Back to normal?

A few weeks ago someone told me that I would miss having all this downtime when lockdown ends and I argued saying I highly doubted it but I have to admit that he was right.

The past 8 weeks have certainly been a rollercoaster but having the time to look after myself, take it slow when I needed to, really get to know what I need physically and emotionally, and build connections with lots of wonderful people has meant I am coming out of this feeling more prepared for daily life than ever before.

Today is my first day back at work but that doesn't mean things are going back to "normal". If I'm honest, "normal" wasn't working for me. I have taken what I have learned about self care during lockdown on board and prepared food to bring with me, identified areas I might struggle with and where I can get support with them, written a plan for the week including exercise and time to unwind. My home has been transformed into a cosy space that I look forward to spending time in which will help me avoid getting sucked back into my unhealthy workaholic lifestyle, don’t get me wrong, I am excited to be able to work again but can now appreciate that I often took on more than I needed to as I ran away from the thoughts that would come to the surface when I was alone.

I know I am lucky, there are many people out there who have experienced lockdown very differently, but I cannot write about those experiences because they are not mine, but what we all have in common is that, if you are reading this, we have all survived everything life has thrown at us so far.

My biggest hope for the world as we enter this first stage of our “new normal” is that we remember the kindness and keep the meaningful conversations flowing. The fundraising efforts from challenges such as the 2.6challenge, Indoor Relay, Miles for Mind and Jon Flynn’s 999 then 55 runs (I know there are many more but this is what I see being part of the running community) have been huge and we have managed to offer an amazing amount of support for charities who’s funding has been cut while their workload has increased, everyone who has helped their neighbours with shopping or had a natter over the fence to check they’re healthy and keeping sane, small talk has become obsolete and we have been able to get to know each other so much better, new friendships have been forged and exciting plans to meet up in the future have been made. I hope we hold on to those plans and turn our dreams of a better life into a reality.

Opening up conversations has meant I have started to talk about my mental health story, and I have realised there are people out there who have been through the same things and understand the thoughts I have sometimes been too scared to voice. During Mental Health Awareness week I will be sharing more of my journey and some of the things I have found help keep my mind healthy, our journeys all differ here and there but none of us are completely alone in our experiences which is why breaking down the stigmas and sharing our stories is important.

Stay safe and smile, 
I'll be back soon


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