So... What Now?

When the Covid-19 restrictions first rolled through and most workplaces were implementing working from home, one of my friends took it pretty hard. Let's call her Jess. Jess worked in an office that was busy and full of life. She was one of those people who is a social butterfly, the kind of person who usually says hi to everyone and isn't afraid to stop you in the corridor and ask where you bought your lunch because it looks good and she wants one too. So when she was told she would be moving from the bustle of the office life to working from home, she felt pretty underwhelmed with the whole experience.

It's just not the same, she told me openly. She hesitantly admitted that although yes she was getting a lot of work done, she was just so incredibly bored. Another one of my friends, let's call her Tash, worked in retail which meant the entire store shut down into further notice. This meant that Tash was completely out of work. She was devastated. For her, it wasn't just about the money, it was also the sense of purpose and routine.

Fast forward several weeks forward when the restrictions had started to ease and I caught up with Jess over she informed me that she was planning on returning to the office soon. I had expected her to say this with great enthusiasm but she seemed almost upset about it. When I explored this further with her she sighed heavily and shrugged. I guess I kind of just got used to it you know, she told me. I had so much more time to spend with kids without all the travel involved, she went on to say. Besides, working from home had given her the freedom to be able to wear comfortable clothing and wear no make-up.

Another few weeks passed and I caught up with Tash as we walked down the beach. She informed me that she would soon be returning to work in a few weeks. She expressed that over the last few weeks she had gotten back to all those activities that she had previously had enjoyed, but never had time for in recent years since working full-time. She had re-found her love for yoga and books and had spent much of her time painting and drawing. She informed me she was glad to return to work but would miss the freedom she had.

Both of my friends' stories I felt shared common themes within them. Although both had been initially upset or frustrated or even annoyed at the arrangement, they had also shared grief for aspects of their new lifestyles that they might lose. My friend's stories made me wonder how many other people were feeling this way and validated the belief that surely many people must be experiencing something similar. For some people, they may grieve the comfort of sitting in on team meetings from the comfort of their own home.

Perhaps, for someone else, it may be the extra time they had to engage in something they enjoyed or being able to switch off from the world for a little while. However, of course, this might not be the case for everyone as for some people the COVID-19 pandemic has truly been a very challenging and traumatic time. Nevertheless, if you do feel confusion, anxiety, sadness, or grief surrounding restrictions easing and life returning to normal, then this is also a normal thing to feel. Take it day by day, and be gentle and kind with yourself as you reintegrate back to your old lifestyle. We are all just doing the best we can and you are doing just fine!

Image from Unsplash by Joseph Gruenthal 

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