Now, I realise that I have been fortunate not to have been directly affected by COVID-19 in this past six months. My family and friends have been lucky too. Especially given so many of us are in the hotspot of Leicester. I haven’t had to self-isolate or quarantine or shield. But people around me have. It has been hard on them. The effects for me have been how life and work have been curtailed and how it feels, and I am reflecting on what it says about me.
Its been 10 days since I have blogged. And I think the recent dearth of blogging has a lot to do with the sameness of life. Things have settled into small routines and not a lot of new in my life. I am fearful of what happens next – a full lockdown or the need to self-isolate and where that takes us all. In Leicester, the extended lockdown and the enforced separation from other households has been difficult. It has created tension and frustration as we all do our best to follow the often-uninterpretable rules.
The working week has settled into a rhythm. Gone is the travel to London and back and elsewhere. There are no more face-to-face meetings. No clients arriving for meetings at the office. No events, receptions, or training to deliver. Instead, my place of work is the office a 10-minute walk from home. My location is my desk – five days a week. It was typically once or twice – if that. And interaction is online in zoom and teams, seminars, training and meetings. Thank goodness two colleagues are able to come in and we can work at a safe distance from one another.
Evenings are spent almost exclusively at home without visitors. Weekends tread the familiar path of exercise, shopping and cooking. It is these changes to personal and professional habits that are a real challenge. There’s no more theatre, cinema, cafés, or pleasurable meandering shopping. Instead, its boxsets and TV, eating and drinking at home, and purposeful mask-wearing shopping. I do feel like a ninja in the supermarket. Masked up and focused on my smash and grab buying. Not much to complain about then I hear you say. I agree.
But it interesting what it does to one’s mood and how motivation ebbs and flows and impacts on mental health. Where is all that emotional benefit from the activities of the previous way of life? It is funny how being busy or at least moving around a lot filled the day before. It can give a sense of purpose – whether that be real of false. Perhaps it is a distraction. But I miss it.
I have found writing a great comfort and occupation over the past six months – blogs, work projects, and even two books on the go. But that has waned for the time being. Creativity has diverted towards hedgerow harvesting and preserving. The many jars of sloe gin and plum chutney amongst other things are a testament to that. What happens next is anyone’s guess. The prospect of a further six months is something to tackle head on and learn from.