Back in March at the very beginning of the viral pandemic I was a pillar of positivity. I sensed the social pain, frustration and challenges associated with the practicalities of lockdown, but from a behavioural perspective understood the significant underlying and unseen problems there would be from isolation, social starvation and disruption to routine.
Behind the positive videos we produced, blogs and content I continued to produce to help maintain perspective on the uncertain situation, things were extremely difficult. Most of my income relies on people coming together in the form of conferences, events, broadcast filming and workshops here at the farm. As a result of lockdown and the subsequent covid-19 restrictions, within 7 days I lost 90% of my annual income and continued to watch my diary empty as future work was cancelled or moved into November 2021 at the earliest.
Like many businesses across the world, I had to let all but one of my team go, reduce outgoings and strip back to the bear minimum. An eye-opening exercise indeed and a learning curve that demonstrated just how little we truly need, which simultaneously exposes what really matters. Still trying to remain positive; my default outlook on life, I was unaware of just how much everything was affecting me.
This isn’t a sob story and I’ll spare the gory details (and there are many, believe me) but the result was that in those initial 5 months, I lost 2″ from my waistline as a result of stress and anxiety. My mental health suffered, too, and despite constantly working hard to maintain some sort of income, I began to burn out. Weekly there was something else that went wrong and throughout all of this my eldest dog, my wing man of 13 years, Zeus, finally had to be put to sleep. Around about the same time I met someone exceptional while dating, and fell deeply for them. Again, I’ll spare the details but imagine the most romantic and perfect love film you’ve ever seen. That recently fell apart, too, and I’m currently trying to manage the grief and immense guilt of my misguided actions that led to hurting that person so very much. I miss them deeply.
Aware of my weight loss and reeling in pain and loss and confusion I’ve embarked on a pretty special 12 week journey. This post isn’t really about me – it’s about all of us and the thing that unites us all: our vulnerability. We are only human and we each have flaws and challenges and I know that every one of us is impacted in some way by the current situation. Some are more resilient and buoyant than others but at times our vulnerability presents itself and we are perhaps a little more aware of core needs not being met; the uncomfortableness of uncertainty; missing friends or going on holiday, and even the simple things like not feeling true freedom of being able to do what we want to do, when we want to do it. Remembering a mask (or getting somewhere and realising you forgot it) even adds a subtle underlying stress.
Having a 12 week plan forcibly gives me hope; structure and a clear goal to aim towards. I’m not going to pretend the idea of 12 weeks is easy – I’m only on week 2 and I couldn’t feel further from progress, however, anxiety and loss of love doesn’t help eating well!
So, my 12 week plan is a plan of self care, ultimately. It’s a structured plan to gain weight and with that weight also gain some muscle definition through a workout plan. Added into that plan, which I’m working with a personal trainer on, I’m reconnecting with house plants, my garden (although it’s getting cold and wet, hence the house plants!) and other elements of self care that help make me feel stronger and more in control of how I feel.
I’m sharing it with you because what I see on social media is a growing trend of filters; falseness and disingenuous content. Since openly coming out this year, I’ve made the choice to be open and honest – if that’s not what you want to see, I completely understand. There are tens of thousands of other people you can follow who will proclaim to have a perfect life; consistently look beautiful in their photos and extoll the positive virtues of their life. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: that isn’t human, or honest and I don’t think it’s especially useful for our mental health. We should embrace our flaws because life isn’t perfect – and nor are we. To pretend we are is to hide from who we really are, and that will always – always – catch up with you in the end.
And that’s what I’ve promised myself – and you. If you’re not following me on social (instagram, twitter, facebook, youtube and Linkedin @ThatJezRose) please do so for an exciting announcement on Monday 19th October and to be part of an altogether exciting public journey.