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Be kind to yourself

This article offers some inspiration for finding balance and acknowledging your own achievements in the current climate.

The current pandemic is challenging our sense of wellbeing with blurred lines between home and work; and not being able to meet family and friends.

More people have been telling me each week that they’re not taking good care of themselves. They’re saying it in slightly different ways, but some themes shine through that could add to the sense of loss of control and loss of purpose.

My experience

I want to share some of my personal experience, which might spark some ideas for you or someone you know. If anything I say resonates with you and prompts you to do something that makes a positive difference, I’ve achieved my aim.

I leave work at work

When I finish work, I log off, completely shut my laptop down and switch my phone off. They’re untouched and out of sight. If I have great ideas to help with something, I’ll note them ready for when I’m next working, but I don’t log on.

This doesn’t happen by chance. Around eight years ago when I was regularly one of the first in the office; ate lunch at my desk; was last to leave; and still couldn’t get everything done, I realised it couldn’t continue. Late one night, I noted everything I thought I had to do and how long it would take…it was physically impossible.

I made changes the next day – step one was telling my manager and being clear what I would prioritise. I also blocked out lunch breaks in my calendar for every day. The hardest part was accepting I might not always achieve all of my daily aims before logging off, as sometimes other things take over. The biggest help has been prioritising, both in terms of what I need to achieve at work – including the non-urgent but important stuff; and prioritising my home life and wellbeing.

I take leave even though I’m not going anywhere exotic. It’s so re-energising having time to completely switch off from work, do what I feel like at the time, take walks when I like, do nothing when I like. Plus, I know if I don’t take my leave, I’ll lose it when the leave year resets.

I’ve maintained my morning routine

Despite not being in the office since February, I’m always ready for meeting people in person – even though I’m not going to. I did switch to jeans and blouses – my working at home wardrobe, but by August I was fed up wearing jeans every day and went back to wearing dresses on my working days.

Acknowledge the progress you make

Given the current climate it can be hard to remember there are still things within our control. You could ask yourself – what can I do to help me feel better? Whatever you decide, please remember to be kind to yourself and acknowledge your achievements – big and small.


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