Tag Archives: Happy New Year

SELF CARE IN A PANDEMIC (46): NEW YEAR’S Day…REFLECTIONS ON THE YEAR GONE BY – PART 2…

Happy New Year, friends. Welcome to 2021. How does it feel reading that? Perhaps it’s a sentence or phrase that will bring forth mixed thoughts and emotions.

By way of a reminder, I had been writing a recap of the year gone by and seeking to glean some lessons learned. Here’s Part 1 of this post: Self Care In A Pandemic (45): New YEAR’S Eve…Reflections on The Year Gone By – Part 1… ‹ Life as it happens to be ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

I stopped at the point when the United Kingdom went into a full lockdown on 23rd March 2020.

It was a drastic situation that caused for drastic measures and decisive action. I’m not sure that we saw decisive action from the government throughout the pandemic, unfortunately, but I did find myself feeling more grateful for living North of the border in Scotland where Nicola Sturgeon seemed to tighten restrictions more and quicker than in England. That said, perhaps we should have gone into lockdown a lot sooner with what we were seeing in and learning from other countries not too far from home, such as Italy and France. Even with hindsight, the decisions being made were challenging and difficult for all concerned.

The drastic measure of lockdown meant that there was an inevitable but unplanned for knock-on-effect on other important issues. For example, people who suffered from domestic abuse were in fact trapped within their own homes, non-covid related operations and hospital visits had to to be postponed, rescheduled and deprioritised because of the huge pressure upon our health service as numbers of cases rose.

I kept a notebook, a ‘quarantine journal’ as it were to make sure I wasn’t succumbing to the negativity all around me and seeking to see progress in my own life and learn lessons along the way. It’s a keepsake journal that I am still working on, but one of the pages I included is titled “Vocabulary of a ‘new normal'”.

Vocabulary of a ‘new normal’:

It’s interesting looking back on things that were new concepts to our daily lives that have now become common place, everyday things that we hardly think about as much.

When we went into lockdown in the UK, I was in my own flat / apartment where I live alone. I went through the first stint of the lockdown on my own with no human contact (IRL – In Real Life) for around a total of 6 months (give or take a couple of occasions where I was able to visit my family after the easing of Lockdown 1.0 in July, and a socially distanced meet up with friends, or seeing a delivery person or concierge).

I learned a lot during that time, and I see that time as precious in terms of the healing that I was able to focus on for past issues, the reprioritisation and insight I gained into friendships and the lack of awareness and understanding people had of someone in my situation living alone in a pandemic, and the value of daily conversations with my family over the phone.

However, I digress. 2020 brought with it a vocabulary of a ‘new normal’ and some of the key terms that came to the fore during that time that I noted down were as follows:

-Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.

Essential Items.

-Daily Walk / One form of exercise only once a day.

Shielding

Virtual Meetings / Zoom / Teams

Furlough / Extension Period

Air Hugs

Covid-19 / Coronavirus / Novel Coronavirus

Covidiot / Covid warrior

Shop your wardrobe

Toilet roll hoarding

Daily briefings

Hand sanitizer / disinfectant / PPE

WFH (Work From Home) / Home Schooling

Super Spreader

-Antibodies Test / Asymptomatic / Incubation Period (14 days).

Honestly, the list goes on…..and on….over two pages. I think I drew a metaphorical line under it because of how much I could have kept on listing.

But you get the picture; things that were not part of our everyday lives – such as facemasks – have now become part and parcel of ‘normality’ as we’ve moved through this pandemic and continue to do so.

I have to say that my favourite new term has probably got to be ‘Clap For Carers’. Do you remember when we used to clap for our health care workers, our delivery drivers, supermarket people, and frontline staff at the height of the first wave (first wave, there’s another term!). Perhaps in some countries you still do.

We’ve seen so many heroes throughout this rough year, and I am so grateful for each and every one of them, and perhaps some of you reading this are among those heroes. We’ve also seen people in all different walks of live reaching out to help communities.

