Assumptions


To quote Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird,

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”


Over the years, it has come to my attention, assumptions are made about people. To be clear, I’m not writing so much about obnoxious popstars, selfish billionaires and politicians who are informing the nation to drink or take a highly toxic substance.

No, this is a general emphatic commentary written or said in a public domain, without thought or consideration.

A few days ago, I was surprised by a fierce reaction to an ironic online article relating to positive elements of the lockdown (which did end on a serious note about mental health).

The assumptions from the article (which obviously has been read in full by the commentator) are numerous but to sum up the article the writer (a journalist) has copious wine delivered, doesn’t work, is middle class and doesn’t think or care about others. Plus, we should remember about people who are working and or have lost their livelihoods…

All this may be true. It also may be untrue.
In fact, ask yourself whether you have drunk wine during lockdown? Do you have to be middle class to have alcohol or anything else like beer or food delivered to your front door? Might there be a reason you don’t want to saunter around Sainsbury’s during the present time?

Yes, of course, we are all aware people are working in difficult situations. Plenty of people have not only lost their livelihoods but lost their loved ones, which is far more important and horrendous.

How do you know his circumstances? Or mine? Or anybody?
He may have parents with dementia, a sister in a care home thanks to a momentary lapse of judgement by a drunk driver, isolated or ill family members and so on.

Oh, but is the comment really talking about the journalist?

Assumptions are a popular thing at present. Armchair posturing about all kinds of things. Fair enough, if they are being inconsiderate, giving fatal, false advice to millions of struggling people, and in a position of authority, etc.

The trouble is, is the commentary. Behind a screen. Bitching.

Does the person offensively complaining online write to the local MP? Turn up to community meetings? Partake in volunteering?
Are you taking responsibility at all?

How do you know the journalist doesn’t? Or me?

Are you just letting off more steam derived from bitter resentment because an interesting life is different from yours? Or you think the person voted for Brexit or this government?

I’ve seen a video (below), read posts, comments, friend chat about how there are elements of positivity about the lockdown. We have all slowed down and found time for lunch with husbands/wives/relatives/friends via zoom, cleaning/decorating homes, reading, gardening, etc.

Yes, people write frivolous things about fashion, music, politics, exotic holidays, decorating, cleaning, etc. during a pandemic.

This doesn’t mean their close friend hasn’t been unconscious on a ventilator in Intensive Care because of Covid-19 or they are not worried about the lovely person stuck in a care home through no fault of their own.

People need a release. They need to watch a box set, read a book, walk, run, eat crap too. Oh, and having the odd bottle of wine and a laugh helps. A sense of humour helps too. All good for one’s mental health. It doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten.

Very few people know about someone’s life and the older you become, wisdom shows, unless you are very close to a person, you probably don’t know what really goes on in a person’s life. A person’s perspective and reasons for their life we cannot control or envisage. The rest is just smiling and chitchat about beer, weather or a recent holiday.

Comments are preceded by a judgement which is from our perceived understanding of a state of affairs. Writing comments which are direct and endorse underlying messages based on assumptions appears negative, disapproving and narcissistic. This creates, distance, versus connection because you aren’t displaying empathy.

It also says more about the writer of ignorant opinions. They come across as condescending, superior and judgemental. Don’t get me wrong, we all form judgements and opinions but the method of expressing them is important. Do not make the complaint personal and public. If you feel the need to enlighten the nation with advice, knowledge, opinion or wisdom make sure it is procured with respect and personal integrity.

Assumptions become a habit and aren’t necessarily grounded in reality and distort opinion.

I’m happy to receive comments on my articles. Constructive criticism (which I’ve had), feedback on content but not insulting views with underlying messages based on ill-conceived opinions.

Make no mistake, people mainly write about frivolous stuff on Social/Media. Some share advice, some don’t. Don’t believe their content documents suffering, worry, stress and their whole life or the appalling things that are happening worldwide. We watch the BBC news for that!

My friend sums it up:
Everybody has their crap, it’s just different crap.

