A before and after comparison
I have been fortunate to have avoided Covid-19 and while family and friends have contracted the virus, I’m not aware of losing anyone in my social circle to the pandemic. Despite avoiding the virus myself, it would be naive to suggest its impact has not touched my life. Despite the inconveniences of the various lockdowns (and Glasgow was closed down more than other parts of Scotland at times) I am taking a positive approach to the ways in which it has touched my life.
What was life like pre-Covid
In comparison to others, I have a mild form of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) and I am able to hold down a full time job, although it was at great cost. My employers referred me to an Occupational Health Doctor who advised that if I wanted to continue working I had to accept that I would be effectively housebound the rest of the time – I was told to give up any hope of having a social life outside of the workplace.
Before Covid struck, I worked 5 days a week and was on campus 9-4.45 four days a week. I was able to work from home as a reasonable adjustment one day a week. My reality meant constantly living with pain, brain fog, insomnia, migraines and the overwhelming fatigue of CFS/ME. Some weekends my duvet held my attention for 16-22 hours, insomnia permitting. It was a bleak existence and although I loved my job, I was starting to question if this suffering indicated my future existence for the rest of my life – another 30-40 years – it really felt like a life sentence.
I had this idea in my head of the lifestyle I wanted – to be exploring castles, and museums and meeting friends for coffee as and when I wanted – but I had accepted that this was never going to happen. My body was playing a horrible trick and had betrayed me. The Covid Pandemic changed all of that for me.
Covid lockdowns and a moment of clarity
Lockdowns for me were a lifesaver as I got more time to rest – no more 2 hour early morning commutes. CFS/ME symptoms tend to be worse in the mornings; wading through treacle just to get from the bus stop to the train station. Removing that journey made such a big difference to me.
It must have been around that same time I signed up with Noom. I started exercising, lots of walking – before Covid I’d found that cardio exercise was impossible, simply adding to the fatigue and pain. I was also eating more healthily. I lost 3st 2lbs (44lbs) in about 2 months. I felt great, had so much more energy and had the CFS/ME under control.
Teaching online 100% certainly did present challenges and I’m delighted to be back on campus and in the classroom. However, for my health, online was definitely better for me. For the first time in so many years, I felt back in control of my life and the CFS/ME. I could see that the lifestyle I imagined for myself was not only possible, but within my grasp.
Post-Covid – retaining control
We say that everyone is returning to normal now, but that “normal” has changed and societies around the world are settling down and making decisions about what our future will look like. This is a decision we must each make for ourselves.
My employer, like many others, approached the return to work with a hybrid solution, but now, again just like other organisations, they are exploring options, including a return to the pre-Covid traditional working patterns. I guess this is something I could explore from an employment perspective in another post, but today I’m focused on my own needs.
I’ve seen what life can be like, that my ideal is achievable. Already, sometimes I do get exhausted when I’m on campus more. I’ve had the chance to experience a better life and I don’t want to go back to my pre-covid life. Depending on what happens in the future, I may have some decisions to make. I know that I’m not willing to compromise my health to the extent I had in 2019.
Between an improved quality of life and the enjoyment of writing and blogging, I’m not prepared to give up on the lifestyle I have now, especially as the one I’m seeking is within reach.
For me Covid-19 has definitely had a positive impact on my life. Even when we seem to be faced with terrible, negative things happening in our lives, we should always look for the positives.
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