It’s 9.45am, and my dining table has once again been transformed into a classroom/office. I am writing this whilst desperately trying to zone out the constant drone of my 10 year old boy’s running commentary of every activity he’s doing, and simultaneously breathing a sigh of relief for the arrival of the BBC Bitesize online lessons!

I’ve been logging on at 7am as much as possible, to get a few hours of productivity in before the mayhem of juggling work and schooling, and to take part in the torture that is Joe Wicks PE – it’s fairly safe to say that Spider Man Lunges and Kangaroo Hops are a new (and painful) addition to my working day!

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m finally starting to settle in to a new routine. For the first few weeks I felt like my brain had literally shut down, that all creativity had left the building and I’ve genuinely never felt so exhausted.

As a single parent (and for lots of us for different reasons I’m sure), my working day was a huge chunk of my social life, and the shift to working from home/lock down felt hugely isolating – I really missed being able to bounce ideas off others, the human interaction, and my daily dose of work-related banter!

As a creative person and manager for the innovation lab, I spent way longer than I should have being too hard on myself; Why was I not immediately stepping up and juggling my usual 10 projects at once? Why had my usual ‘get up and go’ had officially got up and gone?

The more I tried to ‘force’ big ideas, the more my brain seemed to shut down, and the less I felt able to focus.

So I used the Easter Break to re-group and be kinder to myself all round – I launched myself into exercise (something I’ve been putting off for a long time), began meditating (another big procrastination of mine) , and writing a daily mindfulness journal. These seemingly small steps have made a really big difference.

Slowly but surely my creativity is returning, I’m feeling more focussed, and I’ve managed to form a plan of action for the lab moving forward (not to mention a seeing a marked improvement in my Spider Man lunging performance)!

I’m doing virtual lunchtime workouts with my friends, video calls with my colleagues, and I’m slowly adjusting to seeing myself on a screen without constantly cringing and fidgeting with my hair.

Not every day is perfect, and some are definitely more productive than others. But we’re all adapting to a huge change, finding our way through un-chartered waters, and finding time for self-care is more important than ever.

So here’s a coffee break ‘cheers’ to taking one day (and snack request) and a time, doing what we can, and most importantly being a little kinder to ourselves.

Until I can see you in person, stay home, get creative and make something amazing!

Library Innovation Lab Manager

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