#WeRemember Video
https://www.prolificnorth.co.uk/features/2020/04/weremember-hopeful-video-thats-viral-sensation-coronavirus-crisis

Image

Becoming healthy and fitter?

At present, it looks like fatter. However, by the number of runners out and about it looks like there is hope.

During the last couple of weeks, people seem to have got to the stage where they have done a lot of their home projects and feel it is time to concentrate on fitness and getting back to some sort of ‘new normal’. Well this seems to be prevalent in my family and community.

We can go out but not out out.

So, maybe it is time to at least think about having a healthy body?
Even the folks working seem to be thinking along this line of thought. Are you?

 

Running

The NHS app from Couch to 5k has been downloaded on my phone and I shall attempt to run (again). This will be good for the respiratory system and general health.

The walk/run is ideal for returning and brand-new runners. For me, although I’m not an expert, the programme is a safe transition from walking to running. If you are a complete beginner, I would certainly take medical advice, do strengthening exercises and go slowly. The app is an NHS one, see link below.

Food

I’m going to start to avoid sweet food this week and snacking. Usually there aren’t many snacks in the house but some have crept in. Who isn’t feeling a little slob like at the moment? I know I am. This snacking malarkey makes you feel sluggish and unproductive and not great for the mood either.

Nothing like a workout to make you feel better.

This week I’ve started to do the Kelly Holmes 8.30 am fitness on Instagram. It is quite slow but very, taxing on the old body. But it needs to be done. Her book on Running Live is an excellent resource as well. Gives advice on mindset, fitness and nutrition.

None of this will be easy so will be taken slowly, hence the app and new workout inspiration.

However, all the media and armchair criticism is exasperating and so a few steps towards a healthy mind and body can only be helpful.

Clothes are becoming a little snug too.

On the plus side my blood pressure has gone back into the normal range (just). It was horrendously high at the beginning of lockdown. Everyone has found this time strange and stressful. Exercise does help.

Thanks for reading and I’ll let you know how I get on.

Aims:

Couch to 5k

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/?tabname=exercise-tips

Kelly Holmes workouts (stuff on YouTube too)

Healthier eating

Disclaimer: This blog is all about documenting life, opinions and tips. I’m not medically trained and I’m just documenting my experiences, reviews and opinions. 

 

Do we actually quite like LOCKDOWN? Plus another Memory List…

I’ve recently got into the lockdown habit of buying a Sunday newspaper, The Sunday Times. Journalist Rod Liddle was commenting about the fact we rather like this lockdown existence (above). 

I’ve mentioned all the negative aspects of the lockdown a couple of posts ago and don’t wish to appear flippant about this dreadful time but there is a positive a flip side.

Not having to see people you don’t really like is always good for an introvert (above). Personally, I like being with people and have been told I’m chatty but don’t always want to talk. Maybe that’s why I love going to the pub. You can chat to the locals or sit quietly on your own.

Not having to hug too is ok and I think this will be a permanent change. The kissing, on both cheeks. Really? People have become friendly but that is because they don’t have to talk now, just smile in the ‘yes, I’m walking round you, because of social distancing’ kind of way.

The changes this crisis will provoke are extraordinary. The main one, will be travel and commuting. I’m not sure people will commute to work like they used to. Now businesses realise employees can work at home, this will become the new normal.

Also, people don’t need to travel for business. They can hold meetings on Zoom and can action projects remotely. Hopefully, this will reduce costs, time and be good for the environment. Who doesn’t miss their two hour commute up to London or wherever? It is not just cost, but time as well rendering a productive work/life balance.

Who wants to be crammed on a bus/tube/train? Why not hop on a bike and wind all the motorists up in your lycra gear? Or we could be northern European, and use bikes as a tool to go about our business in normal attire and not look like a twit. Could we not?

I love to travel but the airports Ugh!!! It starts as you wait for your flight to be called. Mr Muppet sits on a chair with a bag on the next chair so you can’t sit down. Except Mrs I-will-sit-down (me obvs) will march up to said person and say directly whilst pointing to the seat piled up with wifey’s bags, excuse me, can I sit? Always works. Also, why do people queue up for 50 minutes just so they can be one of the first people to sit and wait on the plane?

