Category Archives: Life Under Covid19

Here We Are

Is this the point when we can look back and say it was like a bad dream?

When businesses, schools and workplaces had to close. When there was debate over what was considered essential services. When everything that could suddenly went online and things that we never thought were possible or normal suddenly became widespread and rampant. 

I remember the early days of our country’s version of a lockdown, and I feel terrible to admit… I remembered feeling happy. 

Ok, relieved, to be exact. 

I was relieved that I didn’t have to deal with the pressure of showing up at work after crying for most of the night. I was relieved that I didn’t have to use extra energy to function outside of home. I was relieved that I didn’t have to deal with the anxiety with what people thought of me so much, because.. There were no people to deal with, for some time at least. I was so thankful that the bar of what it meant to be a functioning human being had been lowered and felt much more attainable for a period of time.

And of course I felt terrible for having felt this way because I also knew people were suffering. Dying. Families were unable to be united across borders. Livelihoods were being lost. Frontline personnel were being suffocated. And yet, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to physically go to work.

Over the next 2 years, I realise I wanted that sweet spot. The sweet spot of the pandemic still being a THING – so that we couldn’t open up fully, but being able to open up enough so that we could do the minimally normal things like going out for a meal, meeting some people (Eg: Therapists) and have small-enough gatherings. 

And now that the restrictions are slowly but surely disappearing, I am frankly quite terrified. 

Because it means that there’re no more excuses not to have workplace gatherings, face-to-face meetings, to conduct large-scale projects, to have to go on staff retreats and bonding sessions, and company DnDs. It means there’s socially acceptable reason why people should be having lunch alone, or why we should not be seated around a communal table.

And I feel terrible that I am feeling this resistance around things going back to normal, because it’s what everybody has been working so hard for over the past 2 years. It’s what everybody should want… right?

I think the real issue is that I need to stop using the pandemic as an excuse to embrace what I want.

I don’t need a pandemic to help me protect my personal space and downtime during lunch. I can set up those boundaries myself.

I don’t need a pandemic to happen to only make myself available for selected gatherings and meetups. I know which types of interactions are most meaningful for me, and what kind of people recharge, rather than drain me.

I don’t need a pandemic to rationalise my energy levels and how much I want to put out there in the world. I can embrace how much I want to give, how much I need to rest, and what’s the optimal level of functioning for me.

I can learn to do all that. Myself. Without needing a pandemic.

*Deep breath*

Here I am.

it’s ok to feel good about yourself.

These days, it seems extra difficult to allow myself to feel good about myself. Something seems to kick in, as if my body sees feeling good as something dangerous and scary, and uses some mechanism to prevent me from going down that road.

Example 1:

Parent of a child I work with says something nice to me. I feel validated and encouraged, but also wonder if she is going to be disappointed the next time I make a mistake or fall short of expectations.

Example 2:

Colleague asks for my help at work to observe a challenging child in session and suggest what can be done. I feel honoured to be seen as a resource, but also wonder if they might think I don’t really know what I’m saying or suggesting and that they shouldn’t have asked me for help in the first place.

Example 3:

Friend and I are co-hosting a professional workgroup meeting and I help to summarise a journal article for the discussion. I show her the summary and she says it looks “great” and “wonderful”. It feels good to have my efforts appreciated, but I wonder if she is just refraining from hurting my feelings and thinks I won’t be able to accept constructive comments.

Example 4:

I get an opportunity to run a series of online group sessions for an organization. I am excited and passionate about running the groups to the best of my ability and truly believe I can do it. But I also wonder if the organisers agreed to go with me because only my quotation is the lowest and hence they are obligated to use my services.

And the list goes on.

I know it will take time. To allow my body and mind to learn that it is ok to feel good, it is ok to take pride in what you can do, it is ok to celebrate your achievements and abilities. You’re not going to be seen as arrogant and prideful and over-confident for acknowledging your strengths. It’s ok.

All part of the work in progress, right?


It’s been an interesting few months.

I have fluctuated from “This is nice, I could get used to working from home” to “Ok I need meaningful human interaction” to “I need to go home, this is too much” (when I got the interaction), to “This is great, all our meetings are online now!”, to “I am EXHAUSTED from looking at the screen so much.”

I think the frazzled from looking at the screen too much is the latest one. (Which is ironic given what I’m doing in this moment). I think it’s not just the looking at the screen – its the interaction we’re supposed to have through the screen that is leaving me absolutely exhausted.

