two children look out of a window

What challenge does this story focus on?

unprecedented circumstances that I could never have foreseen and which dramatically impacted my day-to-day living

How has this challenge affected you?

I learned that however catastrophic things may seem (and this was a big one, it affected the whole world) there is always an ending and there is always a future.

What has or is helping you to move forward with this challenge?

Now, passage of time and reflection has been helpful to allow me to process my experiences.

At the time, I found it helpful that I was able to be with my family rather than being unable to see them because of covid restrictions.

The very fact of having children who needed taking care of and a degree of normality kept a routine going for me and routine is something I find essential for maintaining my mental health.

I found the contact I had with the outside world was priceless in giving me a sense of normality.  As a non-key worker and having shut myself off a bit as a coping mechanism, now that I reflect I realise that the contact I had with my son’s teachers was probably as encouraging to me as it was to my son.  When we were home schooling, we completed the daily tasks over google classroom and it was uplifting to get interaction and feedback.

What have you learnt as a result of this challenge?

As I said before, I’ve learnt that this too shall pass! I realise that time spent with my family is really important and that slowing down doesn’t mean missing out.  I already recognised how important my friends were to me but I now realise how important the general day-do-day interactions of life are and I remember to be thankful for those and to value the positive impact that people have on me just by being who they are and doing what they do.

We had sold our house just before we went in to lockdown.  Moving house is a big thing under normal circumstances but in a pandemic it is even less certain.  Prior to lockdown I think I would have been far more emotional as we went through the ups and downs but I feel proud of myself because I took it all in my stride as I felt it was more important to keep myself on a level for the duration of the pandemic than to get stressed about what I couldn’t control.

How do you use this learning in your life now?

Lots of ways.  As I wrote earlier, I have realised the valuable contribution that others make to my life just be being who they are and doing what they do.  This has also had a positive effect on my own self-esteem as I try now to work on the assumption that I could be making a positive impact on other people without even knowing it, so I try to put my whole self into everything I do.  I’m aware of how little control I have over some things and so I’ve given up trying to control them and predict them and instead I act more in the moment and believe that the learning I get from that moment will be useful/valuable for future moments. All of that said, and with gratitude for the learning, I definitely wouldn’t want to go through a lockdown again.

What positive message would you like the reader to go away with?

To live in the moment, value relationships as well as the structures that support and improve your day-to-day life.  That other people’s contributions make a difference, therefore my contributions make a difference so now rather than worrying about whether I’m good enough, or embarrass myself or think someone else might get on and do it (better) instead, I put my whole self in to what I do which has given me more opportunities, experiences and fulfillment.

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