After almost a year of working from home, periodically while keeping two small children entertained and home schooled, I was at the end of my tether in December. Starting a big project and recruiting a group of new people, managing my group in Manchester, continuing to teach, Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting – keeping all the balls in the air, bending over backwards to get everything done, firefighting since March. The constant, constant pressure of everything, and not having time for anything. It had all been too much. And then, just before the Christmas holiday that I needed more than ever, we went into a full lockdown again. I was so run down, I could not go on like this. I needed a plan.
I needed a plan to make sure I would not burn myself out, to reduce the constant feeling of anxiety (triggered by constantly checking email and Twitter), and to restore the confidence that I had lost over the past months. Yes, I had lost confidence. Stuck at my computer in sweat pants, wiping bums while on Zoom calls, I felt like I did when I was on maternity leave: reduced to a mum, and nothing but a mum. And of course, the people on the other side of my screen were all still professional, and able to think coherently, and in control of their work, and their lives. Or so I thought. Continue reading