We can now play spot the plane in the sky too.

The lockdown has given me time to deep clean and decorate, which I probably wouldn’t have accomplished otherwise. Also, it is good to be at one with nature again and actually hear the birds sing. From talking to people who are able to work, most seem to favour working from home and hope it will continue in some format. In fact, reading and listening to views on lockdown, it is apparent many people will view their whole lives differently and make radical changes.

Apparently, 68% of people have quite enjoyed the lockdown as they can slow down and see their children or just do what they want.

What about the children? There has been a post going around social media about two older people chatting. It starts by one remembering the cruelty of the virus, the deaths, the lost jobs, and suffering. The ageing gentleman replies by saying he doesn’t remember the lockdown that way. He was four years old, and just remembers playing in the sunny garden with his brother and seeing mum and dad all the time, laughing and spending time together due to the fact the parents were always around (working from home). This may seem sentimental and yet I do know a mum who posts daily ‘pictures of happiness’ of family life. The child she photos, will remember this time fondly.

(Yes, as a side note, I do realise how hard it can be to have children around 24/7 days a week.)

Maybe one of the issues here is many people have realised they didn’t like their ‘normal life’.

Let’s be honest, nothing much will change immediately because most of us haven’t succumbed to the virus. We will be socially distancing for months to come. So perhaps we should try to be positive?

For me, it will be nice to see family/friends/community again. I miss shopping (call me shallow), my little business, the occasional lunch or dinner out many times a week. Everyone has their own crap to deal with and I’ve certainly had mine. It is time to enjoy life and make the best of things. Isn’t it?

Many permanent changes will occur now and in the future such as home working, cycling/walking to work, using copious amounts of sanitiser, baking bread, and stocking up on food cans and bog rolls!

Makes you think doesn’t it? Do we need to introduce a fresh lifestyle? 


The Good Stuff list:
Key workers
NHS
Quiet roads (managing traffic better?)
Local shopping
Neighbourhood schemes/groups
Remote working/socialising
Online courses/virtual tours
Losing your mobile phone constantly (at home)
Not having to hug/kiss people in an offensively continental   manner
Writing daily on this blog
Free schedule 
People are ‘war time’ friendly
Altruistic attitudes
Time to do stuff – even gardening
New hobbies
New businesses – Thai takeaway
Relax
Read books/newspapers/articles
Podcasts – I’m hooked!
Birdsong (dawn chorus)
Enjoy the countryside (blossom)
Baking Bread/cakes
Local produce 
The weather! (Weird how it has been mostly sunny since this all started.)

Anything else?

 

Thanks for reading. Comments welcome.

Andrea x

Musings on Health News: Restrictions, Bikes and a Vitamin D Study – Stay Safe, Stay Well

Is it time to free the healthy from restrictions?

I have just read a thought-provoking article on the effect of bad news relating to the Coronavirus. The public is still worried whether the lockdown ends or not. The constant protracted stream of news which focuses on the negative facets makes people, particularly the aging population feel they are at extreme risk. In fact, 60% of the 18-34 age group feels they are at risk rising to nearly 80%, for the 55-75 year old age group.


The article questions whether this is out of perspective?


The main risk group is the older group with pre-existing health conditions and the deaths are mostly in this age group.


Dr. Amitava Banerjee, of University College London suggests the negative focus on the epidemic means we “have lost sight” as the virus causes a moderate illness for many. Of course, in my opinion, there is the problem regarding undiagnosed underlying conditions for both the young and old. He also reminds us that we need to look at the rising rates of domestic violence and mental health problems because of the lockdown.


The Edinburgh University in conjunction with London academics has published a paper advising lifting the lockdown for most whilst protecting the vulnerable thus continuing isolating the individuals and testing their carers.


Good hygiene and isolation for those who need it, is the way forward according to the scientific analysis.


For the non-vulnerable population, coronavirus carries no more risk than a ‘nasty flu’, says Prof Mark Woolhouse, an expert in infectious disease who led the research


It does look like the government will start to lift the lockdown soon. However, I think although this will be imminent, the process will be in phases, so we can return to the previous phrase, if coronavirus figures start to rise again.


