Running away

I went for a run earlier this evening – it was my first run in almost three months, and only the fifth since lockdown began in March. I’ve been nursing a sports injury since February; it’s felt better over the past few weeks but on some days I still feel a twinge and I was going to hold off until it was gone.

But today, I felt extremely restless. And even after taking an afternoon nap to reinvigorate myself as I work through Sunday, I felt even more lethargic than before. Except that I could tell it was much more physical – my body wasn’t happy.

So, I wondered if I could do a short run – even just to ‘test’ out the injury. I decided instead to do some yoga, and I felt better but it was still lacking. As I was cooling down with Down Dog, I decided to lace up and go for a run.

By most standards, it wasn’t a bad run considering how out of shape I am. In fact, considering that I walked for 30-40% of the run – whether I thought I felt something at the injury – it’s quite good. I’m not sure how the injury will feel tomorrow; I hope whatever I felt on the road was just in my head, or just that area sore from very little attention for many months.

In terms of my body though, I feel so much better! I actually feel in my body again, something that I haven’t felt for months.

Fact of the matter is I haven’t managed to find much motivation to do any exercise. Over the past two months, even my yoga and mindfulness/meditation has become rather sporadic. I’m still spending most of my time at home, and I’m still cycling but only to get to places as opposed to exercising.

In general, I’ve been feeling ‘meh’.

I haven’t had much time to focus too much on my mental health though – the past few weeks have gotten busy again with some work that I’ve been doing – to earn some money, conduct fieldwork for a research project, and working on getting some academic publications out.

Here’s the honest truth: I’ve actually been super stress, and there are some things happening in my life at the moment that’s causing my anxieties to shoot up again. I realised this about a week ago, but I didn’t have the energy or space to manage it.

I think today, my body gave me a big sign. I don’t know if I can continue with the running if the injury is not completely healed, but this post is a reminder that I need to check in on my body and mind a little bit more.

The next two months is going to be wild, and I’m going to need to be in good shape to navigate it.

I’m going to take the rest of the evening off. A glass of wine, and maybe watch a musical. Apologies to anyone I owe work to – I’ll get started again tomorrow.

The Bangsar Boy (kinda) returns

It’s been three years since my The Bangsar Boy column ended, and other than the occasional rant on social media, I haven’t really taken to doing much of this kind of writing.

But I am currently self-isolating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic – it’s so weird talking about something the whole world knows about that it doesn’t need explaining – and there are a lot of things going through my mind.

Don’t get me wrong … I am not short of things to do. I have so many deadlines and work owing to friends and colleagues (including an attempt to shift to online learning from Monday next week at the university I teach at) but the truth is, I’ve really been struggling over the past couple of weeks.

This week alone has been all about trying to adapt to working from home. I had to go on to campus on Monday because I had office hours to see my students. After I left uni, we started getting communication from the school and department I teach for that all face-to-face meetings would be cancelled and we should start doing things virtually instead. So, on Tuesday, my friend Rob and I went back in to grab all our things from the office to set up shop at home.

Except that it hasn’t been easy. Work wise, I tend to function best in the late afternoon and evenings. However, I’ve spent the months following my the completion of my PhD trying to build a more practical pattern to accommodate my need to sleep better. The past few years had wrecked my body and I’ve been feeling so much better with the adjustment. This week, all the old habits are returning and my sleep has been badly affected.

So today, I decided to hit the reset button. I woke up, had breakfast and spent the morning and early afternoon deep cleaning my flat. It was way overdue in terms of dustiness, but more importantly, I arranged all the things I brought home and made space to properly work from today on.

This post – and my attempt to start blogging again – is almost a bookmark for this moment, as we navigate the strange days of self-isolation and uncertainties that lie ahead. I actually had this blog set up a long time ago, but I just never did anything with it.

But I have been thinking that I should start writing a little bit to document these abnormal times after my friend Chris – a historian – posted on his Facebook to ask people to start journaling their experiences living in self-isolation or quarantine.

I cannot tell you how fascinating these sorts of documents are to future historians. Almost anything you observe or feel will be interesting in some way to some person in 25, 50, or 100+ years time. They’re so delightfully idiosyncratic, so intimate, so visceral.

Dr. Chris Parkes

Also, seeing how my personal mental health has been taking a beating due to events triggered by this pandemic (I wrote a post on Facebook a few days ago sharing some of the things I’m doing to cope better), writing – the one thing I love to do so much – might serve as therapy too.

I don’t know how regularly I’ll update, and if it’ll just be journaling or include some of the types of social commentary The Bangsar Boy used to write. Like everything else that’s happening in the world currently, it’ll be very fluid and instinctive.

That said, I’m keen on hearing from you so please share some of your feelings too in the comments as we navigate these crazy times together.