I, like many people, am now working from home. It’s not something I’ve done for a few years. The place I used to work at did it on an ad hoc basis, but since being at my new place (which I’ve been at nearly three years now) I’ve not done it at all.
Last week was my first week. It was a bit of a struggle just getting used to the new way of doing things, but I slowly acclimatised to it. After a few days, I started to quite enjoy it. No hour-long commute each way, going for a run at lunchtime, having music on while I worked, enjoying the vastly reduced workload as everyone slowed down as they all got used to working from home. It was all ticking over quite nicely.
This week has been a different story. Everyone else is now getting back up to speed so my workload is increasing. I’ve also had my two sons at home with me. Aged 7 and 9. So my day is not only supposed to be spent working, but also looking after two young boys, and making sure they get on with their school work. Essentially teaching as well as my day job. I’m on day two. So far so good but I don’t think you need to be Sherlock Holmes to work out that this is going to go on for months instead of weeks. I’ve managed 2 days. I can’t even begin to think what things will be like after 100.
At the moment here in the UK, you are allowed to go out for exercise once a day.
So I wake the boys up at 7.30, get dressed and have breakfast, and we leave the house at 8 on our bikes and go out for an hour and a half cycling, exploring, and running around. Going out early means it’s easier to keep our distance from others, as we are currently required to do.
Then we get home, have a snack, and get on with work. Having got a few miles under our feet we are all a bit more inclined to sit and get on with something quietly. We are lucky enough to have a garden with a trampoline in it, so we have lunch, go on that, then the afternoon is work and quiet play. It’s not perfect but it’s something, and I’m getting to spend some more time with my boys which is something I have always wanted. I am even managing to sort our house out a bit, clearing our cupboards, doing odd bits of DIY, getting the washing done and hoovering.
So would things be different if I was drinking? Well firstly I wouldn’t have slept well, so our morning cycle would be a chore, and chances are we would go by the wayside pretty soon. And if we hadn’t gone out for a bit in the morning to get some ground under our feet all of us would be more grouchy and restless, more inclined to bicker and lose our temper with one another. The increased anxiety would have my worrying about everything (and frankly there is a fair bit to worry about at the moment if you are that way inclined). Sitting around the house all day I’d end up over eating and just drinking more. It would be like all the horrible parts of Christmas all rolled into one, drinking too much eating too much, and feeling grotty and restless as a result. Drinking would be the difference between muddling through and making the best of things, and having a pretty dreadful time, losing my temper and feeling stir crazy and anxious.
As things stand these are strange times, but I have a lot to be grateful about. I’m alive, my job is as safe as any job can be in these uncertain times, I am getting to spend more time with my boys, we have food (not necessarily our usual choice but food is food), and so far we are all well and healthy. The interesting thing about gratitude is that you need to feel positive to feel it. If you start to feel low those things just don’t make you feel grateful, you are too busy looking at all the bad things to feel grateful for anything.
That’s the main thing alcohol would take from me, my ability to feel grateful and positive instead of worried and miserable.