Community Blessings and Struggles:

As mentioned, our communities have at times come together for the greater good. We’ve seen the NHS staff and other health care workers in other countries going above and beyond to help save lives. We’ve seen people helping out with food bank initiatives, charities, reaching out to lonely people, checking in on their neighbours. I’m personally grateful to have had the chance to do a bit of research work with my job around public health and safety at work for reintroducing services and also to be a ‘shielding helpline volunteer’ to help get essentials to residents who are vulnerable because of underlying health conditions. I’ve been grateful to be able to use my writing to encourage other people far and wide as well throughout this year, even if these efforts are a small offering amid much greater sacrifices of others. There is value in all of us playing our part and doing our bit.

However, we’ve also seen tensions and unrest in our communities, from the racial issues coming to the fore of mainstream society (things that minority people like me have had to deal with and suffer through in some form or another throughout our lives) and we’ve seen brief ‘moments in time’ of awareness, activism and insight that should have been there decades ago. We’ve seen tensions in our local communities and have watched divisions in America or perhaps some of you have been living through those, with the recent presidential elections. There have been a whole host of other issues in individual countries, communities and even families and yet we’ve made it through somehow, some with losses and pain along the way, and others with less of a struggle or even opportunity for growth.

Lessons:

There have been so many opportunities for lessons this past year of 2020. Now that we are in the first day of 2021, perhaps we have renewed momentum as we collectively face and embark upon a ‘new year’. Perhaps we have gained greater insight into ourselves, our own lives, our priorities and purpose, or perhaps some have barely made it through and have struggled. Either way, the pandemic isn’t over just because we’ve reached a new year, and there is still work to be done, responsibility to be taken and lessons to be learned.

I’m hopeful for the future, but I also think we need to live diligently day by day.

I’d like to take these reflections to a next stage with my subsequent posts as we move from global and local to individual and as we together see how we can reflect upon the lessons we individually have learned and how to move forwards with hope and strength into 2021.

I am considering sharing some guided reflections and journal prompts and ideas for goal setting, so stay with me as we forge ahead, stronger and more courageous as we embark upon these new days together.

Blessings, Peace, and Happy New Year to all. x

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

1st Working Day of 2020, people! :)

Well, I’ve made it to lunchtime! And I am so glad that I decided to come back to work today, with it being a Friday. A one day working week is the perfect way to ease back into things, and although there are a few people in, it feels like one of the quietest days at work I’ve seen….definitely the quietest day of the year and of the decade so far! 😉

I think the build up and anticipation and taking the first steps into a routine after the holiday season are usually the hardest part of the whole process of going back to work, and once that’s out of the way, everything else seems more ‘doable’ and manageable.

I struggled through the night with this cough, sore throat and cold, but other than a brief ‘coughing fit’ on the train here this morning, I have had quite a pleasant start back to work, especially as things are so quiet. Quiet not just at work, but the streets and train were also void of the usual hustle and bustle of working commuters. Lovely! 🙂

I expect that this will be quite a different scene come Monday, with those who took the extra day off coming in all at once, which is why I and the others who have come in today will be appreciating this much gentler start to the new working year.  With it being so quiet, people have pretty much just kept to themselves, and I’ve had a couple of chats to colleagues who I hadn’t seen in a while, but a quiet day allows everyone to get the tiredness, grumpiness and adjustments out of the way with as little fuss as possible, to have an easy start as we go through our inboxes, remind ourselves of our tasks and begin preparing for the next full week ahead, without all the ‘new year’ madness that will likely ensue when there will be far more people in, most likely grumbling about being back at work.

I’m pleased to say that I remembered my password, and that my ‘Welcome back’ email from my 2019 self was extremely helpful, and will probably be even more so next week when I really get into work as I have given myself detailed instructions as to what I’ll be taking forward. I can’t recommend this highly enough; ok, so maybe you don’t have to write to yourself in a ‘Back to the Future’ kind of way, but at least leave yourself helpful notes and instructions as you will inevitably have forgotten the minute details of what you were doing pre-holiday season.

A one day week really does feel like a nice ‘stretch and a warm up’ before the real exercise begins. I don’t envy people who will be starting back on the Monday with the stretch of a whole week ahead and little quiet time to properly adjust. I’d much rather have this gentler start than the extra day at home.

However, on the bright side, for anyone who is starting back to work on Monday, at least you’re ‘in the same boat’ as almost everyone else, and you’ll all be experiencing similar feelings, and so you’ll all be going through the post holiday adjustment at the same time, which may bring about a sense of camaraderie.

