After blogging last week, I then get a notification that I've got furlough for the whole of July and, with England's historic win at Wembley over Germany, what more could I ask for!
I've finally finished Cold Feet up to the current series, no.9. I've always wanted to watch this show and it's brilliant the way we follow the characters through their 30s and into their 40s and 50s. The highs and lows. The peaks and troughs. The love, pain, heartbreak, happiness, surprise and excitement that is Life. Shows like this ground me. It's hard to explain if you don't have mental health issues or chronic illness. That perpetual treading water of getting through each day is exhausting. Even though this is fiction, it gives me hope for my own life.
I also devoured Bosch season 7 and The Serpent on BBC iPlayer whilst sorting out my travel cabinet - despite what it looks like, I did throw some items out! So many memories here from 42 countries. I needed to remember that I did use to travel, a lot.
Yoga under canvas has been wonderful, as have the last couple of therapy sessions, where I've been able to talk very openly and honestly about the things that are bothering me. I'm always happy (and relieved) when I can find my words.
So now I'm in Cornwall for a little over a week. The weather is looking ok-ish and England thrashed Ukraine 4-0 in the Euros quarter final! Dare I say Football is definitely coming home...
Two more of my recovery pillars are guided meditation (really benefiting from the CALM app at the moment) and my regular weekly yoga practice - and when the two are combined, it's brilliant for me.
My teacher does just this. It doesn't matter how I turn up physically, mentally or emotionally for classes, she has this amazing ability to tailor the session to me in the moment. She gently challenges me, there's no pressure or expectation and she has an authentic and sensitive approach.
My favourite pose is child's pose and, if I really want it to be amazing, I use my bolster. I am also learning that inversions are very restorative. Pose of tranquility (or legs up the wall as I call it - I used to love doing it as a kid on my bed when chatting with my siblings) is one such inversion, but also a balance. It feels like my legs are weightless when I can get the block or bolster just in the right spot. This position changes the blood flow which relaxes the nervous system and allows the lower back to rest - always a good thing for me!
It has been mostly a fabulous week - the weather is lush, my cleaner has started, I had 3 lovely days off where I was able to plant all of my flowers that arrived, England beat Croatia in our opening game of the Euros, I got some furlough for June, both my kitties passed their 6 monthly check ups ok, people are still booking holidays and looking forward to life after the pandemic, and, apart from Mrs Brown's Boys live show being cancelled until next summer and me having a major meltdown at work, I have also finally started my fertility journey to see if I can have children naturally.
Getting pregnant - well, even just plucking up the courage and getting organised to arrange fertility tests for myself - has been a long time coming and I constantly feel that the chips are stacked against me with my mental health and fibro. I'm not going to comment too much today about all of that, but one of my words for the year is Forward and here's a great explanation as to why:
I am so excited about Euro 2020 finally happening and what are the chances of this - I have all the days off for the group England games! I'm still waiting to hear if I've got any furlough this month, but that's a great start anyway.
Work is intense at the minute because there is so much to remember. I never, ever thought travel would be this restricted and / or banned completely. It was time to let off steam Friday night and that's exactly what we did!
I'm enjoying House of Cards on Netflix, trying to watch it before they potentially take it off air because of the sexual allegations against Kevin Spacey. I tell you something, I don't think I'll ever understand the US government set up, but I'm finding the show an insight nevertheless. Also super excited to watch the Friends Reunion now that I know it was aired on Sky1 all along - and I have Sky1 - duh!
In other news, I think Lillibet Diana is a beautiful and very fitting name for Harry and Meghan's new baby daughter. Since Prince Phillip's passing, I've decided to tour all of the royal residences here in the UK and I start with Kensington Palace at the end of the month. A bonus is the fact that Princess Diana's wedding dress is going to be featured as part of a royal exhibition there over the summer months. I'm very excited.
