I’ll be blogging my way through the Coronavirus period, with a focus on the psychological impacts and how to keep yourself and the people you care about safe and mentally healthy.
Look after yourself peeps..
Dr Gareth Furber
I’m hearing murmurs that over the next couple of weeks we might see the start of things getting back to ‘normal’.
Now I don’t really expect things to ever truly get back to what they were pre-Coronavirus but I do expect that I will be back in the office at some point and my routine will start to resemble what it used to, versus what it is now.
A friend of mine recently said that they didn’t think I would struggle with the working from home (which I haven’t really) because the social distancing suits my personality. They thought I would have more trouble going back to normal.
I’ve begun to wonder if they might be right. At least partly.
The reason is not people. I miss my colleagues a lot and look forward to being back in their presence. There is something different to being in the presence of people that is very hard to mimic via teleconference.
But I will miss the routine that I have developed for myself whilst at home.
In the 5 or so weeks that I have been working from home, I have managed to build a routine and a workspace that really work for me. I have meditation and yoga in the mornings, walks to the supermarket, little pockets of time in the garden and simple food preparation routines. I’ve found a flow that I like.
So important are routine and habits that I made them the cornerstone of my suggestions to students on how to adapt to studying from home.
And I think I’ll be a little frustrated at giving up the ones I have developed.
To be clear, It wasn’t like I had a bad routine when I was working in the office. In fact, I had a routine that I liked. I caught the bus and read books. I occasionally rode my bike into work. I had lunchtime walks with colleagues. I made the same lunch for each day.
But I think I like my new routine better. I think it is more refined and personally meaningful.
The good thing is I have now been given insights into what might need to be added to my life in order to make me happier and more productive.
My guess is that you have too.
The changes you’ve had to make in order to adapt to studying online will either be resonating with you, neutral, or a source of frustration. Either way, you too now have insights into what is important to you.
- If you’ve enjoyed studying from home, then it might be that when things return to normal you need to prioritise focused time alone.
- If you’ve hated studying from home, then it might be that when things return to normal, you need to prioritise face-to-face attendance at lectures and tutorials.
- If you’ve really missed being able to see and interact with people, then make sure you prioritise people-time when returning to normal.
- If you haven’t really missed being around people, don’t feel guilty, just save the social energy you have for the most important people in your life.
Ask yourself ‘what has worked for me and not worked for me during the Coronavirus lockdown?‘ and use the answers to that question to help you shape and structure what your life will look like once it returns to some semblance of normal.
Change will often be uncomfortable, but it will teach you lessons about yourself that you can apply to building a better life.