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Project Slippers Volume 3.0 Part B

Part B of Project Slippers Volume 3.0 has come around super-fast, and no, despite the use of a tropical beach as an icon, I’m still in lockdown in the UK…read-on to find out the link!

This instalment covers wood, windy walks and worries, plus an anniversary that I never thought I’d hit (and never wanted to hit!); a whole year of working from home...

It’s easy to consider a year of lockdown measures as a ‘wasted year’ and it’s something I’m struggling with recently, as I’m desperately missing the ability to travel. And when I say “travel”, I mean anywhere! Yes, I’d love to jet off to Dubai or plan a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to the Maldives, but right now, I’d settle for, quite literally, anywhere, as cabin fever sets in…

But we need to remind ourselves that we are “safe” at home, not “stuck” at home.

It won’t be forever, and at some point, we will be able to travel again, we will be able to hug our extended family again, and you never know, I might even get to go on that once-in-a-lifetime holiday to the Maldives….

 

Volume 3, Week 6 - Week Ending 12/02/2021 - "Self-Worth & Wood"

This week has been all about self-worth and wood….

Let me explain, starting with self-worth.

For anyone that doesn’t know, in 2019 I completed a training course with the Self-Worth Academy, hosted by the Founder, John Niland. The training course equipped me with the practical skills required to coach people in my chosen field of career transformation. I also became an accredited Associate of the Academy, and have been working with clients ever since.

This week, the Self-Worth Academy has been hosting a self-worth awareness week. They organised an impressive agenda of speakers from around the world, who discussed a range of topics, from the role of self-worth in education, to the importance of self-worth in relationships, and the value of self-worth in our careers.

I was lucky enough to be asked to open the main section of the event, and discussed the topic of imposter syndrome, the impact it can have on career confidence, and the role of self-worth in overcoming it. It was an honour to be part of such a wonderful event, and I was grateful to receive lovely feedback from the audience. In fact, one of the delegates was even kind enough to share a screen print of some of the feedback:

And now onto the wood….(and no, that’s not a reference to a wooden presentation style, I assure you!)

Today, Friday 12th February, is my fifth wedding anniversary, which is traditionally celebrated with a wooden gift. Each year, I buy us a gift that relates to the tradition for that year. With non-essential shops closed, it could’ve been quite a challenge this year, but I managed to locate a small local business still operating online who have made a beautiful bespoke carved wooden frame, in which I’ve put a print of our favourite champagne.

 It just goes to show the importance of having an online presence, and more than that, an online presence that works well! It was great to support a small business, and I’ll certainly continue to do the same during the lockdown and beyond.

 And to anyone reading this, yes, it’s Friday 12th February today, which means it’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday, so if you’ve forgotten, you’d best get shopping. And don’t forget to shop with independent businesses where possible!

 

Volume 3, Week 7 - Week Ending 19/02/2021 - "It’s Getting Serious”

7 weeks into the third lockdown, and suddenly this has all become very real….

…..my mum and stepdad have COVID. :-(

They are both normally fit (although they do have some underlying health conditions), so we are all keeping our fingers crossed that it’ll come and go without too much of an impact on their health, but it’s very worrying nonetheless. It’s definitely a case of “this s*#t is getting serious!”

The biggest shock to me is how easy it’s been for them to contract it. Both have been working in COVID secure environments, as a family, we have all stuck to the rules religiously, and the only other place they have been is to the supermarket for essential grocery shopping. My mum is also the cleanest person in the world (always has been, but COVID has seen her step up the cleaning regime even more than I ever thought was possible!)

So, my message to you this week is short and sweet…

  • Please stay at home
  • Please follow the rules
  • Please wash your hands
  • And please please take this seriously

No one wants to be in lockdown. Trust me, the cabin fever is starting to set in with me too. I’m finding it harder and harder to break away from the office (in the absence of there being anything else to do, or anywhere to go!), and I’m missing the freedom to travel and the freedom to see family and friends. I’m also missing a hug from all of my parents (I’m lucky enough to have a mum and a stepdad, and a dad and a step mum).

But, the vaccination programme is going well, and assuming it continues, we have a chance of spending at least some of 2021 in something closer to normality.

I’ve said it before, but please consider this situation as a shift from “stuck” at home, to “safe” at home.

Take care…

 

Volume 3, Week 8 - Week Ending 26/02/2021 - "Longing for Windy Walks"

Firstly, let me start this week’s instalment with an update on my parents. Last week I reported that they’d tested positive for COVID19. Although their symptoms have stayed fairly mild, they still aren't better, so much so, my Step-Dad's isolation period has been extended by the Track & Trace process. It's still very much fingers crossed it doesn't get worse…

This week, the Government have announced the plan for the (very) gradual lockdown release, and let’s just say, it looks like Project Slippers will be around for some time yet it seems! Although there’s light at the end of the tunnel, it certainly feels as though the light is very VERY faint! And let’s just hope the light isn’t a train coming the other way to derail us!

In other news this week, I’ve really started to feel the impact of lockdown on my health. I had a realisation that I’m spending far too much time sitting down! I sit in my office for around 12 hours a day, and if I’m lucky, I might get out for a 20-30 minute walk and fresh air at some point. When my work is finished, I eat my evening meal (sitting down of course), before it's time to unwind and read a book or watch tv (sitting down!). At the weekend I’m a little more mobile as it’s time for chores around the house, and more walks to get fresh air, but again, the temptation is to sit down, either in the office again, or in front of the TV.

