When I began working from home way back in the middle of March it seemed unbelievable that I wouldn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to be on the 7:42am train into London, fighting for space with the other sardines. My husband Neil started working from home on the same day and all of a sudden we had an extra three hours of our day back. Our lives were utterly transformed by this and it gave us the extra head space we needed to cope and time to catch up with ourselves.
We determined at the outset to make the most of this precious extra time. We knew that if we didn’t, it would be too easy to allow work to seep in to our newly acquired free time, or to become complacent about it if we didn’t fill it with good stuff. We began running daily and Neil started to learn Mandarin, which he is still doing! It was so lovely to have time to watch the birds in the morning and with the lovely spring weather, being locked down didn’t seem so bad!
As time has gone on, the daily onslaught of terrible news and inevitable social media frenzy has taken its toll. I have had to separate myself from it a bit and there was definitely a bit of a dip in healthy activities with a coincidental increase in the number of empties we were throwing into the recycling bin! I decided to self-isolate for a couple of weeks so that I could visit my mum without fear of passing on the virus. Seeing her was a definite turning point – I hadn’t realised quite how much worrying about her was affecting my well-being, as she is elderly and vulnerable.
Right at the start, two WhatsApp groups had been set up by friends to make sure that no one felt isolated and to bring a bit of humour to this new and scary situation, and a Saturday night Zoom pub quiz became an invaluable source of contact with the outside world with a healthy dose of silliness and fun. In recent weeks our local lakes have reopened for open water swimming – it’s a great feeling to be back in the water and to see other people enjoying it too!
Leading the Russell-Cooke Running Club has been a bit harder to do remotely so I thought it would be a good idea to stick to our Thursday run and I set up a group on Strava. I have been sending regular emails to the club to help us all stay in touch and keep motivated. It has evolved into something new and fun and has been a great way to communicate with my colleagues in the absence of our weekly runs. We are still hoping that the Kingston half marathon will go ahead as quite a few people have signed up for it.
Now that lockdown restrictions are easing, we are seeing more people and things are gradually kind of returning to normal. I must admit, I miss the peace and quiet of total lockdown – the lack of traffic (road and air) and the sweet smelling fresh air. I count myself lucky to have experienced what it’s like when everyone just ‘stopped’ and I’m really hoping that the global deep breath has made us all have a bit of a rethink about what is really valuable in our lives.