, so that you’re another day closer to the end of lockdown? Perhaps you’ve spent an entire morning in bed watching TikTok, pretending to your kids (once they finally surface) that you’ve been up and showered hours ago? Or will you admit to being a teensy bit excited when someone drops a puzzle off on your doorstep because you realise that unlike every other activity you’ve tried, no one else in your home will attempt to join you?

doing a puzzle in lockdown

If you’ve said yes to any or all of the above, you’re welcome to join my lockdown club. Week 5 and I’m planning to immerse myself in a ‘puzzle bubble’, whilst trying not to get riled that it’s midday and my son has yet to start on any school work.

Best of luck my fellow lockdown chums. Let’s remember to relax a bit this week, it’s all going to be fine.

*For the record, our garden already looked like this and it’s mostly thanks to a very skilled gardener!

Inside, Outside & Beyond






    I’m enjoying these weekly updates, and look forward to each new one. They’ve been interesting, informative and instructive. To judge by the comments they’ve been attracting, other readers think the same.

    Some countries are starting to relax their lockdown restrictions. Despite the many inconveniences of the lockdown, and the economic damage that it’s inflicting, I’m very happy that the UK isn’t leading the way with any relaxation. As others have said, the eventual relaxation of the lockdown will involve increased risk — so let’s hold back, and learn from the experience of the “pathfinder” countries. Until we have mass vaccination against COVID-19, or “herd immunity”, presumably some restrictions will have to remain in place.

    • Suzanne Whitton

      Thank you so much for your encouragement, I’m glad that you enjoy reading them; I certainly enjoy writing them! I definitely think we need to wait and watch what is happening in other countries before any big decisions are made. Hope you’re doing okay.

  • So sorry to hear you won’t see your daughter for her 20th birthday. That must be so hard for you all.
    Your garden does look amazing! My main aim for lockdown is to read more and, yes, my dream is to go to bed earlier to make the day shorter, but it hasn’t happened yet! I think I’m the only person in the world not doing jigsaws. Sometimes I go on social media in the spare room, because when I’m in the spare room the kids think I’m working and I can enjoy the peace!
    Hang on in there. In a few months all of this will feel like a distant memory (hopefully!).

    • Suzanne

      I like your style – pretending you’re doing work! I reckon there are a lot of people around the country using the same trick 😉

  • Susan Mann

    Oh lovely, I am so sorry to hear about your daughter’s birthday, that must be heartbreaking for you all. Sending big giant hugs. Your garden, however, it looks amazing. I think we all need some space sometimes. I hope this changes soon. Hugs xx

    • Suzanne

      I hope it changes too Susan but in the meantime, I’m so grateful for our garden. We do have a gardener who continues to come, I couldn’t take any credit for this! xx

  • Gail

    I tried to comment on this earlier, Suzanne, but we are having Internet glitches! So many things that resonate for me here – like you, I tend to feel I’m not doing enough – I stop and start things, and then forget about things….but it does sound like that’s ‘normal’ right now. The only thing I’m not doing here are the puzzles – I’m hopeless on that front unfortunately. So tough that you can’t be with your daughter on her birthday. Hope you can see her again soon, and thinking of you all. X

    • Suzanne

      You could really do without internet glitches at a time like this! I’m doing the stopping and starting things too, can’t focus on anything for very long. But I think it’s normal, so I’m gold anyway! Hope you’re all doing okay. xx

  • Tracey Williams

    Oh Suzanne sorry to hear that your big girl will be celebrating her 20th birthday in lockdown away from her family, sending all the hugs you need. I think we need to celebrate any small wins in this lockdown, and some days that might be getting out of bed and having a shower. I definitely won’t be learning a language, making bread, or anything remotely crafty. If I can get us all to the end of the day being happy and healthy that is enough for me. Take care lovely xx

    • Suzanne

      Thanks Tracey. I know that I really need to cut myself some slack. I’ve managed to get dressed, showered and put make-up on every day so I reckon that’s to be celebrated!

  • suzanne williams

    Oh Suzanne, I just wanted to send some {{{Hugs}}} as although lockdown is rather different for me as I’m a nurse managing a ward that cares for patients with Covid-19, I have a daughter in lockdown in a treatment centre 150 miles away who has her 18th birthday next Saturday. It’s my birthday on Thursday too so this coming week is usually full of family get togethers and meals out. I’m trying to work out if there’s any way I can at least see my daughter on her birthday even if I can’t hug her!

    • Suzanne

      This is beyond hard for you. I know EXACTLY how you feel and an 18th is such a milestone too. I’m so familiar with the emotions you will be feeling right now and it sucks. There are no words to make it better sadly. I hope that your job, although incredibly demanding, gives you some kind of distraction from what’s going on for your daughter. We have thought about just going down there and waving through the window but we decided that actually she would probably be embarrassed and maybe more upset than if we didn’t. I hope that you find a way to make it special. Sending you much love, I know what a lonely and painful journey this is. xx

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