How the Covid-19 Pandemic changed my life

Daily writing prompt
What’s the biggest change in your life from the Covid-19 pandemic?

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.

Final Comments

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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  1. I like your positive attitude. Indeed, for some Covid has opened possibilities that they weren’t aware of before

      • It allowed to look at my life. What works, what doesn’t work and what I want out of life. It also gave me time to grieve. My dad had been killed on his bicycle in NYC a short time before.

        I had that luxury. Many people did not and it became a real struggle. I learned about the term food insecurity.

        When my next book came out on the American Revolution, I was determined to give the royalties to a food pantry. I did it.

        I also realized how much I love being a school teacher. It brought me closer with my students. I realized how important it is to be in the classroom.

      • I agree about the classroom. I still have one class routinely online but im glad everything else is back in the classroom. The interaction online isn’t the same.
        I had a full day workshop today but it felt like I was talking to a brick wall at times

  2. I suspect that being in the thick of Covid, even not necessarily contracting it, gave many people a chance to pause and reflect and reorganize how they want to live life. Keep your convictions strong about the best work-life balance. You clearly know what you need and what is best overall after looking to the positive side.

    • I agree. Do you find it’s made a difference in what you’re looking for and what you’ll accept in your job hunting?

      • Yes and no. I’ve found that the number of companies willing to hire remote workers has definitely increased. My target size is bigger. Saying all that, I’m not sure how open they are. There still seems to be a desire to hire local. Also, I’m still very early in my search. At some point, I may need to drop some of my requirements.

      • I think everyone, including employers, are still finding their feet. Everyone has different ideas and I think employers are trying to balance that.

      • I have found this desire to hire local incredibly frustrating. Mostly because I live in a remote area and am therefore local to nowhere that’s hiring. Good luck on your job search!

      • Hello how are you doing I’m new here don’t have much followers hope you don’t mind if I have as my friend?…💜💜💜💜.

      • Pleased don’t spam comments, it is better to leave a comment about the post. Generally the blogger will respond. It’s a much better way to develop your blog and make friends. Normally spam comments will get deleted

      • I hope you take the advice in the way its meant. We all need to learn in the beginning. I’m hoping you’ll take on board my feedback and that you will make many friends and be a successful blogger

        It takes time, but visit other blogs and leave meaningful messages. People will start to visit your blog

  3. This is a reflective piece of writing. Loved it and agree with the thing here. COVID here made people pause and think for a while.

    • I’m glad you liked it. Reflection is good, itallows us to make better choices. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  4. You’re right about finding the positive in the Covid-19 experience. I found that upon reflection I realize that I’m more centered now, more inclined to reach out to people, which for an introvert is quite an admission.

    • I’m glad you’ve been able to identify the positives. I hope you continue to feel more centred. We need to guard against slipping back into old habits

  5. I can relate to so much of this, Brenda. I have also avoided Covid, and found remote work to be a lifesaver (as it allowed more time for sleep/rest), and discovered I can have both (moderate) health and a career within this new paradigm without struggling too much. It breaks my heart to have seen so many suffer, but Covid was a huge net positive for me life…perhaps even the best thing to happen since I got sick.

    • I know so many have suffered and I feel guilty for saying it, but im with you, this has given me my life back, so definitely a very good thing for me too.

  6. It’s good you saw a different perspective to your work situation and how it could still be embraced and carried positively in a different format and dynamic. It becomes a balancing act of home/work interventions afterwards I believe. Well, from what my brother told me having to work from home for a long while. All the best.

    • Thanks Gray. I think, with working from home, it’s important to set clear boundaries between work and home. I used to go for a walk at 4.30 each evening, and pack away my work ‘tools’

      • I can see your planning out a timetable. And being neat in your life in the way you describe by the way you organise what you write.

  7. I think in general terms, things have not changed enough and we have swung too far back towards the old normal. Eg in the early days of lockdown the world seemed kinder and we appreciated those who had previously been considered (by some!) low-skilled but who now kept things going for everyone else (shop workers etc). Now, the govt is back to treating them like dirt. In personal terms, it made me value human contact so much more – going from regularly seeing people to not seeing them at all unless on screen was hard. Now I make more effort to see the friends I already had and have proactively made new friends whereas I’d have hung back previously (like Ally above, I’m an introvert). So I think that’s a bonus but I’d rather the last 3 years hadn’t happened the way they did to get it!

    • Thanks Anabel. I agree when we look at the current state of industrial relations. I heard the binmen in Glasgow may be going back on strike because if changes to their working conditions.
      I agree we need to value everyone and the jobs they do. We all have a role to play in society

      • Yes, that’s it exactly. I think its also that the Council seem to want them to talk to the residents if they use the wrong bins and issue notices. Living in a tenament flat, I don’t know how they’d do that as our bins don’t even just serve the one block of flats

      • Exactly. If they want to start doing something like that, they should employ enforcement officers or something – or maybe that should be the job of Environment Health anyway?

      • Or just make the whole thing easier to understand! So many bins, different colours in each authority, and different rules. When mum was alive I used to cart stuff over to Paisley that Glasgow didn’t accept in its recycling. I also read that a lot of it ends up in landfill anyway or is shipped overseas which seems crazy. I religiously recycle but I sometimes wonder if it does any good at all. Anyway, having led you way off topic, Happy Easter Sunday!

