Mental Health Staff Champion Aba Maison (Business Improvement Unit) shares her experience of lockdown and returning to campus.
I’m a bit of an introvert, but sometimes take this too far - isolating myself. This rarely works well for me. I knew I needed a plan. With my Project Manager hat on, I can split my lockdown experience into three distinct phases:
Phase 1 – Lockdown Enthusiasm
Being apart from my partner was tough in the first few weeks. We decided early on that if we were to fulfil our desire to grow old together, sharing a household during lockdown wasn’t the best idea – We have very different approaches to keeping house!
To start with I was disciplined, cycling the same distance as my usual daily cycle commute, getting to know my local area better instead.
My routine includes visiting my local shop for a morning coffee. A meditative walk to get there, listening to the birds, soaking up the early (ish) morning sunshine, and connecting in person with the lovely family that run the shop.
Having never baked anything since school, I take to muffin making, using my neighbours as guinea pigs. Everyone survived, we got to know each other a bit better – all good!
Phase 2 – Lockdown Fatigue
Cycle explorations have become infrequent. A quick lunch time walk with a friend is all I’m managing. The corner shop experience now includes buying and consuming my body weight in dark chocolate Hob Nobs. Lockdown lard is rapidly forming.
George Floyd’s killing heaps on layers of rage, sadness and distress. Memories of the death of Roger Sylvester, a former colleague, come flooding back. Things start to go south...
- Meeting fellow Mental Health Champions, responding to events and gathering resources
- LSE EmbRace’s Black Lives Matter message
- Legally mixing households with my partner
Phase 3 – Campus Calling
Risk assessment conducted, safe return arrangements with Estates completed, I mount my trusty steed and pedal the familiar route to campus.
Half way, I realise I’ve forgotten my ID card. Grrrrr. Back home to grab card – I hit campus a tad later than planned. With a one way system in place, my route to the bike store is unfamiliar – my card won’t get me through all the doors… Finally I make it into the office and a welcome physically distanced encounter with an actual colleague.
I’ve been back a few days a week since the beginning of August. It’s pretty quiet. Slowly other colleagues are returning. I feel pretty safe. This may change as more people return. For me, the benefits of being on campus outweigh the risks. I’m lucky I can cycle to work.
My top tips for returning to campus?
See you when you’re comfortable returning and good luck!