It’s my lockdown and I’ll cry if I want to!

In our house, in the long lockdown days, it seems it is always someone’s turn to have a Bad Day when just any little thing can be The Last Straw! The Last Straw is different for everyone and some are predictable and some are not. I know it will freak my husband out if we put the small plates on the wrong side of the dishwasher and I can always predict an outcry from my daughter if someone lets a gluten rich breadcrumb sully the gluten free bread board. The baby’s moods of fury are predictable in that he will be furious regularly, but who knew that being prevented from invading the understairs cupboard, or tipping up the watering can would result in such anguish or that my refusal to swap his sippy cup for my cup of tea would produce a torrent of tears to rival Niagara? 

On Monday, when it was confirmed that we remain, for the most part in social isolation, I imagine that many of us felt disappointed and perhaps the whole country had a collective Bad Day. We knew it was for the best, but we had hoped for an endpoint and some certainty, and many, like my daughter, whose husband is in Morocco, are yearning to be reunited with loved ones and friends. 

I was thinking about this and about Clayesmore and what the community can do now to maintain morale and wellbeing and I thought particularly of our Y13 and Y11 and students all over the UK,  who were looking forward so much to that time after the exams, that carefree summer with friends, and, for Y13, that exciting  future beyond Clayesmore. Our hearts go out to them, and when the situation permits, we will do all we can to provide a proper send-off. It won’t be the same, but it will be good!

But how to deal with these Bad Days now? How do we keep our balance and perspective through difficult and uncertain times? There is a lot of advice online and in the newspapers, but I thought I would see if  Clayesmore students had anything to teach me.

Earlier this week when Jo Thomson and I met our Y8 students from the prep school to talk about next term, we were really impressed by their resourcefulness and resilience and how they are making these days count. They were all enjoying the online learning and some reported making scale models, drawing Manga cartoons, painting, enjoying their exercising, practising their netball shooting and many other things. Their enthusiasm was inspiring.

Clayesmore Senior students are also engaging brilliantly with their online learning and holding onto the routine to structure their days. They are producing beautiful art, making music and writing their Lockdown Diaries. Students say they value the meetings with tutor groups and other House get-togethers, and most are remaining focused, optimistic and steady. 

So, talking to Clayesmorians confirmed that the best way to get through this is to live in the day. Accept the Bad Days as inevitable and don’t, like the camel, let The Last Straw break your back. It’s no good wishing our lives away or counting the minutes until al this is over. We need to be firm with ourselves, find real purpose in our daily lives, keep to our weekly routines and maintain our curiosity and interest in the world and in other people. 

I am attaching a Summer Activity Journal here from BrainCanDo which young people and adults alike could use as a stimulus for looking after themselves. Some might fill in every page, while others might dip in for ideas, but it is a very good guide to the ways in which we can improve our moods, attitudes and wellness in this extraordinary summer.