Here in Scotland, we have been in ‘lockdown’ since 23rd March. At the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wrote a blog post talking about how to survive, and thrive, during one of the trickiest times many of us have (and may ever) face. As we start to tentatively ease restrictions, businesses reopen and a sense of our ‘new’ normal returns, I thought I would share some thoughts on what’s changed during this time, and things I’d like to keep up once normal life resumes.
Flexible working and working from home to adapt to new commitments are now the new norm for many of us. As we juggle childcare, caring for relatives or ensuring a self-isolating neighbour has her prescription and weekly shop, flexibility around working hours became inevitable. Flexible working is nothing new, and many enjoy the benefits it brings. For some business and employees, however, it was an alien concept until there was no other option. Overnight, we have had to rely on video calls for our usual coffee catch-ups and meetings. Without the daily stress of commutes and busy family life, perhaps working flexibly from home is here to stay, certainly in some capacity. Do we need to be in the office every day, or could one or two days from home be beneficial, mentally and professionally? I have certainly enjoyed returning to the office for a day or two, but also find working from home hugely productive when a project needs focus. I think a mix of the two can be beneficial for employer and employee.
Zoom – the video conferencing platform we had never heard of until lockdown – has been a lifesaver for many of us during this time. Conference calls are not just for the workplace, and for many of us virtual quiz nights, family get-togethers and virtual parties have become the norm on a Saturday night. Many of us are speaking to friends and family more than usual because we have had so much more time that usual. This is certainly a change for the better, and something I want to make sure to keep going when we return to our ‘new normal.’
A New Routine – to Stay Fit & Healthy
Has anyone else found it a challenge trying to stay away from the snack cupboard while working from home? As a regular runner and gym goer, but also a major chocoholic, I was aware that my usual routine was going to have to change, and I would need to make some adjustments to it, to make sure I stayed fit and healthy during this time. Exercise is my number one go to for stress busting and keeping my mental health in good shape, but with gyms shut for the foreseeable, home workouts have become the norm. Previously I would have happily picked the gym over a home workout, but with no other choice, YouTube has been my new best friend for yoga sessions and Metafit classes. I’m looking forward to getting back to the gym, but I plan to keep the home workouts going too. As well as exercise, I have enjoyed more time to experiment in the kitchen at home and tried out lots of healthy recipes during this time to keep my physical and mental health well.
Creating our New Normal
I can’t wait for some aspect of life to return to normal, and to get back to everything I took for granted pre-pandemic. Seeing friends and family, holidays, eating out, and everything else, will be so much lovelier now. However, I think some good has come out of this time, and maybe some aspects of our lives in lockdown will stay.