I'm not usually one for New Year's resolutions and given it is April already, I may be a little late. But I'm finally making progress with the classic work-life balance challenge to slow down.
The dreaded Covid experience has forced me to get more realistic about how many hours there are in a day. Working from home is often more intense than in an office, especially when combined with delightful offspring and attempts at homeschooling.
Covid is also reminding us of our mortality and the level of luck that goes into our personal health circumstances. While it looks like the current peak is passing, we still have a huge number of new cases and dozens of deaths announced each day, including our first local loss – my condolences to their family and friends. Now is definitely not the time to get casual about risks.
What to do when feeling trapped at home, particularly after a week of isolation as household contacts? Walks by the river, a swim at the beach, sitting outside at a cafe, and catching up on the latest season of Bridgerton on Netflix were just the prescription for me – all accompanied by our new puppy.
Mac the foxy-poodle cross is great company on these activities now he's fully vaccinated and is going for walks. Yes, vaccinations are a superb piece of modern medicine for our pets too, particularly with a reported parvo outbreak across the country.
So it is concerning to read other childhood vaccination rates in New Zealand are heading downward. Back at the start of this global pandemic, I reminded a more vaccine-hesitant friend of the not-so-distant tragedy in Samoa with measles – preventable deaths of babies and children due to a lack of vaccination. I read recently that some community vaccination levels are such that doctors are concerned there is a growing risk of a breakout here.
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Life is for living so I'm not saying live in fear, but do consider whether you're doing what's in your control to reduce the risk of you or your kids getting sick or of passing infection on to someone vulnerable.
Even though I'm lucky enough to spend my paid hours putting my energy to work for good, whether it's Thrive helping people move from benefit to self-employment, growing kaupapa-driven enterprise across New Zealand or advocating for the environment at the council, in reality, sometimes my working hours are tiring. I haven't always been good at practising a good work-life balance and turning off my brain (and my social media channels!) with those clear boundaries between work, rest and play.
But it has to be done to survive in these overwhelming times. Don't put it off. Don't wait until December 31 rolls around again. Make one little change to get a bit more control back in your days. My doom-scrolling through Twitter has been traded in for walks with the bundle of joy that is Mac, and life is the better for it.
• Nicola Patrick is a mum of two boys, a Horizons councillor, leads Thrive Whanganui, is a Green Party member and has a science degree.