Catherine’s story – working through COVID-19
"I spent a significant period of time home working and often crave isolation rather than miss it."
Reflecting since the beginning of COVID-19 has only made me more determined to resist traditional ways of working for both my team and me. Going into the pandemic the organisation I founded, MHScot Workplace Wellbeing (MHScot), was in a great place due to increasing conversations and awareness of just how important mental health and wellbeing is in a workplace setting.
I set up MHScot to manage my own physical and mental health challenges and move away from the long hours and intensity of the charity sector. My primary condition, Fibromyalgia, although not considered progressive, does have many associated conditions which have been challenging.
In the last year I have been able to bring in more wonderful people to deliver our courses and workshops. I spent a significant period of time home working and often crave isolation rather than miss it. There are expectations and pressures from society and the economy on how people think we need to work which impacted my physical and mental health. I’ll admit, I often took them to heart. It also doesn’t help that I experience a lot of imposter emotions derived from my past.
COVID-19 has completely turned that on its head, and I actually feel a huge weight has lifted for me individually and for the organisation. The pace, space and environmental changes have brought me huge benefits.
Pace – we don’t need to operate at the speed we do, to pretend we always need to be busy.
Space – for me, sensory overload from the hustle and bustle is a big problem. Finally it’s perfectly acceptable to video chat whereas before I felt pressured to operate a certain way.
Environment – stick me on an island and I’d be in my element. For now though, my environment where I live is pleasant again. Fresh air and less light and noise pollution.
Don’t get me wrong we have been financially impacted and still face an uncertain future. However I’m probably more nervous about ‘going back to business as usual’ when what we really need to do is grasp this opportunity and do things differently to include and benefit far more people in Scotland.
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