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Five Lessons I've Learnt From Social Isolation

Let's Talk Jun 18, 2020

Whoa. Who knew 2020 would take such a strange turn?

I guess I have to preface this by saying that here in Australia we are SO SO SO lucky with the way that Covid has been handled and that the lock down seems to have worked. I know that for so many other countries this hasn’t been the case and in those countries the reality is sadly very different. Add to that the fact that we have a home in which to isolate and access to everything we need, it’s been relatively easy compared to what others have faced. But it’s still been challenge.

Like many places we’re seeing some lifting of restrictions. In fact, my favourite little thrift store reopened this week, which honestly felt like all my Christmas’s at once! Being able to go OUT into the world has really highlighted just how different life has been during social isolation, and also how this ‘new normal’ actually felt pretty normal after a while. Thought I would share a few little things that I’ve learnt.

If only social isolation was this serene ever lol.

1. You Can’t Expect A Partner To Provide Everything

I love couples therapist Esther Perel and one thing she talks about is that traditionally humans lived in villages and you had lots of people around to give you want you needed emotionally and physically. She believes that one of the worst things about family units now is that they’re small and you often feel that your partner should provide everything you need, which can make you unrealistic in your expectations. Personally, I felt that social isolation concentrated this issue a lot, being cut off from friends and family meant getting EVERYTHING from one person. I realised that coffee or dinner with friends and family aren’t just social occasions, they’re important for recalibrating. I found it helpful to remember this when I felt like getting into an argument (probably over nothing!) with Ben. I also tried to use the mantra ‘we’re all doing our best‘ when things got too much. It was an interesting learning experience! Ps Esther’s ‘Couples Under Lockdown‘ episodes are good listening.

2. Alone, together

Lock down has been hard. But going through it all together made me feel part of something – weirdly. I guess, knowing that everyone was in the same boat all over the world was strangely heartening. I have also felt pretty lucky to be able to connect with people from around the world online. DMs and emails from readers were so amazing and certainly helped me get through it and understand what other people were going through. In truth for the most part the lock down was relatively easy in Australia! But I guess it was just something about knowing that we were all in the same boat. And yes, not having FOMO of people’s amazing holidays helped too lol.

3. The Internet Has Been A Source of Joy

I have been working on the internet for TEN YEARS. I started this blog during the olden days when most people were nice to each other online and we hadn’t started to distrust everything we read or feel mounting outrange constantly. But, and tell me if you agree, something about the internet felt kind and sweet and generous during lock down. Free yoga classes, people sharing recipes in their little kitchens, and people just giving ideas away and hoping they helped. Yes obviously the dark side of the internet still existed and you needed to be careful not to stray onto the wrong news site or down a youtube rabbit hole. But I noticed a shift to the generous mood of the early 2010’s. I hope that stays, and I hope I can be a source of it too!

4. Creativity Helped

I REALLY tried to embrace creativity in social isolation, for myself but also because I wanted to share that with you guys in the hope that it might help. I honestly believe that the times I felt my best was when I had executed something creative and could feel some satisfaction with what I had done. Netflix is good but have you ever painted every vase in the house?! I have to admit through, at times I think the personal pressure to be creative was a little overwhelming, and I probably didn’t make space to just deal with the stress and anxiety of living through a pandemic! I got better at it towards recently though, balancing time to do NOTHING and time to be creative.

5. It’s Been An Important Reframing Of Business

If I’m honest, it was VERY stressful at the beginning of the lock down, with invoices outstanding and so much uncertainty around new and existing projects. Although working from home wasn’t new to me, I definitely think that the economic downturn and seeing so many devastating job losses has been a very important reminder of not being complacent in what I do. Or taking anything for granted. For me that has meant a renewed focus on trying my hardest to deliver good work, being good value and actively going out to pitch new ideas and think outside the box more. Even though that has meant working harder and longer hours than before. Oh and rethinking overheads. AND being flexible about what ‘the job’ actually is. Phew! Chances are the coming year will be a challenge, so here’s hoping this new perspective helps me to roll with the punches.

Finally… If I Never Have To Wash Up Again It Will Be Too Soon

I could write a whole post about mothering in lock down, needless to say it was a juggle. It proved that teachers and childcare workers should get a million percent raises! Oh and I am so sick of washing up dishes.  The end.

Before I go, I wanted to say a big thank you to all the essential workers out there who have worked tirelessly to keep society functioning and make what has been a difficult few months relatively easier. It was only because they went out and did the hard work that we could stay home and be safe. Hoping for more flattening of the curve worldwide. xx


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