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Life in the Time of Covid

These are crazy times.  Even though we saw the research and graphs predicting what was to come, it was hard to imagine just a few weeks ago where we would find ourselves today – we’ve had to reinvent significant parts of our personal and professional lives. As a parent, as a small business owner, and frankly as someone who is not a huge fan of working from home myself, I’ve had to flex. 

I’m as prepared as I can be, and I am also worried about friends and relatives. How to manage all these new challenges and try to make the most of this unusual moment? Here are a few of my strategies.

My morning routine

We don’t know how long we are going to be here, but it’s going to be at least a few more weeks, and maybe longer.  I’ve set up a new routine for myself. I get up and roll into yoga pants. A special pair that’s just for my morning routine (because let’s be serious, one of the positives of this is that we can wear yoga pants all day every day!) I’ve been meaning to get back into a morning practice and now is the time. 

I do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) working – mine is the “7” app. Then I do some yoga. I like Yoga with Adriene – but I usually just do 15-20 minutes.  If I’m feeling it, I turn on the Calm app, and I do their daily meditation.  So in half an hour I’ve done something to ensure a good start, and to be sure that I’m not only sitting in front of the computer.  Morning exercise: whatever else happens during the day you got one worthwhile thing done! After that, I take a shower and put on make-up and clothes so that I feel like I’m having a real workday.  

Supporting My Son

I then get my son set up for his day.  He gets to sleep a bit later now, but his school kicks off at 8.35am with a virtual assembly and we make sure he’s up and dressed and ready to go for that.  I check in on him frequently, and we’ve agreed to some ground rules. No video games until after 3.30pm. We’re working on getting a family jog or morning walk going so that we all get out of the house responsibly at some point.  It’s tough on teens that can’t see their friends and are stuck at home with their parents. We’re trying to help him get some social time in but also give him some structure. Last week he spent some time seeing what my husband does at work, a kind of virtual work experience, shadowing some of his day.

Supporting My Employees

I have 17 staff and now we are all working from home.  Everyone gives a quick hello when they sign into Slack in the morning and at 9 am we have a daily stand up.  We get on Google Hangout for a quick chat, and everyone has a chance to quickly say what they’re up to and what help they need. 

We set up a hangout at lunchtime for anyone who wants to have that virtual lunch table experience. Most of the team works on Trello so we can check-in and see what people are working on and everyone gives an update to their line manager at the end of the day.  We want people to feel connected, productive, and we also want to be sure that we are aware if anyone is feeling unwell (or getting better) or just feeling the strain. And with all the changes to our business, we have more work than ever. It’s a chance to really get creative and think differently. So far so good.

Checking in with friends and family

Checking in with friends and family.  Now that we are not so busy running around town, commuting, etc. we’ve got more time and motivation to spend some quality time with friends and family.  As my family is in the States, that means setting up some virtual dinner parties with Zoom. We’ve done this for a while for holidays and it can be quite fun and we try to get the younger kids to serenade us with their clarinets or show us a favourite card trick.  I’m calling my parents and checking that they are keeping up with the latest advice. I’m setting up online get-togethers with friends that I haven’t seen lately because of time and distance. I’m active on WhatsApp groups to support elderly neighbours and others who may need a hand or a pack of pasta.

Making space for my own interests

These are the things that are getting me through my days, and helping me feel that even in the midst of all this uncertainty, we can look after ourselves and each other, and not just be whiplashed by bad news. 

I’m limiting the amount of news I read about the virus during the day – just catching up on it all once a day in the evening so it’s not a constant drumbeat. I’m even hopeful that I’ll get some of those books on my kindle read, and some of my sewing projects completed, but that may be being over-optimistic.

I’m grateful that so far we’ve got our health, grateful to our health services that have so many challenges today and tomorrow.  Trying to make the best of this new normal gives me a little bit of psychological control, it helps me not to focus on the scary stuff, and hopefully it serves those around me.