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I’m ignoring pressure to learn new skills during lockdown to protect my mental health

1
There are many words of inspiration during this incredibly unusual time and endless tales of learning new skills during lockdown. Articles about all the entrepreneurs who now have the time to create businesses and burst forth with new ideas. A multitude of podcasts to listen to and wonderful suggestions of culinary delights we can try our hands at. On social media, there are baking masterpieces and crafts created by two-year-olds. If I come out with my mental health intact and my family and friends safe, then I have succeeded.
Stuff new skills during
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lockdown
Honestly? I find the pressure to learn new skills during lockdown loaded with stress. I do not have the time or inclination to come out of lockdown armed with a selection of new skills. I have two children of different ages to try and homeschool (or let’s face it just try and entertain all day every day). I am trying to continue my business. I’m also attempting (a bit of a weak attempt I’m afraid) to clean the house, keep the fridge stocked and tidy up. It’s unclear when there is an opportunity to learn new skills during
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lockdown.
Protect your mental health
As someone who has had mental health struggles in the past, I worry what impact an extended period of lockdown will have on my mental health. For me, it’s about approaching each day as it arrives and not focusing on the future. If I consider that schools may not be open until September, or I won’t hug my Mum and Dad for another six months, I get panicky. I try to avoid the news and scaremongering articles because again I feel the anxiety hit. What I don’t need when I am trying to keep my head shakily above
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water is to feel unproductive.
Please stop bragging
What I can’t deal with is the bragging of learning all these wonderful new skills during lockdown. If you are suddenly an expert in origami, that’s great. But please I beg you, don’t post it all over social media and make me feel bad. I’m doing some baking, but I’ve hardly transformed into a Michelin starred chef because I followed a three-ingredient dummy guide to Yorkshire puddings that had all the finesse of bashed down sandcastles. Sod off all those show-offs who bang on about
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homeschooling being easy. It’s not true.
Stick with like-minded friends
I saw a post from a Mum and her young kids who ‘threw together’ a homemade focaccia. This was impressive enough, but you should have seen the decoration. Sliced tomatoes and basil leaves formed flowers, wild garlic pieces created a dramatic sun and slices of pepper made more delicate flowers. It was a work of art. A bread fit for an art gallery. Not only was it something we would never have the patience to create as a family, but there was also no realism about how
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challenging it would have been to make. I felt like an inferior Mum.
Be kind to yourself
Surely it’s about how you can be kind to yourself during this bizarre time? We need to preserve our wellbeing through self-care and a slower pace of life. I know that balancing work and homeschooling is difficult enough without feeling like I’m not productive. We all have different circumstances and personalities which influence how we cope with isolation.

For me, I need to focus on getting through this, not feeling inferior because I am doing the bare

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minimum, which is still a considerable feat. We need to focus on our achievements, support each other and not expect too much. If you had a winner of a day that’s great, but it might not help others who aren’t feeling so tiptop to hear about it. It’s not about faking negativity, but about realising that we all cope with this isolation period in different ways.

So, no. You won’t see my array of new skills advertised over social media. I won’t complete a course, record a podcast or create a lifesize tapestry outlining the challenges of the

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pandemic. If I come out of this with my sanity and children that aren’t feral, I will have succeeded. It’ll just be me that’s the feral one.
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Corporate to Kids

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new skills during lockdown

- 18 May 20

There are many words of inspiration during this incredibly unusual time and endless tales of learning new skills during lockdown. Articles about all the entrepreneurs who now have the time to create businesses and burst forth with new ideas. A multitude of podcasts to listen to and wonderful suggestions of culinary delights we can try our hands at. On social media, there are baking masterpieces and crafts created by two-year-olds. If I come out with my mental health intact and my family and friends safe, then I have succeeded.

Stuff new skills during lockdown

Honestly? I find the pressure to learn new skills during lockdown loaded with stress. I do not have the time or inclination to come out of lockdown armed with a selection of new skills. I have two children of different ages to try and homeschool (or let’s face it just try and entertain all day every day). I am trying to continue my business. I’m also attempting (a bit of a weak attempt I’m afraid) to clean the house, keep the fridge stocked and tidy up. It’s unclear when there is an opportunity to learn new skills during lockdown.

Protect your mental health

As someone who has had mental health struggles in the past, I worry what impact an extended period of lockdown will have on my mental health. For me, it’s about approaching each day as it arrives and not focusing on the future. If I consider that schools may not be open until September, or I won’t hug my Mum and Dad for another six months, I get panicky. I try to avoid the news and scaremongering articles because again I feel the anxiety hit. What I don’t need when I am trying to keep my head shakily above water is to feel unproductive.

Please stop bragging

What I can’t deal with is the bragging of learning all these wonderful new skills during lockdown. If you are suddenly an expert in origami, that’s great. But please I beg you, don’t post it all over social media and make me feel bad. I’m doing some baking, but I’ve hardly transformed into a Michelin starred chef because I followed a three-ingredient dummy guide to Yorkshire puddings that had all the finesse of bashed down sandcastles. Sod off all those show-offs who bang on about homeschooling being easy. It’s not true.

Stick with like-minded friends

I saw a post from a Mum and her young kids who ‘threw together’ a homemade focaccia. This was impressive enough, but you should have seen the decoration. Sliced tomatoes and basil leaves formed flowers, wild garlic pieces created a dramatic sun and slices of pepper made more delicate flowers. It was a work of art. A bread fit for an art gallery. Not only was it something we would never have the patience to create as a family, but there was also no realism about how challenging it would have been to make. I felt like an inferior Mum.

Be kind to yourself

Surely it’s about how you can be kind to yourself during this bizarre time? We need to preserve our wellbeing through self-care and a slower pace of life. I know that balancing work and homeschooling is difficult enough without feeling like I’m not productive. We all have different circumstances and personalities which influence how we cope with isolation.

For me, I need to focus on getting through this, not feeling inferior because I am doing the bare minimum, which is still a considerable feat. We need to focus on our achievements, support each other and not expect too much. If you had a winner of a day that’s great, but it might not help others who aren’t feeling so tiptop to hear about it. It’s not about faking negativity, but about realising that we all cope with this isolation period in different ways.

So, no. You won’t see my array of new skills advertised over social media. I won’t complete a course, record a podcast or create a lifesize tapestry outlining the challenges of the pandemic. If I come out of this with my sanity and children that aren’t feral, I will have succeeded. It’ll just be me that’s the feral one.

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Corporate to Kids

Who: Sarah - Queen of self-deprecation Job: from corporate HR career to Mum, Writer and Blogger Children: two boys with a 13 month age gap!! Obsessions: writing, Haribos, rainbows, coffee, fizz

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