How are you? 💜

May 22nd 2020

Hey, I wanted to check in.

It has been over two months since the whole world went on lockdown and began the fight against the coronavirus.

These past two months have been a bit of blur to be honest, but I’ve tried my best to remember what day of the week it is. Yeah, I’m proud of that.

I think I only really succeeded with that because I’m working from home and keep track of what I’m doing when it comes to my five workouts a week. Without the tiny bit of a structure I was clinging onto, I wouldn’t have remembered the days, weeks or months pass otherwise.

Trees and the summer sky!
Trees and the summer sky!

I haven’t really written a “coronavirus focused” post since this whole thing started so I wanted to take some time today just to go through some of my thoughts. Apologises, if they’re all over the place — it is reflective of how I’m actually feeling most of the time: all over the place.


🏡 Working from Home

I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to still work from home. It’s a privilege to be able to work from home, still earn money in the midst of all of this. Not everyone has the luxury to.

The first few weeks were what I like to call the “adjustment” period. Yep, it took a few weeks for me to really get into the swing of things. I had the opportunity to work from home before coronavirus, but I did so every month or every two weeks…NEVER everyday.

WFH set-up
WFH set-up

I thought that I would be absolutely fine as the team that I’m in is actually quite remote anyway, but I found myself actually missing the office environment. I missed having lunch with my colleagues, chatting in the kitchen, going out to grab coffee and problem solving in person.

Video calls and check-ins with my colleagues helped me massively at the start — I looked forward to meetings! But then I found that there were too many meetings filling up my diary and began to fatigue from video calls fast.

Since the end of April, I feel like I’ve adjusted well to the working from home lifestyle. In fact, I think I could do it more often when things “go back to normal” I’ve become hyperfocused when I needed to be (and got work done!), found a healthier balance with taking breaks and setting boundaries and improved my approach towards meetings (before I set one up — I like to really ask myself, “is this really needed?)

Matt and I have found ways to take calls at the same time in our tiny flat. That is — we’ve turned our bedroom into a second office where Matt prefers to work in.

I’m grateful to also work for a company where there are plenty of support for us to each out during this crisis. A colleague reminded me to be kinder to myself and take it easy, because we’re working not just working from home but working during a pandemic which is a totally different ball game.

💪🏼 Exercising at Home

Out of everything, working out at home wasn’t much of a big deal to me. I began my health journey in 2016 purely doing body weight exercises with an occasional gym session as I was trying to get over feeling intimidated at the gym.

Working out at home
Working out at home

So transitioning to home workouts was actually alright! Don’t get me wrong though — I do miss the gym. Get me on a squat rack or deadlift platform, please! ☹️ But I have to say, I’m enjoying the switch up in my workout routine and have more muscle soreness than ever.

Sometimes something new is what we need.

🏃🏻‍♀️ Social Distancing

Attending meet-ups and large scale events became a hobby to me since starting tech.

Connecting with others and meeting new people really energises me. But with the social distancing rules, all meet-ups have taken a digital format. It’s been nice to actually join in meet-ups I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise because of travel, but at the same time I do miss these events and giving people a hug. 😅

WiTNotts meet-up!
WiTNotts virtual meet-up!

Coronavirus has made me more anxious when I do go outside for food or a daily exercise. Seeing other people nearby makes me want to go the other way (even if it’s inconvenient.) I’m sure I’m not the only one that has experienced this same anxiety. Thinking into the future, I can imagine meet-ups, events, stores, restaurants will look very different to what they were before.

💖 Relationships

I’ve felt closer to friends, especially those who I don’t necessarily get to see in person all the time. It’s been nice to make plans to catch-up (over the phone) and actually going through with it.

I’ve felt closer to Matt. I think that we became more accustomed to each other’s presence. At first, I wasn’t sure if staying with Matt during isolation was a good idea. We already live together, but I wasn’t sure if our relationship could handle stressed versions of ourselves at work or being together literally 24/7. I’m glad that I did though — it reminded me that we truly are a team no matter what!

