The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought many changes into people’s lives, not least the requirement to stay isolated at home except in specific circumstances. The impact of this has brought with it many physical, technical and mental challenges as people adapt to life.
At Haseltine Lake Kempner our colleagues have moved to home working and thanks to the efforts of our wonderful IT team many home offices have been set up. We’re lucky that technology has evolved so much over the years so that we are now able to have whole offices and companies working together while physically apart. However, there is of course more to isolation than just setting up a home office. The mental effect of such a change cannot be denied, and it’s more important than ever before that we try to keep ourselves mentally and physically healthy.
HLK recognised this from the outset and set up virtual spaces for us to message each other and shares thoughts outside of our work. People can share tips on what is helping them to keep positive at this time, be it having a new exercise goal, taking advantage of the many live theatre and musical shows being steamed, or a new podcast or vlog to watch or listen to. We may be working apart, but the sense of community is as strong as ever. With that in mind we asked our colleagues to share what they are doing to keep themselves positive through isolation.
Beth Brown – Marketing team
“I have been taking lots of fitness classes by VC. It’s great because I get to see and speak to people outside of my household and keep fit and healthy at the same time. When it’s nice weather I’m lucky enough to have a garden and so can exercise outside and if I’m really lucky then the dogs join me for my outside workout.”
Egheosa Ogbomo – Engineering team
“Keeping positive during the lockdown started off being a challenge for me, but after I found a new routine it has become a bit easier. Spending my evenings playing video games with my friends, jamming out on the sax, going for runs (keeping 2m from others of course!) and doing home workouts has really kept my spirits up!”
Andrew Flaxman – Tech team
“Dennis, our 4-month old springador puppy, gives us the perfect reason to get out for a daily walk. It ensures the whole family gets daily fresh air and exercise, and also means we get to see and have a (socially distant) chat with other dog walkers.”
Alex Deacon-Viney – Trade Mark team
“I’ve been taking the time to spend purposeful time with family; cooking and baking together (even though I’ve left my baking equipment in my flat!), and big quiz/cinema nights with friends over Facetime help us to feel like we’re not constantly on top of each other. It keeps me connected with the people I’d normally see in Leeds, in my home town and those further away.”
Sophia Cregan – Renewals team
“During isolation I’ve been doing a few different things to keep positive. I like to listen to music while I work in the afternoon and as someone with a rather eclectic taste it tends to range from country music, pre-made playlists on Spotify or some of my favourite pop/rock artists albums and occasionally a musical cast recording or film soundtrack album. In the morning I tend to start off with catching up on my YouTube subscriptions as the people I’m subscribed to are taking the lockdown as a chance to upload more regularly. I find it’s a nice and easy way to start the day as they all talk about what they’ve been getting on with at the moment and I enjoy listening to that as I work! Outside of work time I either read a book, watch something on Netflix or Disney Plus, look after my dog and hamster or play my guitar. I do try to do some exercise every day in our back garden too and that now includes playing football with my dad while enjoying the sunshine.”
Nicole Ockl – Litigation team
“I have been arranging VC catch-ups with friends. Of course, we all miss our favourite Italian bar or visiting each other in foreign countries, but this way we can chat and share a good glass of wine or a G&T while sitting in our own living room. It’s great.”
Penny Kawecki – Finance team
“Living on a farm makes it much easier to ensure I get outside in the fresh air several times a day. I make sure to do some form of exercise every day such as a run around the fields, some lightweight training, a self-written circuits class or an ill-fated attempt at an online yoga class – Downward dog probably should not almost end in a faceplant! I go out for a walk every morning before starting work as well as at lunch time and after I log off for the day. Whilst walking, I make sure to take in and appreciate the nature all around me, occasionally taking a photograph of flora or fauna I encounter. I send some of these pictures on to friends who live in city centres and can’t get into the countryside much or at all during the lockdown period. When not working, I try to reduce my contact with screens as much as possible. It helps me to explore other entertainment options, some entirely new and some I have been doing for years. Reading, baking Easter biscuits, removing bramble patches from around the farm and doing the odd jigsaw puzzle has helped to keep my mind occupied without staring at a screen for hours.”
Robyn Hardisty – Chemistry and Life Sciences team
“I have been seeing loads of my friends and family by VC. As well as talking, we have played virtual versions of board games and arranged virtual pub quizzes. While everything seems a little surreal right now, it is great that we have the technology to keep in touch with loved ones.”
Laura Taylor-Jones – Marketing team
“Every weekend my friends and I organise either a pub quiz or cheese and wine night via VC, it is always something for me to look forward to during the week and provides some human connection that is missing at the moment. I am also now reading the many books that I have been collecting. It’s easy to binge watch a TV series (I am guilty of this), but it has been nice to take an hour or two each day, away from my phone and laptop, and get stuck into my book.”
Joanna Deas – Chemistry and Life Sciences team
“I have been doing a weekly livestream pub quiz with my friends and family. It has been great because it is something fun to do which keeps us all connected even though we cannot see each other in person.”
Lauren Cane – Tech team
“Shortly before the lockdown I started going to yoga classes with my colleagues during our lunch break. I was keen to keep up my new hobby during the lockdown so I’ve been doing an online yoga class every morning before starting work. Having that bit of routine has really helped me to stay positive and start work each day feeling refreshed!”
Sophie Wood – Finance team
“I’ve always loved jigsaw puzzles but have used the excuse ‘I haven’t got time’ too much. At the start of the lockdown I ordered some new (not too difficult) jigsaws and have really enjoyed the break away from a screen, listening to music as I work it out.”
Sarah Bonfield – Electronics team
“I’ve been taking the opportunity to get those jobs done around the house that I’ve managed to put off for far too long i.e. tidying cupboards and drawers, and sorting out my wardrobe! Tidy house, tidy mind!”
Laura Robyn – Trade Mark team
“Whilst lockdown measures can bring inconveniences and added pressures at home, the resulting cabin fever can spur you on to re-discover your local area. In my case, I am loving the excuse for long trundles along the riverside and I find myself marvelling at a quiet sunrise, finding comfort in birdsong and (socially distant) smiling encouragingly at passers-by. In between cleaning, reorganising and queueing (whether in person or online), don’t forget to be kind (also to yourself), unplug and find restful moments.”
Maybe trying some of the activities above might help you to keep positive in isolation and maybe you could even pick up a new hobby.
Sending our best wishes to you and your families at this time.
Images taken by and property of Laura Robyn