Are you making the most out of the second lockdown?

baking banana bread
Ilona Madden - RightFood4U - Nutrition Programmes - Bray Wicklow Dublin

Written by Ilona Madden

November 3, 2020

updated 4 Dec 2023

Stop baking bread and take some time out!

Did you throw yourself into being busy during the first lockdown and started new hobbies, baking banana bread or learning new skills? 

When the first lockdown happened, I wanted to make sure I won’t get bored that I actually ended up overloading myself with tons of interesting things to do and learn. 

My to-do-list grew longer and longer…. 

Does that sound like you? 

I was so terrified at the thought of being bored, but also wanted so much to make the most out of this forced time at home, and I wanted to help anybody who wasn’t as fortunate as I was. I threw myself into it head-on. I took every opportunity to take part in a webinar, I created an online programme, Enjoy Brain Food – Ditch the Cravings in 7 days!  but had to learn how to do this first of all. This is quite a popular programme that helps you get and stay motivated to stick to 7-days of not eating sugar in order to get on top of your sugar cravings. I’ve given away lots of free content, wanting to help. I’ve done talks and presentations, interviews and conducted a very successful group programme. And after the initial very quiet period, I got busier and busier with my one-to-one clients who are seeking a more personal approach with accountability and coaching. Having struggled for years and years with sugar cravings, but also still struggling with cravings for carbs and gluten, I know what it’s like when it seems someone is hijacking your brain and forcing you to raid the store cupboard or fridge. Over the years, I’ve developed lots of tricks and strategies that work, and tried and tested them with my clients. This way, I am constantly developing and growing new worksheets, and techniques that help more and more people. 

Anyway, you get the picture. I was busier than ever. I only took 2 weeks off during the summer, other than that I was at my laptop most days from 9am to 6pm, sometimes even later. And I can feel it now. 

Wicklow Golf Club

When the second lockdown was announced, I was annoyed and frustrated at first. It didn’t make sense. Why cancel all the golf where golf is such a safe sport? You have so much space to stay apart? Why close all those restaurants and pubs who put so much effort to provide safe environments to their customers?

Anyway, I decided there is no point in wallowing in the things I couldn’t change. And I reminded myself of the circle of control that features in some stress seminar that I attended at some stage.


So basically, we have these 3 circles. One that you have no control over, such as World Peace, the Weather, or the Coronavirus Regulations. The second one is about Influence. So, I’m hoping I can influence some people by helping them to eat healthier diets and lead a healthier lifestyle. I know it works, as I have helped so many people already. 

But, I have no control over whether my clients are sticking to my recommendations, or not. I can influence – by sharing my experience, my tools, my knowledge – but not control. What I – and you! – do have control over though,  is what I do, what I eat, what exercises I do.

Feeling in control in a world that seems so out of control is so important!


This is what kept me going for the past few months. But then it started to feel more like overwhelm and a sense of feeling out of control as my to-do-list seems to grow and grow. On top of that, I had more one-to-one clients than ever. Interestingly, many in exactly the same boat as I find myself. Mums who had been home schooling earlier in the year and then been busy during the summer months with no time off and no holiday away. And who now want to start looking after themselves. Invest in themselves. Not another diet programme, but something that will actually be a real change. Learning to eat well without having to constantly think or worry about it. Eating sweet things without feeling guilty or the need to go for a long walk afterwards to burn it all off again. Getting a real understanding of what’s going on in their bodies and why certain foods make them feel better or worse.

Anyway, while it is so fulfilling being able to help other and being kept so busy with not one dull moment, I am beginning to feel tired.

This is why I have decided to take November as an opportunity to reflect and slow down. While I’m not fully taking time off (I want to continue helping my clients), I am definitely spending more time for myself. After all, I need to recharge my batteries in order to be in top form to help others. I don’t see relaxation as a luxury anymore. Relaxation is a necessity! So, I’m meditating, journaling, walking more. Back doing some art with drawing and painting. Cuddling up with a good book. Enjoying that autumn feeling as we are transitioning into the winter.

What are you going to do to slow down?

Does this feel like you?

Do you think you it might be time to invest in yourself?

We can’t change this situation, but we can work on our mindset. So, what I’d like to suggest. Take out a pen and paper and write down 3 things that are actually positive in this lockdown. This will be different for everyone. This is about you. Try to find 3 things that you enjoy and that bring you joy. You will find something.

Focus on the positives!

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