#CoronaGate – What have I learnt about myself

So, it’s week 5 of being at home and it’s weird because I feel like there is somewhat of a rhythm now but my general mood seems to be fluctuating. I found week 3 particularly difficult. Feeling a general sense of tiredness which is odd considering without the commute I am sleeping more.

Anyone else finding that? And I don’t know about you guys, but I seem to be working more?! Work has been much busier and it’s really a “all hands-on deck” type atmosphere which means I’m working on anything and everything to fill the gaps, keep the momentum and basically trying to make this new territory a normality.

Outside of work, we’re taking it a day at a time. One thing I have enjoyed throughout this time so far is the forced time to stop, regroup, reconnect and rest. If you can. I’ve had more meaningful conversations with my loved ones and we have been having regular video calls as a family – on both sides – which has been amazing. I’d highly recommend it! Its scheduled and intentional and means while we can’t foster our relationships in the physical we are able to do it virtually.

There’s lots more and I think as the weeks go and #CoronaGate evolves I’m sure there will be plenty pros and cons we individually find through this time. But whilst we are here, with no end date in site. Stay safe, stay healthy and make the most of the time to get to know yourself and reconnect with your loved ones. I’ve been learning a lot about myself, some things new and others reaffirmed. And a few some as a result or response to an emotion. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far, good, bad and funny! What have you learnt about yourself through this time?

When it comes to work…

  • 1. Having some sort of routine is super helpful. I luckily have a spare room that is a part study and bedroom if we have any guests. Actually, sitting down at the desk until 5pm has been really useful. Because, I get to switch off and swap rooms to make that split of downtime and worktime. And I make the effort to come away from the desk at lunchtime. I eat in the living room and my husband & I watched an episode of something on Netflix, catch up then I disappear again. 2. Being at home doesn’t mean you must work yourself to the bone. Some days have been harder than others and on those days, I’m learning to allow myself the break without feeling bad about it. I think working from home makes you feel like you should be available around the clock. But you know what, this season is new for us all. Extroverts and introverts are struggling all the same. So, if you feel like some type of way take a break. If it means you spend time with Netflix to get through the day so be it! If it means you start work at 9:30 instead of 9:00 then do that too. And importantly, you can still use your annual leave days. You cannot come n kill yourself. If this time has taught me anything at all – YOU are important. Your health, mental, physical is important.  3. Find the coping mechanisms that will help you to be more productive.

We had a trip to Bali planned in May which is now cancelled. I have gained 10 extra annual leave days, which I can now plan to use to give myself shorter working weeks here & there if I need them.

When it comes to my marriage…

  • Having the split of time is important. (I mentioned this in my previous post). It’s so easy to get wrapped into the idea of we must do EVERYTHING together because it’s just the two of us right now. But we’ve found working throughout the day in separate rooms and “reuniting” after 5pm is keeping us sane. In a normal scenario if we were going to work we’d be apart between 9am & 5pm anyway so we’ve maintained that. Some weekdays are quieter than others and on those we do spend more time together. Also, its taught me about our different working styles. I like working with music in the background or silence. My husband on the other hand, can have a show in the background or is happy to intermittently pause tv – type – have a meeting – continue and repeat. For me once the TV is on there is no pausing happening, and I quickly move from being sat up to feet up, blanket in hand and curled up on the sofa.

When it comes to the house…

  • I like the bed to made. Everyday. And I like to shower. Everyday. Seems silly but it’s true. It just makes me feel better even if I’m not going anywhere. This theory that the bed doesn’t need to be made, because we will get back into it, is completely mad to me. I’m making it. Throw pillows and all! If I decide to get back into the bed at midday that’s okay too but I’m less tempted to get back into bed if its nicely made up. Anyone else?
  • I like to keep the house clean. There is no chilling with a messy house. Even though its small things and we are in no rush… if something has a home – I’d like it to live there!
  • I’m more of an outdoor person than I thought. Like in normal times we are always out & about and barely spend wknds in our home but now that I have no choice, I have realised how much I like being outside. Cabin fever is very real. What I also learnt is that my husband is the opposite and is quite happy not leaving the house at all. Who would have known!

