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Introducing...The Pandemic and Me.

It goes without saying that this past year has been EXTREMELY difficult. The Covid-19 pandemic is the event that no one was prepared for and it has certainly turned life as we know it completely upside down.

Whilst this time has been super hard for us all, there are certain individuals who have had to step up to extra pressure and face more challenges than most. From nurses working around the clock in highly stressful and, quite frankly, scary environments, to those working in sectors that have faced extreme financial instability during this period, we wanted to reach out to some wonderful people who have a particularly unique experience of the pandemic.

This inspired us to make a mini weekly blog series where we have a chit chat with some wonderful guests who can tell us first hand about how 2020 has impacted their lives. Introducing...

The Pandemic and Me.

We have been lucky enough to speak to 8 fantastic individuals who have kindly shared their own experiences for our interview series. These individuals have dealt with unstable and unpredictable circumstances in their working lives, all whilst adjusting to the new norms faced by the entire world. We want the stories of these wonderful people to be heard by as many people as possible, so please share these stories with your friends, family and anyone who you think will enjoy reading this series.

So, without further ado, let's chat to our first guest...

 

NAME: Manisha Aggarwal

LOCATION: Manchester 

JOB: Full-time Student & Part-time Support Worker

Hey there! Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do for work?

 Firstly, I’m a full-time psychology student and currently in my final year. Alongside my studies I work as a support worker for children with learning difficulties. 

What have you found most challenging in the past year?

I have definitely found it difficult to keep my motivation going as it was hard to look forward to anything because it was difficult to plan things and see where life is  generally going. I’ve also found it difficult to keep doing the things I usually enjoy like dance. Dance is one of my favourite hobbies but with studios being shut and limited spaces in some classes it was hard to find enjoyment in online classes. I found this particularly difficult because dance is my release and my break from uni work and I always felt amazing after classes but without them, uni work became something I felt as though I had to do all the time because there was nothing else to do. 

What’s your life motto?

 My life motto would be to go for any opportunity that is present, even if it scares you or you fear failure. Things can go one of two ways, if it goes well… then great! But if it doesn’t then it’s a life lesson, you’ll always learn something despite the outcome of it. I think that’s the most important thing and you’ll never grow from being too comfortable. Stepping out of your comfort zone is where you’ll gain the best life lessons and grow as a person. 

How has Covid-19 changed your outlook on life?

It has made me realise that life is definitely spontaneous. It’s good to plan things, but not to over-plan because things can change instantly and it can ruin plans and make you feel down about it. However, if you take everything day by day or month by month and set mini goals you can achieve the bigger ones. It’s also showed me that it’s okay if things don’t go to plan because there’s always alternatives and it’s also about being patient with yourself and trust the process. 

How have you been keeping upbeat and positive during this period?

Firstly, I’d say by being grateful for the job role that I’m in as a support worker. This is because I’m able to have an impact on children’s lives and support parents through a difficult time. Knowing this has kept me going because I feel appreciated by parents and it’s truly kept me positive. Secondly, keeping social contact with family and friends, I mean were we really in a pandemic if we didn’t do one zoom quiz? This helped me to have something to look forward to and to enjoy speaking with friends and family by keeping that contact. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in life and/or in the past year?

No one is behind and no one is ahead. We’re all truly on a different paths and we all have different goals. We become so focussed on the future that we forget that we want what someone else has but they will want something you have. So it’s important to be grateful for what I have because the past version of me would be thrilled with what I’ve achieved now. I’ll never be happy if I keep comparing myself and/or keeping looking to achieve more in the future without appreciating the now. So instead of me thinking that I feel behind because I’m not in a relationship, changing my thoughts to I feel proud because I’ll be graduating soon with a job that has taught me so much, makes me feel like I’m on my own path, going at my own pace. 

What 3 things do you look forward to doing most once we are in a safe position to do so?

Going back to more dance classes and falling in love with dance all over again. Going on holiday. Spending time with the people that I love. 

How have you practiced self care/self love during this difficult time?

 I have tried my best to give myself regular breaks from uni work and also saying no to any overtime hours I am unable to do. This is because I know that I need to put my wellbeing first. To do this I had to make sure that I’m not obsessively thinking about uni work all the time or making sure that I’m constantly working extra hours. I had to remind myself that any spare time I have doesn’t mean it has to be productive and that I can just rest and not feel guilty about it. 

If you were one of our soap bars, which would you be and why?

Ooo! Hard one, I think maybe the coconut one! I have so much energy and I’m absolutely unapologetically me. I love both my inner self and have recently learnt to love my body. I’ve accepted myself and I’m nuts about it! 

 Here’s your chance to give a shoutout to someone who has gotten you through the past few months! What is their name and how have they helped you?

I’d have to say Rebecca Fuller! She’s always there to listen to me whether I have something to rant about or some news I want to share. She’s always up to hearing my little life updates and constantly reassures me if I ever feel worried about anything. I appreciate her so much. 

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