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Meaningful conversation and social distancing

Lisa Paul
Occupational Therapy Lecturer Lisa Paul describes her experience of working through lockdown and wants your help to prepare others in case of ongoing or future periods of isolation by taking part in her research.

How is everyone coping with the Rona roller-coaster? It’s a question often asked in our regular coffee meetings on Teams. Six weeks ago I had no idea what Teams with a capital T was. Now it is the chat at the kettle, it’s the weekly meeting and its Friday Sundowners. All in my slippers.  

Rona Roller-coaster has impacted each member of the team differently, each with our own story. My Story? I am as happy as a pig in a onesie eating last night’s curry on the morning Teams check in. As much as I could easily be mistaken for a socialite, I love being at home, I love reading, painting and writing; and I love my slippers.  

The Rona has taken away time with my parents but has given me time to reconnect with other lost loves that are meaningful to me. I have also gotten to know my neighbours, some more than necessary. If you have large windows, live on a main road, please do remember people can see you at the windows! 

I do miss hugs though. It was a conversation with a friend that planted a little seed in my mind. We were discussing how each of us were experiencing lockdown differently. What came out of that conversation was my Occupational Therapy know how. I was filling my time that would have normally been spent with family and friends with other meaningful occupations. Occupations are what we do to occupy our time. Occupations are painting, taking a bath, baking a cake or even having a cocktail with your team on a Friday. Occupations can also include paid work, like the roles we identify with as a member of the RGU community. How we engage with our RGU roles has changed, I bet for most, quite significantly.  

Now, my experience is not everyone’s experience of lockdown and the subsequent forced working from home, and home schooling, and partners also trying to get space on the internet for a meeting, and what on earth are we having for lunch today? Teenagers regressing to bedrooms or baking the equivalent of a corner shop. During Teams calls, little ones clinging to any available limb, partners clinging to the other. Worry about elderly parents, unable to visit and give a reassuring hug.  

There are commonalities in our different experiences and I am interested in finding out how as a community we are all doing during this surreal period. What can we learn from each other? How have you overcome the challenges? Your story could help someone else.  

That little seed planted in a conversation with my friend, grew rapidly into a research proposal which impacted my school management team, and found its way to the top of the tree for approval. The interest from those that have been consulted is encouraging. How do we as a community go forward if this current forced working from home continues? How do we prepare for any future working at home periods?  

I want to hear your story.  

If you would like to share your story, confidentially as part of the research study, please download the full details of the research and jump to the survey to take part.  

Stay Well. 

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