This week I have been finding it particularly hard. 

I am hearing from lots of different people that this Lockdown 3.0 is harder than our previous experiences. I have heard many varied explanations of why this might be the case. One friend commented that we treated Lockdown 1.0 as a bit of a novelty and that allowed us to sail through more easily. Other people have commented on how this is dragging on now, and their resilience is low. I’ve been told by others that they don’t feel they’ve had any respite or change and that is making finding the strength to go through a further lockdown harder. 

I have been reflecting on why it might be harder for me and we have a couple of very specific circumstances in our family that have contributed. Last year, like so many other families, we bought ourselves a little lockdown puppy. He has been an absolute joy and his presence has been a much welcome distraction and therapy. 2 weeks ago he was sent for his operation and as a result we’ve been under orders to not to take him out for long walks. We have been trying to follow the rules about only going out once a day. So, he gets taken out early in the morning for 10 minutes in the darkness. The children are able to take him out for a further 10 minutes in the middle of the day. I have been taking him out for 10 minutes after work, which is also after dark. This has reduced my capacity to have 2 of the things that sustain me, a decent walk and some daylight. 

realise that not everyone is at home with a recovering westie, but I am sure that there are people who can understand that not having the normal access to my self-care supports makes it less straightforward this time around. The lack of daylight is so markedly different from the first lockdown and I have never previously noticed how susceptible I am to the lack of sunlight.  

In addition, the lack of time outdoors or the short walks seems bad for the spirits. Walking allows me to empty my brain of the day’s transactional thoughts. I don’t spend my time contemplating the joy of nature and thinking deep philosophical thoughts but I get some wind in the system and a jolt of energy and freshness.  

Another topic of conversation that has come up for me, is the lack of things to look forward to due to the restrictions and the uncertainty over time. How do we tickle our reward systems when we don’t have our normal treats and opportunities on the horizon? How do we punctuate our lives? 

This makes me wonder whether I shouldn’t be learning more from mindfulness. Will I manage the lockdown better if I can focus on the here and now, rather than relying on future change to inspire me and keep me motivated? Does carpe diem mean making the most of now, rather than banking on “jam tomorrow?” 

In that spirit, I am going to enjoy the fact that our puppy has had his stiches out, he has permission from the vet for full length walks and at this time of year we are gaining minutes everyday of daylight. 

Author: Eleanor Haworth, Adoption UK's Director of Service Delivery