When it comes to everything else…

  • We are super family oriented and are lucky to have our parents and some of our siblings close by. I think I always knew this about myself, but I have found not seeing our family for this long has been hard. Especially when it comes to my nieces. With the rate of loss and fear surrounding this pandemic, it makes you realise how fortunate you are to have loved ones near or ones that you’re close with, but geography divides you. And goodness how short life is. All I want to do is spend time with my family, hug them a little tighter than I ever did. But we can’t do that. And right now, if anything happened to anyone you can’t travel to be with them. Making this time even harder. So, this has been the biggest lesson. I am very fortunate when it comes to my family and my relationships. Wish I knew that more confidently before all this happened.  
  • You can survive without a lot of the material things you’ve made a necessity in your life. We’ve been buying food in bulk and getting creative with our meals. And saving a lot of money in this period! Even the whole ‘retail therapy’ model is questionable. A part of me wants to shop online and treat myself then the other part is like “you aren’t going anywhere, and you don’t need it”. This lockdown has forced each and every one of us to cut down on so many things and I really hope that mindset stays with us for years to come.
  • Your plans and your schedules aren’t everything. We plan and plan and plan. Then boom life happens. Ultimately, we can’t control many things and time is not guaranteed to no man. So, how will you use your time in the future when all this is said and done?
  • It’s okay to use this time to be still. I’ve noticed there is a big focus on being productive, starting that business, making that move etc… And to be honest, when all this started I was in total agreement. But now, I am really appreciating the time as rest. A break and learning to be still. So many of us are constantly up & down, chasing this, chasing that but never stop. Invest your loved ones. Invest in you. Deal with those things you’ve been avoiding within yourself. And this is easier said than done because for some being in a lockdown makes some people more vulnerable to their mental health, but I truly pray that this time is beneficial to all of us in healing, peace and finding joy. Even in the small things.

The funny…

  • Playing PlayStation is harder than it looks: like I remember when I was little I was so jealous of kids who had a PS in their house. And I remember asking my Mum for one for years! Then when we moved to England she actually got me a PlayStation 1. At this point between the excitement of being in a new country and acclimatising I never played it. And the PS days ended there… so I thought. Fast forward to today’s world, my husband has a PS4 which is only useful to me as a way to get to SkyGo. But I thought to myself this stay at home period is the best time to “get back to gaming” so we got a second controller and a couple of new games. My time has arrived. Ha! There are just too many buttons to coordinate all at once. Between pressing R1 & L1 and watch the screen for direction I’ve temporarily given up. Let’s leave that there for now.
  • My excuse of not exercising because of tiredness from the commute, is valid. I’ve been consistent with exercising at the moment and I know that’s down to not having to commute. There’s more hours in the day to make sure I get a workout in. I’m just saying!
  • I’m not as hopeless with my hair as I thought! I am part of the natural hair club and I have never had a clue on how to braid, style my hair. But I made the mistake on not getting my hair braided before all this began & well let’s say its forced me to learn. I even managed to create some resemblance to cornrows/flat twists, a whole me?! If you know me, this is a big achievement but I am going to keep practising. So even being still and resting, I am trying new things. YouTube is heaven sent for that! Are there any new things
  • And a random one. I struggle to drink as much water as home than I do at work, anyone else? My water intake and general hydration is much less at home. So, trying to find a way to get water into the home routine. At work I have hot water & lemon first thing, have a litre bottle for water by my desk, drink it in full before lunch and in full before I finish work. At home it doesn’t seem to be working out. Random, right?! If anyone has tips on this, please send em my way!

Stay safe, stay healthy folks. We will get through this and I hope you come through on the other side more sure of yourself than ever before.

This is me. Messy edges. Unkept eyebrows. Natural. Learning & growing.

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