This morning I remembered a day years ago when I was sick the day before a job interview (for a job I didn’t get, and probably wouldn’t have been happy in anyway), and it gave me a sense of gratitude and relief that I have a job I enjoy, that I feel settled in, and that gives me a sense of stability in my life. I’m glad to be far from those days post-graduation of job-hunting, interviews, and doing volunteer work and temping in ‘dead end’ unfulfilling jobs to tide me over, while not knowing where I would end up.

It is a good perspective to have to be grateful for the jobs we have when facing those ‘first day back nerves’, or if we feel negative about leaving the holidays behind – because, really many of us are very blessed in having regular employment with fair working conditions and I am thankful for that as I begin a new working year.

Coming back to work also reminds me that there are a lot of ‘niggly’ things that we face on a day to day basis that we need to be careful to keep in perspective and not let them spoil our attitude.

For example, our department pre-Christmas released an organisational structure with everyone’s job titles and grades on it, and of course with me being on holiday today is the first chance for me to see it. Often in my team, because I work well and efficiently, I am given a lot of work to do, and sometimes I am given responsibility to take over work from other colleagues who may have let things slip, and have completed pieces of work for other managers because I am industrious, efficient and work to a high standard. However, the new structure clearly reveals that even though I am often doing more work or being asked to pick up other colleagues work, I am being paid less that those team members. There is a organisational-wide review happening, however, the point I am trying to make is that back at work we may be faced with issues that we had forgotten about, not had to deal with, or been able to take a break from while on holiday.

These issues may not necessarily be to do with working more and to a higher standard while being paid less than colleagues, they may be to do with other things such as team dynamics, communication with managers or staff, who controls the temperature on the heating / air conditioning / thermostat, or whether there is enough space for your lunch in the fridge! It could be anything, and my point is that we need to be careful not to let either these significant or smaller issues take away our peace of mind, or nudge us into having a negative perspective.

It is important to take a step back, take in a deep breath, and remind ourselves that we are more than our work, we are more than what we do or don’t do when we rest, and we can’t live our best lives in 2020 if we allow ourselves to fall into the comparison trap.

I’m reminded of how Jesus said to Peter, ‘what is it to you?’ when he was concerned with John’s situation in comparison with his, as they talked and ate after Christ’s resurrection. And it is good to remind myself that I am working for The LORD and not for man, and that humility and gratitude is a good starting point for continuing on this walk with Him, knowing that He will grant wisdom in every circumstance that I will face.

So no matter what you believe, remember that you will be stepping into an environment where your inner responses will be challenged. Be mindful of this and gird yourself with the determination to walk through 2020 with gratitude, grace, dignity, respect, diligence, positivity, good humour and excellence.

As they say, “don’t sweat the small stuff”.

So go out there, and make a difference for the better, and remember just to take it one step at a time! 🙂 x

person doing thumbs up
Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

 

From the Old Things to the New…& Out of Hibernation….

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Happy New Year Dear Friends,

I apologise for the hiatus in blogging, and have come out of my blogging hibernation to wish you all the very best of life’s lessons and blessings in 2018. I haven’t been in hibernation completely, as the wintery / festive season is quite a special time for me, and after some difficult years I have had a more peaceful and cosy season, and have been busy living life.

It’s a funny time of the year, isn’t it? I am a planner, and tend to set goals throughout the year rather than have new year’s resolutions as such, but I do love the time of more intentional reflection that this time of the year can bring, and feeling that other people are also reflecting upon their own lives, and seeing opportunities in which we might learn together.

And yet, this can also be a time of undue pressure and self and other imposed expectations to somehow transform our lives, set goals, meet goals and make big changes. So, instead of posting along those lines, I just want to offer you a big New Year hug, knowing that we all have our ups and downs, good days and bad, times where we feel motivated, and others where we just want to squirrel away into a little ball and hibernate a bit longer.

So here’s a hug. I hope that you will have someone else to hug this week. And that you take the time to just pause, reflect, and simply ‘be’ knowing that you are unique and awesome as you have been made, regardless of whether you hit those targets or not.

And while you take a deep breath, with all the lessons you have learned from the year gone by, and looking forward into the unknown of 2018, don’t forget to have some ‘down time’ to relax, rest and be thankful, and take time to heal if need be – afterall, it is the season to by COSY.

Much love.

xx