Published on Fri, 05/03/2021 - 13:49
Jacqueline Baker
yellow daffodils

Well, that was a strange year!

I suspect like me, you have made a few changes over the last year. For me this included seeing a lot less of my friends and loved ones in person, making sure my 82-year-old dad got his shopping and everything else he needed (luckily for me he was in my bubble so I still got to spend a lot of time with him) and pretty much hunkering down at home with my husband - hoping everyone near and dear to me came out of the Covid-19 pandemic unscathed.

And then there was work – at Thresholds, we worked flat out last March to convert our modules to a Zoom platform and throughout the year continued refining our approach and our learning to make our modules as close to the face-to-face experience as we could. As a result, lots of you have told us that (although of course we naturally miss that connection we all get on a face-to-face basis) the virtual sessions worked well and participants appreciated our efforts to create a welcoming interactive experience from the safety of their own homes.

Unlike others, I didn’t face the challenge of homeschooling. I take my hat off to those of you who did this. Other members of the Thresholds team juggled Maths and English lessons with delivering Thresholds sessions and often talked about the emotional toll it took on their children and themselves. As a School Governor of my local Infant School, I also witnessed the struggles faced by the teaching staff who were trying to teach, clean, record and prepare distanced learning, handle worried parents and cope with their own anxieties about their families’ health and well-being.

We have heard some extremely sad stories from participants with some reporting being ill with Covid-19, coping with the after-effects of illness - and my heart goes out to those who have, very sadly, lost friends and loved ones.

Nearly a year on and the world is starting to look more optimistic – Spring is in the air (always my favourite time of the year), the flowers have started peeping out at us and we have a Road Map which will, hopefully, see us all returning to normal. But what will the new normal look like?

As well as the obvious challenges the pandemic has thrown up, there have been some positives for me. Strangely, as we are not office based, I feel closer to my Threshold colleagues than I did this time last year. We now have regular weekly check-ins so that we can keep up to date with both work issues and what is happening to us personally. I am lucky to be part of such a fantastic team of women who support and champion each other and I have valued this more than ever this past year.

I am also in much more regular contact with my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews than we have ever been before. We now have a family WhatsApp group that keeps us very much in contact about what we are all up to on a daily basis. We have had some fab Zoom birthday parties too!

I now take much more exercise than before the lockdown and enjoy daily walks with my husband. I have actually lost some weight while working at home, having had more time to think about what I was eating.

I felt more connected to my neighbours too. Everyone has made sure the elderly and infirm in the road are looked after and have everything they need. It was a lovely ritual when we all went out each week to clap the NHS and there definitely seemed to be a much more caring, appreciative atmosphere. Even when out walking, it was great to see people respecting each other’s space and crossing the road to avoid close contact but still waving a thank you for doing so. It reminded me that it is so important to me to live somewhere where people care for and respect each other.

What I definitely haven’t missed, If I am honest, is a minimum of 3 hours travelling per day!

So, while it will be great to go out for dinner with my friends and colleagues, see and hug my wider family (my 8-year-old niece has had her bag packed to come and stay for weeks now in anticipation of the lockdown ending), there are some things I hope we don’t lose once we are all released to lead more ‘normal’ lives.

In Module 2 of the Thresholds Programme – Getting the balance right for you, we encourage you to draw up an ideal life pattern setting out an aspirational weekly/ monthly plan including both work and home activities. As we get back to the ‘new normal’ it would be a great time to do this either for the first time if you haven’t completed the Thresholds Programme or repeat the exercise.

This will help identify the positive aspects from the last year that you want to continue with while factoring in some of the things you are dying to get back to doing!

So, we encourage you ladies to exercise your Want Muscle to get the most out of your life and pack it full of exciting experiences that make you feel happy and fulfilled.

Let’s make the new normal even better than it was before!