In normal life, before COVID, my day would start with a walk across a big car park at a client site. I would then spend the day walking around the office to and from meeting rooms, walking to people’s desks to catch up with them, walking to and from the restaurant at lunchtime, queuing at the coffee shop, then back across the car park at the end of the day. Most of my 9 or 10 hours in an office would be spent on my feet.

Very different to my current activities!

And I’m really starting to feel it.

My hips have been sore, my back is tight, and my neck muscles are solid. And my headaches have been atrocious!

I genuinely feel as though I’m falling apart! It makes me wonder what the long term health (physical, mental and emotional) impacts will be of the pandemic. Some of us may be lucky enough not to get COVID, but I think many of us will have ongoing issues, which could take years to resolve.

It’s surreal and scary. Let’s hope that light continues to get brighter over the coming weeks, and let’s hope I can get back to starting my day with a long stroll across a car park. I’ll never complain about that long walk across a windy car park again! I may even start parking further away to prolong the walk!

Volume 3, Week 9 - Week Ending 05/03/2021 - "Question Time”

I get some lovely comments from people who read and enjoy this Project Slippers blog, which is heartening. It’s not about the self-esteem of achieving likes and comments - I don’t measure any aspect of my life and business on that - it’s just nice to know that people are enjoying the 5-minute read each week.

In fact, as well as lovely comments, I’ve also had some questions over the last few weeks, so I thought I’d do a quick round-up of the common areas I’ve been asked about…

How are the parents?

Thankfully my parents are doing well after their COVID experience. It’s ‘over’ in the sense they are now allowed to leave the house, but they have been left with depleted energy and a general feeling of being “a bit zapped”. We’re all hoping it’ll pass and won’t be long COVID, which we’ve heard so much about.

How’s the SAD lamp going?

For regular readers, you’ll know I purchased a Seasonal Affective Disorder lamp a few weeks ago. The question is, has it helped? I certainly don’t feel as refreshed as I would if I’d had 2 weeks on a tropical beach, and no amount of imagination can take me to a tropical beach whilst sat in front of it, but I do feel as I though I have more energy. That mid-afternoon slump doesn’t come. The only problem is dragging myself away from my computer at the end of the working day. That natural mid-afternoon slump is a good reminder that it’s nearly time to finish work!

How are the aches and pains?

I have visited my physio this week for some treatment, so I’m hoping that’s going to reset some of my aches and pains that are being caused by this new sedentary life I find myself in. I came away with strict orders to spend more time away from my usual seated position at my desk, (the need to take more breaks seems to be a regular theme of Project Slippers!)

And finally, when will AV get here, and what will it look like?

Again, regular readers will remember a blog I wrote called BV-DV-AV. Before Virus - During Virus - After Virus. At the time, I started to think about what AV might look like. And here we are, nearly a year since the first lockdown, and AV still isn’t here. Some clients are already thinking about office-based working again, and are planning how to make it work. From my perspective, as much as I enjoy human contact, and miss working with clients and colleagues in person, I won’t be rushing back to any office environment full time. In my opinion, an “omni-channel” approach is needed; the ability to move between home, office and other remote locations, seamlessly. In fact, I’d love to explore being a digital nomad someday! Even better if the location was a tropical beach somewhere!

Stay safe everyone, and thanks, as always, for reading.

 

Volume 3, Week 10 - Week Ending 12/03/2021 - "Happy WFH-versary!”

And so, we hit double figures of Project Slippers Volume 3.0.

10 weeks have somehow flown by. The evenings are getting lighter at last, which is helping my ability to get out for a walk after work, and dare I say it, but the vaccine program is going well in the UK, so will that mean 2021 will become - at some point - more ‘normal’ (whatever ‘normal’ is; I’m not sure I can remember!)

This week marks a very poignant anniversary. It’s now been 1 year since I started working from home. A year ago this week, without realising it at the time, I spent my last day on a client site, working alongside fellow human beings.

And you know what, I completely and utterly took that day for granted. Had I known it would be my last day for such a long time, I would’ve paused longer to converse with colleagues, I would’ve embraced those meetings even more, and I wouldn’t have minded doing laps around the building looking for an available meeting room.

I would’ve absorbed and enjoyed every moment…

And here I am, a year later, still working at home in isolation with only Zoom and Teams calls as a way of connecting with clients, colleagues and associates. It’s been lonely, and at times, frustrating, but there have been highlights. Here are a few…

  • The annual mileage on my car has never been so low, and I’ve saved a fortune on fuel!
  • I’ve met some fascinating new people as virtual networking has become popular and commonplace.
  • I’ve been awarded new pieces of work without ever meeting the client in person (although I am looking forward to the road trip later in the year to say hi to everyone!)
  • My feet and back have had over 365 days of respite away from heels…
  • With no working away, my husband has never seen so much of me (that’s got to be a highlight hasn’t it?!)
  • The Gary Barlow Crooner Sessions have been a delight, especially this week as he was joined in episode #89 by the remaining members of Take That; and it was a JOY!

So, after a year, would I work at home fulltime if I could? No, but that doesn't mean I want to rush back to an office environment every day. I've realised over the last year that I miss people, but I also enjoy the peace and quiet of my home office, so I'm aiming for my future working practices to be a hybrid approach. Let's see where we are in another 365 days…

(And for all my fellow Take That fans, I couldn't end the article without a picture of the tremendous trio during this week's Crooner Sessions!)