I had the whole weekend off and I decided to tackle the lawns. Luckily summer has finally arrived, so the sunshine helped me get focused. The back lawn wasn't so bad, but on Sunday I did the front lawn and it was soaking wet with all the rain we've had. It took me 3 hours and, in between mowing bits and waiting for the sun to dry them off, I weeded the garden ready for the plants which are coming soon.
Something I find probably the most difficult with fibro is having to decide on one task each day only and not thinking or planning beyond that task, and also accepting that it may not get done if I really don't feel good. That's tough for me because living alone the chores quickly pile up and I get overwhelmed beyond words. I am so happy that my cleaner is going to be starting in a couple of weeks. With her coming in weekly for a couple of hours, it will be a godsend.
Back in the day when Col was alive, a normal Saturday would see me doing the washing, drying, ironing, dusting, hoovering, cooking and attending to the garden. Yes I pushed myself and it took all day to accomplish these chores, but it was do-able, and then I knew I had Sunday to myself to relax or we'd go out somewhere. Nowadays I don't even know who that person was - and I try not to think about it too much because that's a great catalyst for a depressive episode right there.
One of my highlights in the week was having my yoga class in my instructor's huge bell tent that she sets up every summer. There is something magical about practicing under canvas. It inspired me to buy my own pop up tent, not for practicing yoga, but for camping under the stars even if it's just in my back garden. I used to go camping every year and I have really missed being under canvas in the outside.
Another highlight is I'm starting to create my self care / soothing / calming bag. I've ordered some sensory toys now that I know Touch is my dominant sense, and I'm going to fill it with some of my favourite things. This was a big talking point in the Stabilisation course I did earlier this year and I've wanted to put something together since my first hospital stay a few years back.
I had a lovely couple of days at my mum's last week before going back to work on Friday and over the weekend. This week in yoga, my teacher wrote me a lesson around the mantra "I have time". We also did the dead bug pose, which is one of my favourites. I would've liked to have played dead to life this week. As predicted, going back to work was tough with the early starts, commute and long days. If I'd been on holiday, I would've been bouncing talking to clients, but instead I felt even more fatigued with covid (and of course fibro) than before my break. I know I have to just get back into my rhythm again. I bought a Gratitude journal so even if I don't write in it regularly, I can read the prompts to give me something positive to focus on each day. I am trying to not look beyond the present day, so I don't become overwhelmed. I had another frustrating therapy session, then I booked a trip for myself and Mum in October (moving India and Nepal to next March) to Lisbon and Madeira. Lisbon looks such an amazing city and Madeira is supposed to be the Hawaii of Europe. It looks absolutely stunning! I also treated myself to a bolster for yoga and a weighted blanket - these items have seriously cheered me up. Yesterday, my second yoga session included the bolster and it was so nice to hug something and hang on and rest my head in this particular pose, that I started to cry. Yoga does that to me sometimes. Afterwards I met my fibro group from last year's pain management program and we sat and chatted and could have stayed there all day. The validation we give each other in this group that life is bloody tough with chronic pain and fatigue is worth so much to each of us. It did give me a boost. I finished the day with therapy and am pleased to say I'm out of my funk. I made a plan to get some help at home with the things that I find difficult - someone to wash and blow dry my hair weekly, someone to treat my fibro weekly and someone to clean my home weekly. This is all so I can continue to work full time - for the moment - and just see how things go.
And just like that, my 3 week holiday is almost over. The weather turned this past week, literally the day I got back from Devon, and that made things speed up as well.
In between watching the finales to Homeland season 8 and Line of Duty season 6 and binging The Fall all 3 seasons - which quite possibly is one of the best psychological criminal thriller series' I think I've ever watched - and starting Ozark, I've been dismantling some old beds and other bits in the two spare bedrooms, getting ready for another big clear out.
And why I don't know, but I feel incredibly stuck in therapy at the moment.
I'm also nervous about going back to work because no more lie ins and no more resting when I'm tired.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.