I went to bed last night thinking there is no point in blogging until at least the new year, but woke up this morning feeling that there is every point in terms of continuity and keeping any small thing that feels ‘normal’ in your inboxes or on your phones. I’ve deserted Twitter for the time-being – it’s a very hard place to be when recent news is so raw and everyone is so angry and upset and to be honest, I just need to keep my head together. Other than essential food shopping, we are in and staying so, focussing on being in touch with older family members by phone – although my mum has mastered Zoom so we can do that at least.
It’s very hard, all of this. The only thing to do is get through it any way you can – I think the other side of Christmas will feel very different to how things feel now. I almost wish it was Christmas day tomorrow so we are shot of it and can just move through these days at an easier pace where lack of activity doesn’t matter quite so much. But, we got through it the first time and we can again – I think I have felt this second time harder than the first – but I keep reminding myself that we managed then and we will now. We know so much more about the science, we know what we have to do – wearing masks doesn’t feel strange or weird any more, we sanitise everywhere we go and we know what to avoid so in many ways, we are better prepared for it. It feels calamitous now but it won’t be forever and this feeling that we probably all have of fear, disappointment and anger will pass too. You won’t have to live with these feelings forever… the end point isn’t clear yet but there will be one. Look how we’ve managed to incorporate such differences to our lives so far… we’ve done well. What’s helping me right now – a bit – is over-the-counter sleep medicine that allows me not to wake 8 times a night but has pared it to an easy two (you can take them for two weeks and I need to point out that it isn’t a recommendation, it’s a personal strategy), yoga (try the big shrug – that’s definitely not the yoga term! – but raising your shoulders towards your ears as far as you possibly can, breathing in as you go, and then allow them to drop quickly on an out breath), get out for the permitted walk if you feel comfortable and are able to do so… any change of scene really blows the cobwebs away. I am doing a robin spot to make it feel purposeful – they’re not that common round here so I’m aware it’s probably a task made to fail but I will still look! Try to give your day some shape – if you are still working you are retaining some shape which is good – if you’re not, plan something for the morning (perhaps take your walk), something for the afternoon (maybe exercise of some sort, or tidying that cupboard you’ve been meaning to do for nearly ever OR going through your clothes for things to donate when it’s possible again). It doesn’t matter what you plan but doing things, if you’re able, helps, I find.
I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t got some level of anxiety at the moment – you can use this space to share your tips if you’d like to – I know that others (me included) would be grateful for anything that has helped you navigate anxiety. Everyone’s personal circumstances are different and some burdens are harder to bear – intensely so, but we will come through somehow. So, to conclude this lengthy post (sorry!), I have a few beauty things to blog about (nobody feels like shopping, I know, so it’s just for your general information) and I’ll put a couple of favourites posts up too… it’s as much to give my own day some grounding shape as it is to express gratitude to readers and that I have this place at all.
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I had 10 mins free before my last work call of the year and hadn’t expected you would post but this is such a refreshing and honest article that I felt I had to comment even though I’m usually a lurker…
This in particular: “I almost wish it was Christmas day tomorrow so we are shot of it and can just move through these days at an easier pace where lack of activity doesn’t matter quite so much”.
I’m so glad that someone else feels the same. I’m now no longer going anywhere which I’m not angry about but just a bit sad as I hadn’t realised how much I was looking forward to leaving and seeing family and somewhere new until it had been taken away. It’s easy to feel guilty but I too now just wish it was over so thank you for being so honest.
Thank you for keeping your posts going throughout the year – as you say, it’s really not about the shopping – it’s about seeing new things and stuff to make you smile and the normality of it all.
All the best to you, your readers and family for Christmas x
Thanks so much Cathy – I’m glad I’m not on my own with those feelings and thank you for your comments xx
Happy Christmas Jane! I really feel like this a good time to acknowledge that if we got through this tough year then that is enough and deserves to be celebrated. Right now, even something as simple as getting out in daylight is a major achievement.
Wishing you and your family every health and happiness. Onwards to 2021.
You’re right Joanne – we’ve done well even with the smallest of achievements and it’s something to hold on to. x
Thanks Jane much appreciated post. Stay safe
Thank you – you too x
I’ve been desperate to read such a positive uplifting post as this, a timely reminder that life goes on. I’m in Scotland and you can’t read a post or comment without it turning political and divisive. Thank you Jane.
Thank you Ann – wishing you well 🙂
Hello – always enjoy reading your posts, so thank you. I am disappointed like everyone that I won’t be spending Christmas with my wider family – but not as disappointed as they are as I’m the designated chef . I think we should take a moment for those who have to make the difficult decisions – sure, mistakes have been made but that happens all the time, and we have been in an unprecedented situation … today is the shortest day so hopefully the extra minute of daylight we accrue each day from now is a good omen for a better future! Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Hapoy 2021. Caroline
Yes, the decision makers, like the chefs, have a big load … and you are totally right that it’s a situation that nobody knows how to deal with so we just have to do our best 🙂
I so thrilled you are still posting, your posts give me a little lift while I have my coffee break. I do however hold you fully responsible for trying not to buy an Armani concealer!!!
