Well, despite my shopping experience, I have food, ate well and enjoyed a sound sleep. No harm done by yesterday, which got me to thinking, what has kept me functioning since the lock down began.

First, I realised how writing yesterday’s experience down was helpful. I know lots of therapies work this way, I also know I primarily did it for work reasons, but I felt a bit better afterwards, even though I hadn’t noticed feeling bad to begin with. So, what else might I do. What might be creeping up unknown that I might want to try and ward off?

So, this is my first attempt to list the things that have made me feel better and, I must warn you, some are comically basic.

Getting outside

I now even more aware of why this this important. I’ve opted out of the gym right now because I have fitness equipment at home and can access online workouts. But while you may feel better for taking out the bins first thing, there are obviously some better options.

To make sure rubbish isn’t my sole reason for fresh air, I made a point of going on the balcony whenever I make myself a drink. I’m quite into tea and coffee, so that’s fresh air at regular intervals to recharge my brain with oxygen. Nothing major but arguably an improvement on what would happen in the office.

Walk around the block

This is a bit odd. Lots of blind and partially sighted people rightly bemoan the fact that they have little reason to take a walk for its own sake. Long cane users especially must walk a little more stiffly than average, even if we don’t notice, and must be ultra-focused on the minute details of our surroundings. Walking for sheer pleasure, therefore, just doesn’t really exist unless you are guided. Frankly, I don’t have someone for this. I live in a block where people don’t know each other very well, while my partner, also working from home, is totally blind too so in the same boat as me. Even if I did know neighbours better, what about these six feet of distance?

The obvious answer was to do it anyway but with a plan. I warn you, this is pretty modest, but I figured I would check out the surroundings, learn what the shops are like at different times of day at the moment, but without the pressure to buy anything. This meant I would stay clear-headed, run no risk of getting angry but still might gain something from a little extra movement and fresh air. Kind of what would happen if I left the office at lunchtime. Why not learn from yesterday’s adventure?

This really made a difference and I would recommend it. It’s so basic that it could run counter to what many feel is necessary or helpful, but we could be doing this home-working for quite some time, so a bit of extra air and movement, with a sort of purpose built in, is a tactic which can’t hurt anyone.

WhatsApp

I guess this is just a tip and, again, it isn’t ground-breaking. I guess what I’m saying is keep using it a lot and download it for free if you haven’t already. We have several work groups and I’m in another for the thirty or so flats in my block. I have four or five different ones for my family and more for running partners and my cricket team. Just make as much use of it as possible. Form the habit now and stay as socialised as you can. I guess this applies most for those who are still wondering if it’s for them, but we could be living in this way for quite a while.

Keep moving

Again, painfully simple. Swap your working location. Have a spell in a different room, or switch chairs in the same one. I’m in a kitchen diner right now and, although my sofa is comfortable, it isn’t great for posture while working. I can feel my shoulders going almost perfectly circular as I type!

My solution is to rotate between sofa and kitchen table just to keep the blood circulating and to make me think about how I’m sitting and whether I’ve got any aches or tightness I could do with relaxing. I really only point this out because many would think this is more important when you can see what’s around you. I disagree – it’s healthy anyway.

Andy Law, 20 March 2020