It’s been… a while since I was furloughed. A month? Over a month? I actually have no idea what day it is, never mind how many weeks it’s been since this weird ‘new normal’ was struck upon us. I’ve been through ‘a roller coaster of emotions’. I started this ‘journey’ (I promise that’s the last cringey cliche word I’ll use) being relentlessly positive. I refused to let this awful situation bring me down. But then, of course, it did. The pretending everything was absolutely fine came crashing down and a wave of negativity came flooding in. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve now found the balance because I don’t think that exists in this strange bubble of time but, at the moment, I’ve settled into my own little routine and I’m feeling okay.

This hasn’t happened overnight and just feeling okay has taken work. I’ve meditated daily, had bi-weekly video calls with my therapist, practised yoga at home every other day and pushed myself to stay busy for a certain portion of the day. This may not work for the next guy, but I’ve learnt to take note of what lifts my mood… even if it’s just a little bit, and then combine those things into my day. I know that being creative makes me happier, so I’ve decided to begin my day writing and incorporate hobbies such as painting and baking into my weekends. I find organising, decluttering and cleaning therapeutic and satisfying, so that’s how I’ve been spending my afternoons. I love absorbing content of all kinds whether it’s TV shows, books or podcasts so I’ve been filling my evenings with those.

I’ve also noticed that if I skip a yoga class, a meditation session or therapy appointment my anxiety levels grow. And if I don’t go outside for a few days my mood shifts. I’ve found following a few guidelines helps me stick to a routine. However, there are some days I just don’t have the energy to move from my bed or even brush my hair but I’ve tried to not put pressure on myself and just start fresh tomorrow.

When I eventually do go back to work, it’ll probably take me a while to settle into a whole new routine. But I do hope that I continue some of these hobbies that have brought me joy over the past few weeks. I’ve loved reading more, listening to audio books, playing Animal Crossing, writing fiction and painting. While I’ll never have this much free time again, I hope I devote some time each week for them.

However, I’d like to think I will be too busy catching up on everything I’ve not been able to do. Of course, like everyone, I’m missing people. I can’t wait to see my family and friends for a catch-up. I can’t wait to have brunch in a cafe. I can’t wait to go for after-work drinks on a Friday. I can’t wait to go on holiday again… whenever that day might be. I miss the theatre, spas, shopping centres and concerts. One day, this will all return and I can’t wait! But until then, I’m going to try my best to make the most of my free time (without putting too much pressure on myself).

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