I think you are magic
Love sarah k
Ah thank you Sarah! Good luck with not buying the concealer :-)))))
I’ll buy it if you give me permission 😉
I do because I think it’s really, really good. x
Jane thank you for this post, and to all the lovely people who have responded.
Two points ring so true,
I wish Christmas Day was over. The pressure you enjoy oneself and to try and ensure everyone else does too, always makes me a little anxious. This year even more so.
One of your readers says that we should celebrate getting through this year, however we’ve managed to do it. I love this sentiment. I can’t celebrate, but I can certainly give myself a metaphorical pat on the back for coming through a year which has not been kind to me and so many, many others.
Sending love and thanks to you Jane. I wish everyone a peaceful Christmas and have everything crossed for a Happy New Year for us all x
Yes you can Cee – well done to you and to all of us who have hunkered down and got through any which way we can 🙂
Thank you for keeping posting, I agree shopping is not the point anyway but trying to act as if life is normal. I live in Turkey and havent seen my 22 year old son who studies in Switzerland since last February. We lost my mother in law to covid in the meantime, and try yo protect the remaining elderly as best we can by staying away physically but it is getting harder to manage emotionally for everyone.
I always look forward to your posts so thanks again.
All my best wishes for Christmas and a hopefully happier new year.
Oh that’s hard going Ayse – so sorry. We also lost a beloved family member a couple of months ago (not to Covid) so I understand. We battle with getting my mum & dad on Facetime but keep trying and sometimes it works! We just have to do the best we can with what we have. Good wishes to you, too xx
Jane, BBB readers thank you for being a wonderful, supportive and well informed community.
This post resonates with me in all ways, I am still working and need the workday structure to help me through. My dear mum is very ill and I am hoping she will enjoy this Christmas as best she can (she will be most suitably attired in a sparkly top if nothing else) so this is also keeping me going.
Look at how far we’ve come this year and what we’ve had to deal with, all the everyday stuff life throws at us along with the lockdowns etc. Make sure you’ve got something to look forward to each day and get planning for next year. I am sorting out my beauty stash and making some nice perfume card and advert displays to go on the walls, plus making a list of plants to buy for the garden to make it easier to manage. Whatever floats your boat, ticks your boxes..do it and do it properly. Stay healthy, be superkind and lovely to yourselves and thank you again Jane, everyone. Best wishes to you and yours for the festive season and beyond xx
Oh thank you for this – how lovely. I hadn’t thought to make a garden list but as I know I am getting some plant vouchers for Christmas that is
a very sound idea and I’ll get to it. And sorting out the stash – it’s a good time to do it. I’m going to do half an hour of yoga this afternoon – I’ve taken some tincture thing called Vogel AvenaCalm which is really very helpful.
Always enjoy reading your posts. Thank you very much for this one, so truthful as well. I couldn’t believe anyone else felt eager to get Christmas over and done with so that we could return to whatever normal is in Tier 4!! Perhaps 2021 will see an end to brown eyeshadows! There’s always hope. Anyway, season’s greetings, relax and enjoy what you have and may your 2021 be a cracking good year.
Thanks Ann – you too… I sort of remembered a bit later about how the panic set in at the beginning and we all calmed down and cracked on .. please don’t get rid of my beloved brown eye shadows!! I’m still a fan sorry to say although they are dull in the big scheme of things.
I love reading your posts. They brighten my day. I’m glad you wrote this post because I was feeling depressed this morning after reading of yet another set of severe lockdowns.
Keep writing, Jane, and keep yourself and your family safe and happy.
I think we’re all a bit gloomy and fed up this time – it’s really hard, all of this. But thanks for taking the time to say your day is brightened – now you’ve brightened mine!
Thank you Jane for this lovely positive post. We were set to travel from Scotland to our daughter’s in Hampshire for Christmas. Now just trying to work out how to get presents in the right place. Unfortunately it will be after Christmas but in the scheme of things it is a small problem. Yes you are right we got through it before when we knew so little and we will again. Hopefully the vaccine roll out will help to make 2021 a better year. I wish you and your family a lovely and peaceful Christmas and hopefully a happier new year.
Thank you Catriona – what a shame .. I don’t think it matters if presents are after Christmas at all – it’s like a bonus gift day. Wishing the same to you and I’m sorry that your plans have been so disrupted. x
I’m really pleased to see you’re still posting, Jane! It’s been such a terrible year, with Covid, and my poor mum who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in July! Such a hideous form of cancer, as the brain controls everything. Praying for her recovery, now she’s had intensive treatment.
