I ASSUME I’m not the only one who is beginning to get real ‘Corona fatigue’.
I know it’s something we have to learn to live with for now, but with cases rising fast despite all the hard work we have put in over the last six months, it’s hard not to feel disheartened some days.
However, there is enough doom and gloom in the world without me adding to the noise, so this article is going to do the opposite of depress. I have turned off the radio at home and I find myself noting positives in our everyday life that have arisen out of the last six months.
The world is a very different place and I hate the phrase ‘the new normal’, but maybe if we think about it differently we can use it to our advantage and focus on positive changes that have some about.
Obviously, it is hugely positive that the children are back to school and by in large things don’t seem to be outrageously different. Yes, children in large schools with split classes may be separated from friends on the yard and they will probably leave primary school with PhD’s in hand washing, but one hugely positive change I’ve noticed is the lack of school books coming home.
I would have always said I was a huge advocate for homework, easy to say when I have the luxury of being at home with my girls and have a keen interest in keeping in touch with how they are getting on.
However, lugging their school bags down the village on a daily basis the past few years, I found the sheer weight of their bags was crazy. I feel this year there is a much better balance between homework and the opportunity for play when it comes to education. Children have time to play in the evenings, the chance to relax and decompress after the day, which is hugely important too.
I also found that previously I was caught in a frenzied cycle of trying to have them in an array of after-school activities that improved their hand-eye coordination or that whetted their appetite for music, or that I felt they might enjoy or that would be beneficial. But during the time off I did find it was such a joy to see them having the time and space to figure out what they actually wanted to do themselves.
Now we go to two after-school activities per week, that they chose, not me, and that’s it. I am steadfast in wanting free evenings, no rushing or racing to be here or there, and it’s absolutely brilliant.
Personally, I have a whole new level of appreciation for my neighbours and friends. Neighbours became such valuable sources of interaction while our movements were restricted.
We are not originally from the village we now call home in North Cork, and while it has felt like home from the moment we moved in, I feel a much deeper sense of place now after the last number of months. I stopped and chatted to people I might previously have rushed past going from preschool to school to training. And that is hugely important, that we build on our homegrown connections because those are the most valuable.
Lots of people are working from home which I have no doubt can be either a blessing or a curse if you have children! The one thing it has resulted in, whatever way you look at it, is more family time.
The average commute time in Ireland is just under a half an hour one way, which means many people have gotten back an hour in the day to spend with family and friends. And I know there is no substitute for work-life banter which is vital too. Perhaps, though, going forward, many might find a new balance between working from home part of the week and working in the office other parts of the week so that we arrive at a better overall balance for ourselves.
Working from home has also meant many people have fewer expenses when the cost of commuting, parking and eating out is removed from the equation.
I find I am striking a better balance when it comes to shopping. I don’t have the opportunity to get into the shops as much as I used to, but I do try and support the city based shops because every job is important. I am buying less, spending it more wisely and giving more consideration to what I do buy.
I don’t think I could end any article effectively praising the last six months without acknowledging how undeniably difficult is has been for many people.
The effects of what we have experienced will ripple through health services, the economy and the way our whole world looks for years to come.
But maybe you’re like me, and some days you just need to focus on the bright side, however hard that may be.