I WAS half-way to the Co-op before I realised I was wearing pyjama bottoms. The fact that I decided to carry on walking, rather than nip home to change, speaks volumes about 2020 - the year we went feral.

I had become what I despised - someone who goes to the shop in their pyjamas. To be fair, they’re quite nice pyjamas that could possibly pass for sweat pants, and they were partly concealed under my coat, and it was dark...but even so.

This was a slippery slope, and l knew where it led. Eating cold baked beans from the tin and slouching round town in a grubby dressing-gown and slippers.

Standards have slipped this year. I blame the elasticated waist. When I started working from home in mid-March, I swapped work clothes for comfies. I’m not alone in adopting the attire of an acceptable top, for online meetings, mis-matched with jogging pants and, yep, pyjama bottoms below the screen.

It’s alarming how quickly you become way too used to the elasticated waist. I was too busy stuffing my face with Mini Cheddars to notice at the time. But when your life revolves around work, the Co-op, dog walks and the telly, which mine pretty much has this year, you don’t really have anything to dress up for. Making an effort goes on the backburner.

There have been days when I’ve realised I’m not wearing a bra. One morning I logged on early and fell down the rabbit hole of work and emails, and by lunchtime I was still in my nightshirt. I’d forgotten to have a shower.

It’s been so long since I wore make-up I’m not even sure how to do it anymore. If I tried to apply lipstick I’d probably end up looking like a clown. These days my hair is just something to wash, pull a comb through and clip back, so it’s out of the way. It’s longer than it’s been in years because I haven’t been to a hairdresser for 12 months. Other than muddy walking boots and pumps, I don’t think I’ve worn actual shoes since about April. Every day I reach for the same old sweaters, cardigans and comfy pants (or jeans if I’m leaving the house - the pyjamas-at-the-Co-op was a low point that hasn’t been repeated). The last time I wore a skirt was summer when I went to the pub and the seaside, and briefly felt like a human being again.

I’ve never been what you might call high maintenance. I have friends who won’t leave the house without a full face of make-up and a manicure, even in a pandemic. I’d rather have an extra half hour in bed than get up to faff around with make-up. But I do remember a time in the not too distant past when I liked clothes, and getting my hair done, and having facials, and applying mascara. And the thrill of buying a new pair of boots - high-heeled, impractical and expensive - or a lovely handbag, just because I wanted them.

Like many of us trapped in this weird sci-fi saga that is now life as we know it, I think 2020 has been about just getting through each day, rather than living.

The things I love - cinema, theatre, live music, restaurants, pubs, museums, city breaks, spas, swimming pools - are on hold and I feel like I’m on hold too.

Now Christmas, like everything else this year, is a non-event. A “quiet one”, as they say. For many people, particularly those who have lost loved ones this year or are spending Christmas alone, it will be heartbreaking. There is no way round that, and hollow platitudes won’t help. For me, it’s just a welcome Bank Holiday break. Christmas Day will come and go, like any other.

But I have bought myself a new dress to wear tomorrow, to remind myself that life, however challenging, is still for living.