I have been meaning to put pen to paper for a while and now feels like the right time.
I found out in March I was furloughed and have been since. Anyone who is furloughed may appreciate that it is a rather bizarre feeling, especially when you have worked since the age of 14, like me - and I am no spring chicken! However, I consider myself to be extremely lucky.
Some people have asked how I feel about being furloughed, a word I had not heard until a few months back. It is hard to explain other than it manifests itself in a huge mix of emotions. It is scary, tough, and strange but at times it has been fun and overall, an extraordinary experience. Believe it or not, I am extremely grateful for it. I understand fully that other people's experiences might be very different from this.
At the start of furlough, I propelled myself into homeschooling, exercise, and housework. The housework was a distraction and rather ironic considering I was looking for a cleaner prior to lockdown. My partner has continued to work throughout which meant the days flew by, but even so, I had a lot of time to think. And boy did I think.
I am a worrier, or maybe I should say thinker or reflector, but either way, at the start of the pandemic I was incredibly scared like so many others. With health concerns last year, I was anxious, to say the least. Besides, I worried that I may not have a job, despite my employer Distinct Recruitment doing a fabulous job to assure me otherwise. At times I was concerned about my 5-year-old and his behaviour, missing his friends – who wouldn't be? However, my ‘thinking’ was driving me a little insane and I knew I had to try and change something.
There is an element that I/we have all learned to live with new ways of life since the beginning of Covid-19, although I feel there are aspects of my experience that have made furlough such an incredible/distinctive journey. That is why, several weeks down the line, I am lucky enough to be happier, healthier, more confident, at peace and excited about the future. This is the experience I wanted to share and quite a fortuitous one at that.
Firstly, I found Yoga. I started to attend weekly zoom yoga classes with a friend of mine who runs her own health business (Njoyhealth) in Lambley. She is superb. I fell in love with it and now I am practicing three times a week. It may not sound revolutionary, but it is to me as I have found something I genuinely enjoy and look forward to. It has shown me how important it is to take time out for yourself and clear the mind.
It wasn’t just the Yoga experience. Distinct Recruitment offered all their employees (furloughed or not) fortnightly coaching sessions through the Hanover Centre. Whilst my mind found it strange to think about work whilst furloughed, I decided to take part. I am coached by Dr. Roberta Babb (who is awesome by the way ?) and I came out of the first session feeling like a new person who finally appreciated a lot of things about herself – inside and outside of work. I remember sighing with relief! It was indeed a lightbulb moment. The sessions have continued to be inspiring and I can honestly say, that I am a different person, to the one I was when lockdown began.
Being furloughed has been a distinctive moment in time. I never thought I would homeschool my child – did anyone?! I felt fortunate as my child is five and at least I would not have to contend fractions. I did not consider that my five-year-old rarely sits down and has a strong tendency to say no! I couldn’t believe how distracting it was when we were trying to read, and he would be rolling around the living room. Even at school, he stands up at his new desk!
Despite the challenges, I look back with fond memories and a smile, despite times of anxiety. I was fortunate to be able to spend time with my family. Going on long walks, runs, growing veg. Thank goodness for the weather.
As for the future? It is more good news. I will be returning to my job at Distinct Recruitment with my sidekick Michelle to manage our senior interim finance desk. Oh, and just so you know Michelle has been on this journey with me every step of the way. We will both be working two days a week, Michelle Tuesday and Wednesday and I will work each Wednesday and Thursday.
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Will it be challenging – yes! Are we up for the challenge – yes!
I hope to never forget the voyage we have all been on.