When is the right time to share our appreciation?

Since the last time I shared a blog, times have changed. Normality is no longer the assumed normality. After embracing three years in solitude, then finally returning the presumed norm. Surely, returning to a life in solitude should be easy?

Like Comment

The last time I was here I shared that I am so thankful for the recent learning, and I believe I should still continue to say thank you for the learning.

In the past I had shut myself away for many hours of the day, the sole company of two pet dogs, the often ring of the telephone, the welcome break when the family returned home for the writer’s solitude to disperse.

Today, I have my wish, I love having my children and husband at home, it is a different kind of solitude, however I accept it isn’t a solitude and I am no longer writing any poetry as I was in the past. I am choosing to use the extra time I have to edit my past reflective writing, alone, and I can see today, I was content, but not as happy as I could have been because every day that I chose to be separated from contact with others, between the hours of 8:30 and 3:30, I was socially empty. 

I was challenged back then during the time alone to like my own company, which I did, but it was never enough. I craved contact with books, magazines and social media to fill up my time alone. I see that now. I thought I was alone, but subconsciously I was fighting against it. I had the belief that I was fortunate that I had a sustainable family life, which allowed for me to take time out from the economy and the momentum of living a full-career-driven life.

Since my return to the expected social norm in 2019 and recent months, I have enjoyed the company of people and been satisfied with the many new interactions. I was able to recognise my strengths and weaknesses. None of that existed in my past time in solitude.

Interestingly, when I returned to work in a thriving people orientated environment, I became ill with so many viruses, I felt my immune system was at rock bottom. I was overwhelmed with illness,  I hadn’t endured anything like it through-out four decades. Sometimes, I questioned whether my time in solitude had weakened my immunity to dangerously low levels. I chose to leave the purposeful-role because I thought I wasn’t healthy enough to sustain it.  Supply work seemed the better option, so that I could pick and choose to accept days of work, and re-build my immune system more gradually.

These recent weeks of lock-down due to COVID-19, the schools are closed.  I mindfully rebelled at first, I didn’t want to return to solitude. I was happier being part of the social norm even if I did catch every virus circulating.  I envy Sweden right now, a country that has given the choice to the people to choose to look after themselves. How mature, how hopeful.

When choices are taken away, solitude becomes a darker place, almost a trap.   I understand the need for protecting people, it's a parenting model, however the impact of isolation can often depress resilience both mentally and physically, at first it seems different, new, then doubt can creep in. The many calls I have had of late with good friends and family who thought they had a great career and now question whether there will be a job to return to.  Others, who would rather test their immunity of the virus than be locked in their home for 12 weeks or 12 months. I understand these mindful processes of thought. For now, all we can all do is wait.

During these times of patience, I am choosing to finding moments of appreciation that I want to share:

  • I appreciate having my family at home right now, because part of me always wanted to home-tutor. I love having my family around me. However, I now also appreciate from this experience that if I were a home tutor, I would be isolating all of my family from socially networking, being open to new experiences and beliefs and a developing personal resilience.  
  • I appreciate that whilst the NHS is abundantly busy, I have being diagnosed with an over-active thyroid and although I believed running 1K a day had encouraged my healthier body, I am now at my target weight and two stone lighter thanks to my thyroid. I will hope that my weightloss will sustain itself during the lock-down period.
  • I appreciate the company I work for who have furloughed me and have been so genuinely kind and helpful during these very abnormal times.
  • I appreciate that I have had lots of time to edit my books, and clear out old paperwork, along with plenty of sunshine during welcome breaks.
  • I appreciate my parents who keep in regular contact and I even considered letting them move in because I don’t want them to be isolated, alone. They declined.
  • I appreciate how quickly the air quality has improved all over the world during - in the scheme of life - a short-term issue. Long may the air quality last.
  • I appreciate Psychologies Magazine for delivering some amazing articles and information which is super helpful for self-care during mindfully pressing times.

The list surprisingly goes on…

Take care and have many solitary adventures, during this unique time. I've had a few open ended questions, answered and revealed. How about you?


Image, is a picture taken back in April 2019 when I was feeling the fear and doing it anyway, which achieved a beautiful room with a view. 

Julie Spencer

Ambassador and Learning Support Assistant, Psychologies Magazine

Proud Ambassador for Psychologies Magazine. The magazine encapsulates many of my core values: being kind, have compassion, look after your health and wellbeing, be professional and be supportive of others. A little self belief can go a long way. I have studied as a mature student. I went into a writing frenzy and spent 3 years writing in solitude. I was a stay at home mum, too. What I learned: being alone for long periods of time is bad for your health and wellbeing. Thanks to a little nudge from Psychologies Magazine I am reconnecting and rebuilding my C.V. I'm a creative. I have lots of ideas and I need to constantly realign my focus onto one project at a time. Until recently I had a real fear for public speaking, but after reading a book that suggested I acknowledge my fears and challenge them anyway; with the support of the Psychologies community and more I'm working through my fears one blog at a time.