Well here we are in July.
We’ve survived another month of lockdown in the UK. Month 3! Who’d have thought it?
As these are strange yet interesting times, I wanted to write about how things are for me at the moment, whilst also taking part in the July Linkup from a Chronic Voice for a bit of inspiration.
This involves writing my thoughts around several writing prompts. This month, the prompts are:
Bothering, Demanding, Nourishing, Telecommunicating and Tolerating.
I guess there are many things bothering me at the moment surrounding the relaxation of the UK lockdown.
June saw the rules relaxing across the UK, including allowing single households (like me) to form “bubbles” with other households, as well as being able to meet in bigger groups outside. Non-essential shops, zoos and other outdoor attractions also opened up for the first time since March. In June, we still could not meet friends and family indoors unless they were in our support bubble. I must admit, I’m losing track a bit with what the current rules actually are, and it seems like people are just doing what they want now.
The relaxing of the rules has helped me though, in the sense that this month, I have been able to meet up with friends for a run/walk etc for the first time in months. This has done wonders for my mental health. However, it bothers me that many places I have visited recently for walks etc are so crowded and I don’t see much social distancing going on – most of the time, it just seems like normal, like there is no pandemic. I guess many people are just fed up with it all now and want some normality back but it is worrying, especially as we have no vaccine currently.
The latest lockdown update on the 23rd June also bothered me somewhat. It’s great that we can meet with another household from 4th July, this means that I can visit my parents and go in their house for the first time in over 3 months. Also, I can have friends round again. However, it worries me slightly that pubs, restaurants, hotels etc will be reopening. I do feel bad for these businesses and appreciate that they need to make money, but it’s going to be a strange experience and with all the rules in place, it hardly seems worth it or like it will be enjoyable like previously.
I’ve been finding working from home demanding recently. This is the third month of working from home and I’m finding it stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy and feel incredibly lucky that I have a good job and that I am able to work from home, as I know others are not so lucky at the moment. However, it can be hard to separate work from home without that change of scene. When working from home, it can also be too tempting to work late and let the work/life balance suffer.
It’s getting increasingly busy for me in my role and I’m finding there are lots of demands on my time, whether it be phone calls, video calls or messages. This is the nature of remote working, trying to keep in touch with everyone – but sometimes I feel like I’m being pulled in many directions and it can be difficult to focus and get things done.
It’s also difficult managing a team remotely and to know if you are doing a good job or not, or if everyone else is ok/happy. It can be draining as a manager, you need to make sure everyone is happy and knows what they are doing, but who looks out for you?
Remote meetings are now the new norm and I sometimes find them to be exhausting, especially when they last all day, like the one I had last week.
I guess all we can do is our best at the moment! But I tend to give myself a hard time and be hard and demanding on myself.
That being said, I’m not sure I’d be wanting to go back to the office anytime soon, either.
At the start of lockdown, I was feeling motivated, ready to crack on with various goals and projects to make use of all the “extra time.”
As time and lockdown went on, I began to feel less and less motivated. The goals I set at the start of the year, are no longer valid really, as they involved completing my first marathon (which was cancelled), completing 100 parkruns (which are not happening now) and fundraising with a trip to Machu Picchu (which has now been postponed to next year).
I’m a very goal orientated person, if I don’t have goals in life, I tend to feel a bit lost. As lockdown went on I’ve been moving less (due to working from home and a lack of motivation). Plus, my diet hasn’t been great either. So for July, I have decided to take back control!
I have re-done my goals for the next 6 months to help me to nourish the mind and body. I feel better already!
My new goals for the next 6 months are:
-I have signed up with a running coach to help me get back into the swing of my running, and to improve my strength and fitness through yoga and strength training.
-I’m going to aim to do 10K steps a day (but not beat myself up if I can’t some days). It’s hard for me to get 10K steps as I work all day sat at a desk. Plus, as I am working from home currently it’s even worse. I’m determined to force myself out for a walk at lunchtime and try to get my steps up (and to have a break!)
-I love learning so my aim is to complete a course in Adobe Photoshop in July. I’ve started a course during lockdown and i’m really enjoying it. Plus it gives me the skills I need for my job in marketing, and for my blog.
-Read one book every month – I love reading as it helps me relax and escape, which is important at the moment.
Before lockdown, and being an introvert, I hated talking on camera/video. Well, I soon got over that fear! During lockdown, it’s pretty much become normal – and if you didn’t know what Zoom was before, you do now!
When we were in full lockdown, my friends and I would have a weekly Zoom catch up (sometimes with gin!), and my running friends would all have a group quiz. It was fun and would be something to look forward to when we couldn’t really go out and socialise. It was also a nice way to stay in touch and catch up with friends that I wouldn’t normally speak to as much in some cases.
Video has also been crucial at ensuring many businesses could carry on during lockdown, for example PT’s offering virtual gym classes, yoga sessions and Drs and physios offering virtual consultations.
It’s amazing how innovative some businesses have been and also how much you can actually do virtually without seeing someone in person! Sometimes having a video call is much easier and saves a lot of time.
Now that lockdown is easing, I still use video calls on a weekly basis with work but I hope that we can continue to stay in touch in this way with friends we don’t see as often. I also hope that some businesses and services continue to offer video calls as an option, as in many cases in can be more convenient.
My new found confidence with talking on video has also led me to start a YouTube channel for my blog during lockdown. I still have a long way to go, but I’m proud of myself of getting over my initial fear and making a start!
I think what this pandemic has taught me is that life should never be taken for granted. In this sense, I will not be tolerating anything, or anyone, that makes me unhappy going forwards. I have been treated badly in the past, and sometimes find that people take advantage of my kind nature. The pandemic has shown me who the important people are in my life, and who are the toxic ones. After being in a toxic relationship last year, I will not tolerate toxic people or friends. Life is hard enough, without additional stress.
All the best and stay safe!