I’ve been doing yoga 3 times a week, and it really helps me to ground and put things into perspective (even if only for 20 mins). Oh, and I’ve found a new obsession-perfume!! I’ve built quite a collection (cheapies, in the main)
Here’s to a peaceful Christmas and a decent 2021!
Oh gosh, you have had a difficult time Debbie – I’m so sorry. Yes, I am going to do yoga today and I’ve been doing my ‘yoga breathing’ practically non-stop! Wishing you and yours all the best x
Merry Christmas and thank you for this post. Here in the US, those of us who are responsible really haven’t had any normalcy since February/March. It’s going to be a weird Christmas, for sure, and a sad one for so many it just breaks my heart to think about.
But to Chrissie’s point above, do something and do it properly is the second time I have heard that message today, with the first being an opinion piece in the Washington Post by Kay Collier McLaughlin about doing it for the sake of doing it, even if no one but you can see it. It matters, people matter, you are worth it even if you’re just one.
Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a quick and safe lockdown!
Thank you Jane – I think there is a collective anxiety that has been accumulating and accumulating and it’s helpful to know it’s not just me struggling a bit. We will be doing it but I will be glad when it’s done and when things start to calm down a bit. I remember from the first lock down that it was that awful feeling of panic but it soon passed and we just got on with it…and we will again.
I guess the number of views goes down over holiday periods but some of us are still working and reading your blog helps me decompress after a day’s work. So please keep posting even if it’s at a reduced rate. I do like a traditional blog and preferred the web before Twitter and Facebook took over.
Like you I’ve frequently been wide awake in the middle of the night doing deep breathing exercises to calm down. Over the counter tablets didn’t work on me so I just read my Kindle until the anxiety passes and I feel sleepy.
Other things that have helped me are :-
* Vitamin D tablets, don’t know if they work or if it’s the Placebo effect but it’s my way of fighting back against the Covid.
* Knickers in outrageous colours, helps me leave the house in the morning.
* My hands always chap in winter and this year it’s been worse because of all the hand washing. Eight Hour Cream has been the best at bringing them back to normal.
* Sarah Raven’s 5 minute videos on flowers and vegetables, good for unwinding on a Friday night.
* Poetry. I’m not a poetry person usually but with things the way they are it just feels right.
Today is the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice. My Spring bulbs are poking through and if you look at the trees you can see the leaves in bud waiting for Spring. Better times are coming.
Thank you ever so much – I love those tips … I’ve got something from A Vogel called Avenacalm and I think it’s helping. I’m going to get into the garden this afternoon and will watch a Sarah Raven when I get in to give me impetus to get out again! It’s very mild here just now so I may as well. Yoga is helpful to me – just following the instructions lets my brain switch off from the noise.
A post that’s on point as usual Jane. I’ve realised that I’m buying the complete opposite of the ‘loungewear’ we’re all supposed to be into. So far I’ve purchased a green velvet skirt, a sequin top and a red sparkly top (there’s a trend emerging there). I have NEVER bought anything like that before but at least one of those will definitely be worn on the 25th. Let’s not think about what we’re missing but what we can indulge in and be grateful for. It’s going to take time but we will get through this if we help and support each other.
You’re right – and I love the sound of your sparkly top! I’ve upped the ante slightly by wearing my leopard print joggers today instead of plain old black! It’s something!
Merry, merry Christmas to you and your family, Jane! I’m waving a virtual hello all the way from Vancouver, Canada, and want to thank you so much for writing such a calming, positive post. Reading your blog really helps me to take a step away from all the big, alarming news pieces that float around elsewhere on the internet. I can focus on the little things that bring me joy and keep my hopes up that eventually we’ll see the other side of this awful pandemic.
All the best to you and yours in 2021! 🙂
Thank you so much Jillian – I’m so happy to hear it and send you good wishes. x
Always love your posts Jane but this one was just what we needed. Thank you again for all your posts over the year.
Thank you so much Jo – you’re really welcome and thanks for reading x
Thank you, Jane.
I am another who is looking forward to the other side of Christmas when we can really start to tackle whatever it is that we will all need to do to work towards getting this wretched virus under control & all our lives back to normal (dare I say it!).
So many people out there with so many emotions for so many reasons right now & then there’s you Your posts are my ‘normal’. I have my morning cup of tea in bed & have a read through your post…. every day that there is one. It’s comforting to have a little window into something that’s not coronavirus in the day, when almost everything else is, even when I’m doing my best to escape it!
Thank you. Have a happy Christmas, Jane, in whatever way is possible.
Thank you Kim – that’s so nice to know. I know that it will be sorted eventually but despite being really very resilient last time, I just can’t quite find the same just now – it will come I am sure.