Matt and I doing our usual yoga pose we do when we travel 😂
Matt and I doing our usual yoga pose we do when we travel 😂

In addition to feeling closer to people, I also became more aware about giving others space. It turns out that this stressful situation can be a reminder as to why you’re emotionally disconnected with others in the first place. Coronavirus has already impacted us negatively, additional emotional burden isn’t good for anyone.

👩🏻‍🍳 Lifestyle changes

We’re cooking and baking more than ever. Making the most of what we have already in the kitchen has helped us reduce food waste and actually eat up everything in our pantry before buying more. I’m pretty chuffed about it! 😊

I’m not going to lie though… cooking all week is absolutely exhausting 😂 Matt and I try and support Deliveroo, UberEats and take-away restaurants when we can still. This helps break up all the cooking!

I also can’t stop cleaning. 🧼

😷
😷

💔 Cancelling plans

2019 was the year of travel, 2020 was supposed to rival it but I don’t think that is happening anytime soon.

Matt and I cancelled a weekend trip to a seaside village here in the UK as coronavirus began to really kick off.

A shot of Matt during our Greece trip last summer
A shot of Matt during our Greece trip last summer

Despite this however, we kept our hopes high for our highly anticipated trip to Greece in May where we were going to meet Georgie and Nick. We’re in May now, and I’m sadly not running around a beach pretending to be Moana.

I’m obviously very sad about cancelling plans, and I have cried over this a few times already. But I’ve decided to flip my way of thinking with travel — yep, it sucks that we can’t go anywhere but when we hit the road again, it’d be the most epic adventure!

Running around Naxos town
Running around Naxos town

😕 Racism

I’ve been seeing more racism towards Asians especially online but also in person. There have been videos and articles of Asians in the US being attacked by racists. It’s so scary to see. Coronavirus is not an “Asian disease” — I hope that you all know that. It’s dangerous to label it as such!

On my way to the post office a few weeks ago, I heard someone yelling “go back to your country, chinky!” I looked around and to my horror, they were looking right at me. This old man continued to swear at me from across the street as I hurried my pace.

I’ve experienced racism in several forms throughout my life, but for the first time, I genuinely felt scared. I don’t know if the guy was just randomly being racist or if it was coronavirus-triggered.

Luckily, I got home fine but it made me think about people who experienced more than verbal abuse.

💰 Money

Listening to the news everyday stressed me out so much. I knew it wasn’t doing me any good at the start, but I continued anyway. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Unlike everyone in their first month in lockdown who were saving money, I went a little crazy and did some major retail therapy. Looking back, it was definitely one of my more serious episodes of retail therapy but I don’t regret it much… I invested in our little home office (including a standing desk that I’ve always wanted!) After all, being comfortable at home to really do your best work is pretty important!

I also went a bit overboard with new workout gear. This was mostly because I was procrastinating with replacing my old gear that were already uncomfortable on me for months 😂 But hey, global crisis — let’s do that now!!! Again, no regrets because now I have comfortable workout gear that actually fit me well and compliment my “larger” body. I managed to sell some of my old gear too, so it’s a win-win situation I like to think. 🤪

Now that I’ve become more accustomed to our new way of living for now, and I got all the retail therapy out of my system, I’m saving money more than ever. This month I’ve actually accidentally joined in a no-buy (apart from groceries) month. Woo!

✨ The future

We’re all making speculations of when we’ll get out of this, but the truth is, nobody really has any idea.

I know that when we are on the other side, our world will look completely different.

I predict working remotely as a default in jobs that are able to do it (we’ve already seen Twitter take the lead on this), social distancing will be ingrained into our society more than ever (only x amount of customers in a shop at a time? Plastic protection for those who serve customers like the way banks are set up?), travel will have more restrictions (this one is the one I’m most interested in moving forward.)

Whatever our future holds, at the centre of it all will be the understanding of what is truly essential to us as human beings.

During one of our social distancing walks around Leeds
During one of our social distancing walks around Leeds

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope that you’re doing OK and staying safe.

One of my favourite sayings during this time has been, “We’re all in this together.” As a long-term, hardcore High School Musical fan, this will naturally always make me smile. But I also find a sense of comfort from the words…because it’s true.

We’re all facing the same thing, probably experiencing varying degrees of similar emotions but through it all, we’ll get through this together. 💜

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