On lockdown-life’s little wins

I’ve started false-tanning again.

It’s nothing to do with vanity. That’s not it. I would like to say that it has more to do with self love, and taking care of myself. But I’m not sure that that’s it either. Rather, it’s just one of a number of habits I have either revived or nurtured during lockdown.

Before lockdown, the wins were bigger, more elaborate, sometimes even ostentatious. They were an ambitious goal, a career step, or a milestone reached and celebrated. Like running a marathon. Like nailing the job interview. Like – ouch – a wedding. Now the world has undergone a monumental – seismic, even, – shift and we have had to reevaluate everything, our goalsincluded. Now we must find our wins in the smaller stuff that makes up our existence, in the day-to-day previously ignored, even in the mundane. It’s putting your drawers in order; baking brownies and making your nan laugh on the phone that consitute a win nowadays. It’s false tanning.

It’s also making my bed every day before leaving the bedroom. This earns me the first win of the day even before my morning tea, even before my morning wee on particularly ambitious days. I’m also trialling an extension of the ‘no scrolling on the toilet’ resolution to no scrolling until I am outside in the stables each morning for a further win. This time, it’s in the ‘increased efficiency between the waking, the shit-shovelling and the back-to-my-desk stages of my morning routine’ category. The only exception I am currently making is checking my inbox for work related mail. Nevertheless, I am considering dumping that one and going for a flat ban. Despite really enjoying each of my various juggled roles, there is a palpable difference in my tension levels – both phyical and mental – on those mornings I fail to ignore the allure of the mail app.

My hair is also enjoying a daily brush for a further win. The roots are difficult enough to bear without it looking like a bird’s nest to boot. The fact that I am now able to make something that vaguely resembles a pony tail is one of the ‘big wins’ I am taking from this lockdown saga. I have even bought a new scrunchie to celebrate. You might think that lavish, until you understand that my hair has been short for so long now that I have lost any bobbles I had in a previous hair-life and had taken to using a peg to hold it in place. Yes, I do mean a clothes peg. And yes, I know what you’re thinking. And yes, it was the stainless steel kind recommended by my grandmother.

Next up will be daily SPF for a skin-win. I used to be religious about this but have let things slip. I have been wearing a light formula on days I spend a lot of time outdoors but I’m dusting off the Coola Factor 30 spay bottle because, a) it’s a higher factor, b) it’s hydrating, and c) it’s the easiest way of saving my ears from looking likestreaky bacon by the Mayday bank holiday.

Now you might think me crazy, but I think there’s a logic to the above. There’s a reason why making the bed feels so satisfying. These little wins are absolutely necessary. This pandemic has made us question our values, and realise that ultimately, nothing is more important that our health, rendering many previous goals and former associated wins as obscene, over-ambitious. We are swimming in unchartered waters, and these simple wins provide certainty and acheivable goals in the face of unprecedented uncertainty. They shape our strange, slow hours and give new purpose where it was lost. They temporarily, sketchily, patch-up the gaping holes left when plans were thwarted by movement restrictions, social distancing, furloughing, closures, cancellations. They boost morale. And God knows, we could all do with a healthy dollop of that. So I say take them, take the wins where you can. Celebrate them. Call me, we can raise a toast to lockdown-life’s little wins together.

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