I’ve switched all my news alerts off, muted words on Twitter. The media with their “speculation” doesn’t help people’s fears and feelings either.
So for me, having watched 10 funerals online of people I haven’t been able to say goodbye too, I’m happy to forgo anything and everything to stay safe, keep my family safe and just get rid of this cruel disease. Some of the decisions might have been unhelpful, late, hurtful and disappointing, I’m just glad it isn’t me making them, knowing that whatever the advice, people will die.
I’m in the same boat with posting, is it worth it or is there a point? For now I have a few post scheduled x
Keep going Rachel – the point is to be grounding for yourself and others. But it’s hard, I know. I’m off Twitter entirely for the foreseeable and limiting news. Going to try and be outside as much as possible (in garden) today and what is helpful is realising it isn’t just me feeling like this. I’m starting to get messages from friends who are just feeling a bit broken which sums it up really.
Thanks Jane for my favourite blog. I appreciate the work and thought you put into it. I usually save the email for my lunchbreak as it’s a nice piece of calm and lovely things in a turbulent world right now.
Merry Christmas xx
Thank you Mary – good wishes to you and yours xx
Thank you for this post Jane. And for all your hard work over the year, I do so enjoy following you, my purse, less so!! Wishing you and your family the best possible Christmas and New Year xx
Thank you so much Catherine – all good wishes to you and yours. x
Your thoughts and anxieties are echoed in everyone’s minds, well done for making us feel that it is normal. Enjoy your Christmas Jane and wish you and all a better 2021 – surely it has to be better? Debbie x
Wishing the same to you Debbie and thank you 🙂
Dear Jane and all the lovely people who have already commented, thank you so much for posting. It is like having a group of friends with you on a long walk, just as you all regret saying that you could walk this far, knowing that going back is not an option, you are gathering round and encouraging each other to carry on. It is togetherness, acknowledgement and encouragement in the best sense. I know we will get through this but it is so much better together. Thank you and best wishes to you all xx
Thank you Julia – that’s so nice to hear. I thought yesterday that we are learning so much from this … surely it’s an endurance with a end goal and hopefully to never, ever happen again. Best wishes to you too xx
Jane, thank you for your honest post.
I work from home for the NHS and this year has been CRAZY and I’ll be working through the festive period.
Your blog posts are my favourite bed time reading after a busy shift so if you want to keep going with them then I will be a willing reader(please don’t feel any pressure to continue if it’s not bringing you any structure or joy. Let’s all be kind to ourselves and do what we need to do to keep ourselves sane, safe & healthy).
Wishing you all the very best for Christmas & the New Year x
Thanks Susan so much – I’ll take a couple of days off but will put something up at least on the other days. Wishing you the very best too and thank you for all you do 🙂
Merry Christmas Jane! Thank you for your candour and good humour throughout what May go down as one of the most rotten years in recent history. Ali xxx
I agree there – it’s a shocker. Thank you and wishing you the very best xx
Thank you, Jane, wise words indeed and exactly what I needed to hear this morning. Appreciate it x
Thanks Caroline – wishing you the best xx
Thanks, Jane, for this and all the other posts over the year. If you’re out in the garden again, try digging in the flower beds for a few minutes – this always brings the robins out in our garden (SE23) and they never fail to raise a smile :).
Sending best wishes to you and all the kindred spirits who – like me – enjoy your blog muchly.
Merry Christmas and a much, much happier New Year.
Ah yes, I have a regular robin in the garden and got SO close to it in the summer – it was a joy. I’m not feeding this year (my neighbours have a palace of a bird feeding station they can attend) because the squirrels took it all last year and the birds never got a look-in so not so many in the garden this year.
Hey BBB (Jane). Wanted to add to the thanks to you for all your hard work, insight and generosity. As all the other BBB readers show, you’ve been a ray of reading sunshine this year. It’s been so needed and so appreciated.
On the squirrel front: The Nuttery make some great squirrel proof bird feeders btw – I don’t mind the squirrels (they’re part of nature too), but they did snaffle all the coconut shells and birdy food, so had to make a stand. I also tie ribbon round to double hold hinges after finding a squirrel with their head halfway down the bird feeder having figured out the hinge mechanism.
Right – onwards and upwards. Much love to you and everyone!
Thank you so much for that tip and your kind words – my neighbours have one which is why I don’t feel too guilty about not providing anything because they are already so well catered to – I think I’d be providing the canapes and petit fours 🙂
It seems that many of us have the same feelings. 2020 had definitely been a tough one but it really had the cherry on top when I couldn’t see any of my family over Christmas. It was just me and my partner and even though we were together, it felt really lonely.
Wishing for a better 2021!
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Oh that’s such a shame – sorry about it Natalie. x