  8. Hi Brenda, Reading your thoughts in these blog posts is very helpful in defining these titles & terms (blog post titles). Thank you for sharing your experience and views.
    My COVID-19 lifestyle was limited to inside our house, or particularly ‘my room’ due to the lockdown.
    While I was connected to the rest of the class and to the professor via ‘Google Meet’.
    I’m so happy and satisfied being a part of the offline campus life of the university.

  9. Made me evaluate my timelines as well. 😀 I am glad to know that you used your lockdown time for health (as well). I have used my time for the best as well 😀

    This was a positively contributing read. 😀

  10. As an Autistic guy, the lockdown is been the best time of my life. Stay at home and nobody could told me “go out” “meet new people” “don’t stay always home”😁it’s been amazing

  11. A wonderful positive attitude you have Brenda. The pandemic was horrible in many ways, but there is also a lot of good that has come from it. It did bring clarity for many and helped us all align and reprioritize. Wishing you wellness.

  12. Post covid FGW happened, haha

    Why are you missing Covid all of a sudden?

    Covid changed a lot and it definitely taught us to appreciate small things in life.

    During covid, I regained weight as at home 1 hour of workout sometime truncated to 30 mins and even 5 mins.

    I have lost weight again (23 kg)

    • Did I say I was missing Covid? My life is better now. I was just meaning that I’ve learned lessons from the lockdowns. I would certainly not wish to return to those horrible lockdowns. I was totally isolated, my husband was away for 8 months and during the lockdowns we couldn’t travel, so for months on end – including that Easter and Christmas I did not see him. Personally my health benefited, but there were other aspects I’d definitely not wish to relive.

      • Hey thanks!!

        Now, I’ve lost weight, many people are giving me different advice , haha

        we cannot please everyone.

        But you know I don’t feel I’ve lost 23 kg, because I feel nothing happened to me. The scale got bonkers.

        However, I am experiencing energy like a 20-year-old. I want to know what more I am capable of.

      • It is amazing how much of a difference losing weight has on out abilities, and energy levels.

        Re the advice, you know already what works for you. Plus you do research to help you write your blog, so I think you’re already making good decisions for you.

      • You’ll know when you get there … and I believe if we listen to our bodies, it’ll tell us. That said, i still need to loose a lot of weight.

  13. Fantastic blog post Brenda. Thank You for sharing with us the readers the experiences you encountered during the COVID-19 era which was a devastating, scary, life threatening and challenging time for the whole world. The important thing is that you are alive because the virus took lives like flies dropping down and now you are back to work. All the best with your ideals and goals friend♥🙏🙏

    • Thank you, Mthobisi. I think its important to reflect on our experiences to learn from them, especially times which have such a major impact on everyone and changed how society behaves

  14. My life changed a lot during lockdown! I explored parts of me that I never imagined and my life now has improved in lots of aspects. Thanks for sharing your journey with us

  15. Recording how the pandemic has effected us is extremely important. Through the change the pandemic made in most everyone’s lives, it also changed the world. Access to this kind of information has been scarce until now. This will be in our children’s children’s history books. We, as writers, should all write about how something so unprecedented effected us and the world around us. Especially Americans 🙁

    • I think you’re right Alesia. The pandemic, and living through lockdowns need to be captured as its changing society. Its changing our attired and how we work. I think the end results and long term changes are still uncertain. Normally changes in society take a long time, but sometimes something so monumental comes along that it takes a while for all the effects to ripple through. I know some employers want to take working conditions back to 2019, but I wonder how many employees would want the same.

  16. I was privileged enough to be work from home right as the pandemic hit and in my field I’ve been able to stay wfh. But this helped me do more in my home which was good for my professional growth, stopped my hair from falling out because I was washing it every day to go to work, and gave me more time to read!

  17. The pandemic has had a lot of pros and cons and I love that you took time to care for yourself.

  18. I can relate. My body shut down pre-covid and I went on disability. Never took the shot and used the time for self-care on CFS and CPS. Nutrition and Naturaph doctors help a lot. Supplements are vital rather than prescription meds. Take care of number one. I still have yet to write a journal on this.

    • Thanks for sharing Perpetua. It’s frustrating when our bodies fail us in this way. I’m glad you’ve found some approaches which help you and that you’re taking care of yourself.

  19. I wish I would’ve taken COVID more seriously. That would have been the perfect take off for my career. However, you live & you learn!

    • We can only go by how we feel at the time. We had limited information at the beginning and had to base our judgement on that. Dontbeat yourself up with what you could have done differently 😁

  20. […] Unfortunately, sometimes my health gets the better of me. Either a CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) flare up or migraine attacks and while I need to relax, I certainly wouldn’t have the energy to go exploring. Even a walk will be beyond my abilities on the worst days. How do I relax when confined to the house? I think one of the key things is to not let the confinement itself be a source of stress. How I relax in these situations really comes down to how bad I feel. Relaxation could take the form of reading and/or writing. Brain fog is a problem, but it seems less severe when writing, even chatting electronically, rather than using the spoken word. I don’t understand it; just accept it, adapt and move forward. When the CFS is really bad my relaxation activities might involve yoga and meditation, followed by catch up tv. This post gives an insight into my life with CFS. […]

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