It is a shame the media outlets are quite so negative. In my view, we could have done with how many people are recovering and a more positive view of progress. Although, clearly precautions will have to continue until a vaccine is secured or herd immunity.

If the lockdown is wound down, I think much more care needs to be taken on the hygiene side of things. For example, constant wiping of public use tables, hand sanitiser as you enter premises and supermarket equipment wiped down. Simple precautions aren’t actioned enough.

Coronavirus: Boom time for bikes as virus changes lifestyles

Fear of public transport due to the virus, which I use a lot, is a shame but understandable. Apparently, there is a 200% increase in bicycle orders by emergency service workers and this can only increase substantially as lockdown disperses. With large numbers of the public wanting to stop using cars and public transport, people will become similar to large parts of Europe (Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden), and start using bikes, not to irritate car users in their fancy lycra gear and roading hogging, but to just go about their daily business.


I was surprised when I recently visited London, how many bike lanes there are now. We have them in our local area too so we feel it is now perfectly safe to use bicycles. More cycling infrastructure is still needed though and hopefully, some pop-up lanes will materialise soon. They may have to now.


It is amazing how the Coronavirus is bringing about so many changes, isn’t it? We read about how cycle shops have gone from selling 20-30 bikes per week, to 50 bikes a day. Extraordinary.


David and I, are seriously thinking about this too. We favour getting some fold up bikes to travel about the local areas and also take with us on days out. What life changes are you undertaking, (that you didn’t think you would until the lockdown)?

Vitamin D Study

An interesting study referred to by Dr John Campbell recently, relating to Vitamin D, looked at 780 people with confirmed cases of infection of Sars-CoV-2 in Indonesia.

This is a good sample size. The study used age, sex, co-mobility, Vitamin D status and disease outcome (mortality). The study concluded the death risk factors; male, increasing age, pre-existing condition, below normal Vitamin D serum level.


Most of the above we already know but it is interesting to see the ‘below normal’ vitamin D levels in the outcome. They did some statistical analysis allowing for age, sex and Covid-19 mortality and found you are more likely to pass away with low Vitamin D levels! Surprised?

Having accounted for the risk factors, people with low Vitamin D were 10 x more likely to die. This is interesting because it is related to COVID-19 specifically.


It has come to my attention that it helps with colds, flu and general heath so, for the first time, I’ve been taking daily doses of Vitamin D throughout the winter and have just finished for the season. Now the sun is shining, I will try to enjoy some sun periodically, in short time frames.

Incidentally, I found taking Vitamin D improves mood too!

 

Sources:

Photos of Odense, Denmark and Copenhagen. (My own photos from a trip taken to Northern Europe, June 2019)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52543692

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52564351


Vit D in Indonesia https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.c… Patterns of COVID-19 Mortality and Vitamin D: An Indonesian Study (26th April) Retrospective cohort study which included two cohorts (active and expired) of 780 cases with laboratory-confirmed infection of SARS-CoV-2 in Indonesia Age, sex, co-morbidity, Vitamin D status, and disease outcome (mortality) were recorded Serum 25(OH) D levels 1. Normal, greater than 30 ng/ml 2. Insufficient, 21-29 ng/ml 3. Deficient, less than 20 ng/ml. This Results Death risk factors, male, increasing age, pre-existing condition, below normal Vitamin D serum level When controlling for age, sex, and comorbidity, Vitamin D status is strongly associated with COVID-19 mortality outcome of cases. When compared to cases with normal Vitamin D status, death was approximately 10.12 times more likely for Vitamin D deficient cases (OR=10.12; p less than 0.001).

 

Lockdown Food and Memory Lists

This morning David (Husband) got up very early and visited our local supermarket. This saves queuing and wanting to clonk the one idiot who refuses to social distance.

My goodness, we have enough food now for several weeks and spent loads of money. This action derives from me having nightmares about running out of food, waking up with Covid-19 symptoms, and having to isolate with no food in the house. Yes, my children smiled on last night’s Zoom chat, joking they don’t charge much for delivering food.