Having said that, I am also aware that if those meetings had been face-to-face, I would not even have the capacity to be typing this now. I remember the days when I would end meetings with a splitting headache and the fatigue felt in my entire body, the suffocation of being in the same room as people and listening to one person speak – at least now we have the option of turning our camera off (in some settings) and I can doodle or do something relatively mindless to regulate some of the tension during the meetings.

Some thoughts that have been passing through my mind these few days are: Am I normal? Why does this seem to be so difficult for me? Who feels this exhausted from an ONLINE meeting? What’s there to be so frazzled about when all you have to do is sit in front of a screen and be present? Why do I need to feel everything so much and so intensely?

And yes, crying helps, but crying also makes me go into the “am I normal” loop described above.

Still Alive, Still Thinking Too Much

I was preparing my bullet journal for August and it suddenly hit me that we are officially in the second half of 2020…

And things are not getting better.

They do not look like they’re going to get better any time soon.

They might even get worse.

And it sounds like a cliched, pathetic attempt to say this, but I guess all we can do is to find what beauty and joy we can in the moment.


Something that has been tugging my inner guilt strings – the fact that I am not working full-time at the moment. A recent email exchange with one of the places where I provide services informed me that they still have a “no visitor” policy, which I understand as totally valid and needed.

What surprised me was the sense of relief I felt upon hearing that.

And following that, guilt.

I feel guilty that I feel relieved that I have a legit reason not to be working full time right now.

If that makes sense.

In relation to that, I’ve been thinking a lot (probably too much) about our society and expectations and the social constructs of “full time” vs “part time” work, at least in this part of the world.

For example, why do we feel that someone needs a good, valid reason to be working “part time” (kids, caregiving duties, disability, etc)? I can only imagine the “oh ok…..”s should I tell people that I choose to work “part time” because I enjoy having time for myself, because I feel the stimulation of working “full time” to be too much, because “part time” allows me the balance of being meaningfully engaged without being drained, with enough time to recharge and sustain (ie: Reasons that potentially sound selfish and … *gasp*… lazy) …

Having said all that, I understand that being able to choose this “part time” option without too much stress and worry about finances is a luxury, and that many would probably choose this option if only their commitments and responsibilities allow them to do so.

Which then spirals me into another cycle of guilt for seemingly having it easier than others…




Zoom Fatigue

I am tired of seeing my friends and colleagues in squares on my computer screens.

My ears are tired of hearing distorted and sudden bursts of sound through the earpiece.

I am tired of dealing with technical difficulties and latency.


I miss interacting with people face to face – which is an unlikely thing for me to say, I know.

Ok I guess I should edit that. I miss interacting with some people face to face ;p




We Feel Things.

Something that seems to have become more prevalent in social media posts, and in my own reflections and experiences –

Feelings. And how we deal with them.

Suddenly, it has become normal to admit that you’re not as ok as people expect you to be.

There is less pressure on people to offer advice and try to fix things. Because honestly, unless you have a vaccine for Covid-19, there’s nothing much anyone can do right now to fix things in the way we hope to have it fixed.

And to be honest, I’m actually really glad.

I’m not glad for all the suffering, pain, uncertainty and anxiety that is happening around the world right now. 

But I’m glad that the language of uncomfortable feelings and emotions are becoming more normalised and acceptable, especially in societies and cultures where such topics were once extremely taboo and stigmatised.

I’m glad that so many are speaking about how it’s ok to be not ok.

I’m glad that when I felt guilty for feeling safe and protected at home, I found comfort in friends who openly expressed the same feeling, letting me know that I’m not a monster.

I’m glad that there is an acknowledgement of the collective grief we are all experiencing and the support we are giving to help each other through it.


Who would have thought we’d live to see such strange times?

A Whole New World

Today I went out for the first time after the latest new measures were implemented in the country, asking everyone to remain at home as much as possible.

Public parks are one of the few places people are still allowed to visit. They haven’t been shut off… yet.

Everywhere we look, there are reminders that we are living in a totally different and unexpected world.

Everything has changed too fast and too much.

Perhaps its all we can do, to hold on to little moments of physical freedom.

Inhaling the beauty of greenery around us, embracing the expansive blue of the sky, and sighing in quiet joy with the morning shadows.


Hello From The Other Side

Sitting by the window in my room.

At first it struck me how the window grills look like a cage….

But the comforting cup at the corner reminds me that I am not trapped, I am SAFE.

And it is such a blessing to be safe in this moment.

It is such a blessing to have the blue sky to look at.

It is such a blessing to be able to work from home, and drink coffee in my room, and be able to paint the sky and enjoy the sun even from inside.

There is always something to be grateful for.