The last normalcy I felt was at the end of February 2020 when my husband and I spent a weekend in Dublin to celebrate his birthday. We travelled freely from Dublin to Belfast, and life was normal. We came back and bam! all was different. So it is almost 2 years since I have experienced normality. I have worked from home since 2020. My normal daily routines went out of the window.
The first problem I found when working at home was that I was not active and I started snacking. I normally walked about 12 000 steps a day and had very little time to eat between meals. The new normal brought a biscuit tin that was too close and the government asking us to stay inside. It brought lack of division between home life and work life.
My weight went up by about 5kg and the lack of exercise made me feel frustrated and depressed. Last year in March I finally decided to do something about it – I stopped snacking during the day and evening, I began walking more. I lost all the kilograms I had gained, but I think the mental effects of the last two years will haunt me for a long time to come. The longer I have worked at home, the more tired I have become. Missing my family has really affected me, as has worry about my mother.
Humans need other humans, face-to-face interaction (even ones we don’t think about, like in shops) and freedom.
How do my readers feel?
There is no such thing as normal, there is just life. Change is constant. I just keep trying to roll with it, to plan what I can, and be flexible on the rest. My planner has never looked better.
I live in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. This winter, it has been too cold to go for walks in the morning, so I bought some retro-aerobics programs on DVDs. Pre-Covid, I would go for a walk on the indoor track at the community center in my neighborhood. It is open, but I no longer feel comfortable there. Instead, my husband and I sweat to the oldies in our living room. It’s actually a lot of fun, but I miss walks outside and talking to our neighbors who are also walking outside.
I work from home, but I was working from home before the pandemic. The biggest adjustment has been that my husband is always at home, too. He needs more social interaction and I need more time to myself. It is a constant struggle to keep mental health and physical health in balance.