When I become really old (if I get there which is doubtful if I don’t stop eating crap), I will be one of those stubborn folks, who refuse help will I not? Didn’t even occur to me to ask for help.

The food arrives with hubby saying it was quite busy, and I decant the bags and proceed with the ridiculous task of decontaminating the food packaging and jars. Dear God, really? This is what we have come to?

Then, once washed, and only then, is it organised, with obligatory rubber gloves on, into the appropriate storage. Raises eyes to the ceiling. What a carry on.

Although, I must confess, a list was carefully written and it is fun to have the BIG REVEAL of goodies such as copious red wine (tick), chocolate biscuits (tick), craft beers (tick), mixed nuts (tick) and I’ll probably be as fat as a house, by the time this has finished (tick)! Hubby even managed to get some gold dust; oh I mean hand sanitiser. £6 flipping pounds!!!!! I paid £20 online, but at least I acquired it when needed.

Seriously though, at the beginning of this dreadful time, I could hardly eat because I had the worst anxiety and panic I’ve ever had. My blood pressure is high and the situation is an ongoing worry. At least the government are now indicating when lockdown will end but we will all have to be very, very careful for months to come.

This week. I’m taking steps to reduce the rubbish and eat more healthily. I’m walking in the local woods daily to raise my mood ‘what is this mad woman who wanders around the woods?’ I feel everyone is thinking. Who cares what folk think as they walk their dogs? I do not. Also, we are eating even more fish, chicken and veggie meals. Although, I’ve clocked hubby has bought some charcoal, lighters and beef burgers so a BBQ is obviously imminent.

Some of the things I’ve been eating are chicken casserole, pan fried salmon/cod veggies, veggie omelettes, fresh pasta, home baked bread and picky bits for lunch. All good, healthy fodder but a few biscuit snacks are creeping in the evening which we NEVER have normally.

Who would have thought we’d have been living like this when we were at the New Year’s Eve party drunkenly hoping the 20’s are going to roar? Roar they are, but not in the way I was hoping.

I listened to the Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin and the topic discussed was lists to make memories. In a future post I will write about what I’ve changed during this time and what I will continue. Here is today’s list…

Words and phrases to describe this time:
Loo rolls
Sanitiser
Flour
Hair dye
Puzzles
Quiz
Family walks (‘It takes a Pandemic to go on a family walk’ written on Instagram)
Exercise equipment
Clean
Birds (tweeting)
Zoom
Alcohol (Beer, wine, gin)
Isolating
Social Distancing

Working from home

ICU

NHS

Thank you

Clapping

Lounge wear

Laptops

Masks

Board games (added from comment, thanks)

Anything else? Thanks for stopping by. Comments welcome.

Musings on the crisis and a rant!

The Crisis

It is important to acknowledge the enormity of the Coronavirus crisis and the subsequent devastation on so many levels. I don’t discuss it much here whilst blogging, but it is, as with everyone, constantly on my mind. The heart-breaking medical situations, the loss of our liberty, the financial burden, employment/business fallout, the media and the anxiety and stress of our mental and physical health are not going to end imminently.
It is good to have time to think, clean, exercise, read, decorate, etc. but it is a challenge to remain positive much of the time. This blog has become a journal of my experiences and I’m glad to say writing this, has been rewarding for me and I hope, interesting to others and fascinating to look back on.
At present, I can’t see a return to normal for some months to come.

Facebook

I’ve decided to take a break from social media and particularly Facebook. The final straw was when someone posted something moaning and referring to someone as Sicknote ….. The person had been in Intensive Care. Now normally, I just scroll past when someone posts/shares an ignorant view but this lady rarely posts so I thought it could be interesting. It made me angry because the content was so disgusting and I was shocked that this FB Friend had posted it. Anyway, it serves no purpose. None at all. Enough is enough and apart from occasionally posting on my blog page, I won’t even look at Facebook for a while. So far, it has been a couple of weeks and I feel much better for it. Yes, know I can mute/unfollow but really I need a break from all the noise. This has been coming for some time as it has become the platform to moan about who is doing what, and why they shouldn’t be doing it during lockdown or any other time! At present my main concern is my family and the surrounding community. Certainly not Gotcha armchair opinions and politics. Especially now. Oh, and it is possible to have this view on all content whether you favour the political/celebrity/friend’s views or not. I’ve been known to be irritated by daft attacks on politicians I’m not keen on (understatement). If the views are vicious and twisted and just someone launching into a cruel diatribe then it is better left unsaid. Twitter and Instagram are far more interesting in my humble opinion. Rant over. I’ll be more cheerful in future, I promise.

