As the End is in Sight, My Personal Learnings From Lockdown
By Julie Gooding, Director of Operations
I have never had a job working from home before and it has been an eye opener. I was very surprised at how quickly I adapted to a new daily routine – then how quickly I needed to change it. It may have taken 7 weeks, but I think I have finally found a rhythm that feels appropriate with the right balance of breaks to keep me positive and motivated. Our remote working set up via our IT guys has been exceptional, we've kept up regular scheduled meetings on Zoom for the whole team and worked out a satisfactory division of tasks to see us through. We are not out of the woods yet by a long shot, but I think we can at least see a path forward forming.
It has been an extraordinary reflective time for everyone and I wanted to share some personal learnings that I hope to remember and act on when we achieve our new normal:
- Exercise is vital. I used to think that walking to the office (20 minutes) or to the shops (15 minutes) would keep me going. I did a dance class once a week too before lockdown.
I am not young so pushing myself to exercise is no mean feat, but my 18 year old has been managing my fitness regime for the last 3 weeks, despite stiff resistance from me at first, and I find that I am now enjoying it. What a difference to my mood, my strength and yes, my dress size already in just under a month. Going from barely 2 tricep dips to 14 on the trot has given me a very surprising confidence boost, and I like still being surprised at my age.
- The wonderful expression that has been floating around during this time has been "we are all in the same sea, but not in the same boat". Seeing how some of my friends and family members have behaved over the last 7 weeks in response to the crisis has evidenced that. The ones that come across as strong and capable and "successful" were some of the first to crumble, and others who appear to be emotionally fragile have shown an inner strength and kindness to others that has been humbling. Competitive by nature, I can now see that competing with others is a fool's errand as you have no idea what you are really competing against. Competing against yourself, now that’s a worthwhile challenge. Achieving for yourself to make sure you are getting the best out of yourself at any given time of your life, and given your own circumstances, is my new mantra.
- Routine may often be dull but it's what gets you through the day. My son and I developed a pretty good structure for the endless days with set mealtimes, work times, exercise times and evening "meet ups" with friends. Having a structure to hold on to keeps you going, keeps you moving forward, gets you up in the morning, gets you in the shower, keeps your pride up. Even when we had niggles or rows there was always a moment or two in the day when we had to come together again, forcing us to chat and smooth things out. I am thankful that I was still able to work during lockdown but I would like to think that I would have still found a structure as a lifeboat through the darker days, and feel this is a valuable thing to remember for any future storms ahead.
- It’s the little things that make a difference between a good day and bad day. When you are in the groundhog days of lockdown it is not so hard to distinguish the good days as you can easily feel the little things that make the difference. A friend dropping by to chat to you from the balcony, a bottle of wine and flowers from your boss to lift your mood and make you feel valued, people checking in via Whatsapp and Zoom, a good old belly laugh over some old photos with your son or sharing some of the fabulous memes and videos that have been floating around, a sense of achievement by crossing off something that you’ve had on your to do list for a long time. Nothing earth shattering, nothing dramatic but so important to your mental health. When we are all busy again the little things will be swept up in the constant movement and stresses of the day, and potentially forgotten. I hope that I will take the time to check in with myself every evening when we are all back again to see if I can spot the small things that made the day a good one
- And finally …broaden your horizons. I have enjoyed logging on to some of the webinars that have been on offer and has been amazed at the array of different subjects and interesting speakers. You can get stuck in narrow thinking by listening to talks that are only related to your profession, and listening to other talks about other subjects and motivational speakers from all professions has been inspiring and therefore creative, generating new ideas and potentially different futures. I hope that I will continue to feel motivated to watch more talks and listen to podcasts that can provoke change and growth, both professionally and personally.