I am now working at home. But this isn’t like the ‘working at home’ I have done in the past. This is being at home due to a global pandemic and national emergency, and trying to work. Many things make this situation difficult, and unsettling.
- My job is about connecting with people, finding out what’s important to them, and then connecting them with any support they may need. That task feels almost impossible now as I sit at what was my Nan’s kitchen table in the corner of my bedroom.
- I’m used to working in a team. Whilst we each have our own things to do, we chat throughout the day in our office about what’s for tea or what we watched on tv last night. We reflect on our work. But lately the dominating topic has been Covid-19, and now our conversations revolve around the difficulties we are having adjusting to a new way of working and living. They are also typed rather than spoken, and emotions are expressed solely with emojis and GIFs.
- This time five years ago I was having chemo. I am also an only child and an introvert. All of which mean I have ‘a very particular set of skills’ – to quote Liam Neeson. I like my own company; I don’t mind staying at home for days on end, and I recharge my batteries by social distancing. I should be sailing through lockdown.
Yet, I am feeling anxious – a lot. My chest tightens when someone stands too close to me in the supermarket, or when it is suggested we could work from a new office – with people and germs I’ve not met before. I know it’s ok to feel this fear. I would like to say that having had counselling for the trauma of a cancer diagnosis means I am resilient. But the reality is I get through each day by controlling the things within my control. I can stay at home; I can wash my fruit and vegetables (a habit from chemo I have kept), and I can pick out an outfit to wear to work – even I feel a tad overdressed!
I brought my suitcase down from the loft this week. Every six months I swap over some of my wardrobe; so, my winter clothes have now been packed away and my summer clothes have been laundered ready to wear again. This means every six months I come across a top I may have forgotten I had! It also meant this year that I enjoyed a therapeutic clear out of items for the charity shop – when they reopen – whilst looking ahead to the coming months.
I also realised I need to watch my Working From Home eating habits if I want to still fit in last year’s summer wardrobe! I have always found that only a slight increase in my calorie intake shows around my middle. Having no breasts also means the size of my stomach is accentuated. I will be cutting down on biscuits and increasing my activity – even if that doesn’t quite stretch to a Joe Wicks HIIT workout. Hopefully this will support my mental health and mean I get to wear the clothes I bought last summer!
No sooner had I got my summer wardrobe washed and ironed and we had a mini heatwave over the Easter bank holiday. I’m lucky to have a back garden, and even luckier to have one which faces West so I get the every last drop of the sun into the evening. I didn’t break out my bikini, but I spent three days in a row in T-shirt and shorts on a sun lounger catching up on my book, and topping up my Vitamin D (as best you can when covered in Factor 30-50!)
I know from previous messages that some women dread the warmer months, as they prefer to dress their flatness with layers. Comforting jumpers, cardigans, and scarves replaced with vest tops and T-shirts can seem daunting. Luckily, Bardot tops with gathered necklines continue to be in style – so are easily found in high street (online) shops and catalogues. These are great for adding movement and volume, like a scarf or waterfall cardigan would, and are also usually made in cooling cotton and naturally allow the air to circulate under all that extra fabric! You could also try swapping out your knitted cardigan for a kimono jacket – another classic item which is available in every style, pattern and colour you could imagine…now I’m not sure why I don’t own one myself yet?!