Last week saw the first proper milestone in our return to life pre-pandemic, hairdressers, pub gardens, gyms and non-essential shops reopened. After a long period of closure, there was an expectation that we would be dashing back, clutching fists full of saved pounds ready to spend, spend, spend. And looking at the news so far, that is exactly what seems to be happening. Hundreds of people are queuing to get into shops, sink their first pint and work out. But me, well I still haven’t ventured out.
I have been working from home since March 2020 and during the first lockdown, I queued outside the supermarket with everyone else, but once the new variants started appearing I switched to online shopping and my once-a-week trips out became limited to dropping off said shopping to elderly relatives and neighbours and conversations were curtailed, as the weather grew colder, to few words exchanged on doorsteps and through porch windows.
It’s odd as most people who know me would describe me as an extrovert, outgoing, you know the type, the person who strikes up a conversation in a lift. I’m sure most, would have placed a considerable wager on me having secured a table at my local watering hole well in advance of the 12th deadline. But after a year of not going anywhere I’m in no hurry to venture out and re-join society. I don’t really know why I just know that I’m in no rush to ‘get back out there’.
Slowly as the world returns to a ‘new normal’, and don’t get me wrong I am eternally grateful that it is, I’m not ready to fully re-join it. I’m not ready for my life to be as hectic or chaotic as it was before. I didn’t realise it, but I raced through life ticking things off my endless to do list, I never just sat. I used to feel stressed when I wasn’t doing anything, I felt I was wasting my time. As a busy working mum, there always seemed so much to do. And I’m not just talking about the mountain of ironing that just never seemed to reduce, even my leisure time was scheduled, telephone this person, meet that person, an hour allocated to visit the gym, drop of daughter one, collect daughter 2. When a new TV show was released, I would look how many episodes there were likely to be and judge whether I could commit that amount of time – hence I have never seen Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos or indeed any of the so called ‘water cooler’ TV programmes.
So as Boris slowly increases our freedoms, I will be taking my time. At the first possible opportunity I will be hugging my friends and family, particularly the newest edition, born right in the middle of lockdown but beyond that, I’m in no rush. I am going to fill my time with the things I like, stop making tasks lists in my head, and beating myself up when I don’t complete them. There has after all been no dire consequence to me not ironing bed sheets and T shirts. So, I’m going to use the pandemic to reboot me, to be more mindful and present, to enjoy the moment rather than having one eye on what’s next and who knows I may never iron again!
If you would like help to ‘reboot’, whether that’s supporting your teams in stopping smoking, losing weight, or getting more active Health Workplaces can help