Positive News
At least there is some good news; the one person I know who has had this dreadful virus is now recovering in hospital having been seriously ill in ICU on a ventilator for many weeks. It must be such a relief for her family and is such promising news. Hopefully, she will be able to rest, have physio and eventually make a full recovery. Also, I have a family member in a medical care situation and she seems to be happy and well looked after by the devoted medical staff. Thank goodness we have the NHS. I’ve always been an advocate and am even more so now.
Hope you are all well. Onwards and upwards 🙂 
Take care,
Andrea x

See the source image

More Lockdown Stuff… Views, Walks, Exercise and TV Favs

One of the biggest surprises I’ve learnt from this lockdown, is I like to keep busy. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who is a bit lazy but I’ve managed to keep productive (ish) during this period. Having said that, I’m seriously beginning to miss human contact. Just want to go to the pub with my mate. Not much to ask is it? I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to wonder when this is going to end. Both Italy and Spain are coming out of lockdown in numbered phases. This is so that if Covid 19 rises they can drop back to the previous phase. (see video source below)

Walking and Musings
I’m also missing outings, so we drove to Ashdown Forest for a bracing walk. Flipping heck, it was windy. The weather has now changed in the UK to the usual selection of rain, grey cloud and wind. When the lockdown started it became sunny and has remained so until this week. Sometimes it has been chilly but overall, unlike the usual March/April weather. Wow! How English am I? Talking about the weather haha. Weirdly, I’m quite liking the grotty weather. The garden needs the water and I need normality.

Anyway, we enjoyed the walk. Ashdown Forest is a lovely ancient area of open heathland about 30 miles south of London Sussex, England. It rises to an elevation of 732 feet above sea level. As you can see from my photos, the expansive views are wonderful across the wooded hills, lonesome properties and rain-filled skyline. In fact, we arrived back to our car just before a downpour.

Walking is the one thing we are still able to do. Not great at staying at home but do agree that the UK lockdown needs to continue although not for too much longer as the country will be in a dreadful state, if it is not already. We try to remain positive although it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain so. Dreadful when you think of the suffering going on at present isn’t it?

Workouts
Another thing I’ve realised is that I must get out every day for some exercise. Recently, I’ve been unmotivated and started to eat rubbish. Don’t think this is the time to become unhealthy with all that is going on in the world. 

On the plus side, I’ve gone back to home workouts this week and done a Kelly Holmes HIIT workout which nearly kills me. Then some kettlebell exercises, weights and stretching. My mood has been low this week so hopefully, the endorphins will encourage more cheerfulness. Well, we live in hope.

Television and YouTube 
We enjoyed ‘After Life’ on Netflix although the swearing/bad language is a little too ripe. However, brilliant acting with much to appreciate about depression derived from grief and how it is challenging to exist and be a decent human being in a cruel world which feels inhospitable. I KNOW THE FEELING. I’ve liked Gervais’ method of oscillating between the poignant and ridiculous characters. The second series seems to display an even more profound performance of crippling depression juxtaposed with comedy and a protagonist finding little comfort with what life throws at him. Just what I need a bit of real-life misery with hilarity intermittently thrown in. 

Also, a little tip is Dr. John Campell’s Global Updates on YouTube re. the Corona virus without all the noise, is excellent…

https://www.youtube.com/user/Campbellteaching/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=2

Can highly recommend as it is a direct and informative evaluation using accurate data driven analysis but with relevant and interesting commentary.  

Stay safe,
Cheerio,
Andrea x