iSpeak Blog

Balance: What Does That Even Mean in Today’s Society?

Tamara Hamovic
Balance: What Does That Even Mean in Today’s Society?

As a young Science graduate, I couldn’t think of anything worse than being stuck at the same desk, day in / day out, in a stuffy office, doing the same thing day after day, just to earn a living. There had to be more to life, right? I wanted to travel the world, see new places, not be defined by what I do or how I look, and most definitely not be pigeonholed due to my career choice or hair colour.

Roll on 20 years later, and I work in what you could class as a stuffy, open-plan office, shared by 40+ other colleagues. No privacy, peace, or quiet. I spend my days mainly working on companywide digitalisation projects as a software validation expert, in the Cell and Gene Therapy arena. In my spare time, I rescue and rehome domestic and wild animals (mainly cats and hedgehogs), train and coach kickboxing as a way of stress relief, fitness, and giving back to younger generations.

Of course, I still do my best to keep the dream alive and travel to far-flung places when being grown-up allows. Think of places that women traditionally are advised not to travel to on their own, and that’s where I want to go!

And then, just as I figured life out (or so I thought), the COVID-19 pandemic reared its head, days after my return from Morocco and camel rides across the desert (one suspected transmission route). In a space of weeks, my mum was feeling very poorly at home with COVID-19 and my dad had been admitted to hospital with it. As mum was starting to recover, dad was going downhill fast, and my sister started to show symptoms. I was not allowed anywhere near my family (for obvious reasons), and under normal circumstances, this would have been just fine, but suddenly it’s all I wanted to do.

Suddenly, I found myself working from home (the silence was deafening), unable to train or travel, yet I was more stressed and under pressure than ever before. I could feel myself beginning to crack under the pressure of trying to balance this new lifestyle and had stopped listening to my body and mind as I naively thought that working from home during a pandemic would be a breeze and I’d have lots of spare time.

I turned to holistic practitioner friends for help and support, as some pharmaceutical products tended to numb the pain and stress, turning me into somewhat of a zombie. I have had to relearn so many things I took for granted over the years. I am now taking joy from little things and taking time out during the day for myself in order to keep my sanity and productivity up, accepting that I’m only human and that this does not make me weak.

I’ve signed up for mindfulness courses, attended yoga seminars, worked on my garden and plants (I have a little Cacti obsession), taken long walks in nature and learned to just be still and breathe.

Now that my family members are on the recovery path from COVID-19 and there looks to be a light at the end of the tunnel, I have come to realise that nothing lasts forever, and we have to learn to adapt the best that we can.

During times of big changes, we need to confer with ourselves and ensure we do whatever it takes to keep ourselves on an even keel. I for one will work much more on listening to my body and using that as a guide for taking time out from my schedule, no matter how busy or deadline bound, because it’s the only sure-fired way to keep going long-term.

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