Former jockey, broadcaster and fourth generation horse racing royalty Tracy Piggott is back to share her thoughts on coping with life in lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic in her second guest blog.
Our health is probably now more important than ever before. That means both mental and physical health and everything else in between.
These are unprecedented times, as we are, by now, all well aware, but really, what does that mean? There are so many connotations and layers to this now renown statement; yet it is how we come out of all this, that will truly show the real impact of what is happening right now.
The most important thing is to be kind to yourself. That is an awful cliché, I know, but it is very important that we are a little gentler on ourselves. I find myself wondering if I am doing enough schoolwork with my daughter, enough activities, enough jumping up and down to various work out apps, doing enough cleaning, gardening, cooking and baking.
It is easy to look at what others are doing, compare ourselves and perhaps feel that we just don’t measure up and should be doing more and more. The fact is, like the virus itself, it is not a one-size-fits-all situation.
Take me, for example. I turned 55 yesterday. I’d had all sorts of plans to celebrate, but that’s out the window and can be done another time. I am a single parent of a gorgeous, but quite typical 12-year-old daughter. So, as you can imagine the hormone levels in the house are through the roof!
Mine are going one way and hers the other. We are both similar characters. Strong willed, determined, fiery and at times, stubborn. We are also big softies underneath it all and can be brought to tears very easily. However, I am an adult with those traits, and she is the child. They display themselves quite similarly but often for different reasons.
I find it really difficult to understand, for example, why I have to ask the same thing a thousand times: “Please put your bowl in the dishwasher, please don’t leave your stuff in the sitting room, why is the chocolate wrapper down the side of the couch?” I tend to get the same response each time, either “Sorry, I meant to,” or “I was going to do it later.” I find myself going back over the same ground, arguing that it would be so much easier if she had just done it there and then, and how it shows a lack of respect for the house, for me and so on.
This is probably very familiar to some, if not most of you. I am just wondering if now that we are in lockdown and together most of the time, if I should pick my battles. Should I just pick it up and put it in the bin and leave the nagging and the exasperation for another day when things are easier? I am just not sure. In some households there will be other children, and possibly a father, or maybe a father and no mother. There are so many variables. With more kids, there is the opportunity for them to entertain each other, while households with two parents share roles for discipline and guidance. We need to look at our own, individual set-up and realise we can only be as good as we can be under very unusual circumstances and pressure.
I lost my job in October, with two and half months’ notice after nearly 31 years with RTE. It felt pretty awful then, but now it seems that all the plans and bookings I’d made since have just gone up in smoke. I don’t know if they will ever return or how I am going to make ends meet in the foreseeable future. I am still trying to get a place for my daughter in a local secondary school, all of which are full even though I’ve had her name on waiting lists for the last seven years! She is panicking because she doesn’t know if she will get back for the last part of her sixth-class year or for any of the exciting things that were planned for the next few months at school. She spends time chatting online with many of her friends and even though she tries to understand that everyone is going through the same experience, it is still tough going and confusing for her and all the young adults who find themselves in this predicament.
My father is 84 and lives in a part of Switzerland that has been badly affected by Covid-19. My mother lives alone at the age of 80 in the UK. I got my stubbornness mostly from her. She insists on living alone and will not tolerate the thought of help in any way! So, there is plenty to worry about when it comes to my parents and their health, although they seem well and are doing everything they are told regarding cocooning so far.
I speak with my mother every evening and my father every few days. I remind myself that they are their own people and like myself, chose to live their lives the way they wish. I must not try to impose what I think is right upon them, as much as I would not be happy and have not been happy in the past if they had tried to do the same to me!
When I feel tense and angry over things that my pre-teen, little queen will not do, I try to look at myself as Tracy and remember how I was at that age. Thank God she is so much better behaved than I was, even though I was terrified of my mother. She is certainly not a bit afraid of me!
I could dwell on the negatives and sometimes I find myself drifting in that direction, but I can recognise the signs and take proactive steps to prevent that. With a history of depression in my 20’s and 30’s, I need to be on the ball when it comes to feelings of negativity and despondency.
I do sometimes stop and laugh at myself, which I think is a good thing for us to do. The future? Well who knows. None of us know. We have the present and that’s it. My worrying about what lies ahead is wasted energy, and I cannot, as I said in my previous blog, control any of it. Staying positive and looking after myself and my child, will certainly go a long way to making sure there is a future to look forward to.
So, I spend a lot of time in the outdoors with my three wonderful companions, Boo, a Newfoundland, Toby, a Shitsu/Bichon and Honey, a British Bulldog. They don’t know about Covid-19 and nor does nature. It continues regardless.
I am starting to do a little gardening, something I know nothing about, but seem to get a strange satisfaction from it, even if it is just enjoying a newly weeded flower bed, or a bunch of daffodils bobbing in the morning breeze.
I get sleep and try to burn lavender in the room as I had been finding it hard to drift off peacefully. I take my Revive Active religiously every morning, as I have since it first arrived on the market. I take two sachets if I feel that I need an extra boost. I also take CoQ10 Ubiquinol and sage alongside a probiotic.
I get some form of physical exercise each day. Right now, I am finding it hard to get motivated but remind myself how much better I will feel afterwards, and it is always the case. It just gives you that shot of self-esteem and feel good endorphins.
I still feel anxious about what is happening and not knowing where it will all end. I feel my shoulders are tense and my body is reacting to the uncertainty and worry in my head. I have strange dreams, what I call stress dreams. I still lose the rag and get annoyed over things that I really shouldn’t, and I cry. Sometimes I just lie down in a big green field and watch the sky and wonder what the hell this is all about and how on earth everyone is going to get through this madness…and that’s ok. I am a human being, not a robot. We can do little things to be kind and try to help ourselves. But these are the weirdest of times, so cut yourself a little bit of slack.