Niamh Ennis has been thinking of all the things she's thankful for during lockdown.
Do you feel exhausted just trying to be stronger than you feel? I’m hearing this so much during these past few weeks. The strain is beginning to show finally as we ease our way out of the major restrictions that have had us all in lockdown since the end of March.
We have heard much talk about the hidden and long-term impact this might have on all of us and yet I suspect we don’t even know the half of it.
For my own part, I’m definitely scared about how I will be able to integrate again in places with large numbers of people. Like many others I’m feeling happily institutionalised in my own home and in the interest of full disclosure I need to be honest and admit that, for an introvert like me, the last few months have been pretty heavenly.
I already work from home and most of my work was happening on Zoom before Zoom even became a thing. I’ve cherished the freedom that has come with not feeling any pressure to travel from Galway to Dublin for face-to-face meetings. Loved it. Relished it. Never want it to end. Are you getting the picture?
This entire period has wonderfully reminded me about what I’m most grateful for.
Since the end of March I’ve never worked harder and I’ve never loved my work more. Free from all other distractions, I’ve put in longer days and nights working for my clients, creating content and writing.
My husband who was now in the house 24/7 assumed my role of dog walker, cook and weekly food shopper thus leaving me totally free to focus entirely on my own business.
We got into our groove pretty quickly. Of course I continued on with my early morning trips to the woods before the world woke up and then retired to the comfort of my desk each day. I thrived on this. Being a lover of structure, this entire period felt like it was created just for me.
So what in particular am I most grateful for?
Where I live
For the first time I’m extremely thankful not to be living in my beloved Dublin but instead being here in the west of Ireland. Until now our time here had always felt like a stop gap, because for me that’s what it was, but now it feels different.
This is the place I felt most safe and most happy during the coronavirus crisis. I’m not confident, due to health issues, of my chances of fighting the virus should I get it, so that fear is very much present in my mind.
But the fact that I was able to continue living as I had been and was out walking in the woods each morning only made me love this place all the more.
I’m not going to lie, at the start of the lockdown I couldn’t fathom how I was going to survive, how WE were going to survive being under the same roof 24/7.
And in the beginning, to be truthful, it wasn’t plain sailing. But somewhere along the way we both realised that this was something neither of us could change and found our own way of doing things, giving each other plenty of space and enjoying the time together as well.
We reached a point where we were reminded of why we had come together and that’s never a bad thing. I know lockdown hasn’t been kind on all relationships so it made me appreciate mine all the more.
I am deeply grateful that I love my own company as much as I do. I enjoy social interactions and am never ‘visibly’ shy in any situation, but I relish that time each day when it’s just me and the trees, me and my notepad, me and my mediations – when it’s just me.
I’ve always believed that the happiest people are those that have choices and this rings especially true when I choose to be on my own, just as much as when I want to spend time with someone. Being able to choose and have both available to you is a treat.
I couldn’t write this piece and not acknowledge the role and the choices that technology has afforded us and allowed us to stay in touch whether through Facetime or WhatsApp, knowing that our friends and family are only a couple of tap taps away!
So while we move from one phase into another of the eventual lifting of all these restrictions I will have to remind myself of all that I’m grateful for and prepare to add to that list rather than lament what I’m leaving behind.
I’ve loved this entire time which gave me the opportunity to stop, to slow down and to reset. I’ve processed so much, I’ve reconciled a lot of the changes I’ve made over the past few years, I’ve repaired some relationships that needed some love and attention and I’ve emotionally released others from my heart so that I can step further now into my own space.
I’ve healed these past few months and I’ve also witnessed so much healing happening all around me.
I’m not going to pretend that I’m excited about leaving lockdown but I can go so far as to say that I am ready to stop pretending that I’m feeling so strong about everything else.
It’s time to be fully honest so that I can finally rest. It’s time to move on.
Feature image: Pexels
Read more: Ever wondered why there have been more female than male coronavirus deaths in Ireland? Wonder no more
Read more: What it's like to have your wedding cancelled due to coronavirus
Read more: The 4 subtle signs that show you need better personal boundaries