Covid-19 one year on: Lessons we’re grateful we’ve learned

It’s been a whole year since we started working from home, and keeping ourselves motivated, healthy and reaching our career goals has been trickier, but more important, than ever. While the pandemic has affected everyone differently there is no doubt that its impacts have been gendered, with women often facing more significant pressures at work and at home.

As part of our IWD celebrations and reflections, a recent sharing circle enabled Agulhas’ women to support one another by sharing some of the great lessons they’ve learned in their careers and lives.

Below, we share just 10 that we’re grateful to have learned, that continue to inspire and encourage us, and that we hope can help everyone.

1.  Your network is your net worth

Don’t underestimate the value of your network; keep making time to connect with the people who motivate you and support you to reach your goals.

2.  Show up as your whole, authentic self

The value you bring to a team is your unique perspective, so don’t underestimate the worth of your voice, your mind and your story; no one else sees the world as you do, and that’s your superpower.

3.  Go where your interests take you

Enjoy and celebrate your differences and your unique interests. Find people and teams who will celebrate them. Be curious; you never know what you’ll learn and where you’ll go.

4.  Be your own cheerleader

Work consciously to ignore the voice in your head that undermines your confidence – concentrate on what you can do, and not on what you can’t.

5.  Self-care isn’t just a job for you

Bonding with your colleagues (whether it’s a coffee or a virtual team Pilates session!) is self-care too. Lean on your network to support you and bring you joy.

6.  Channel your frustrations with oppression into social justice movements 

The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have affected us all, but these impacts have hit the most marginalised societies the hardest. Whether it’s by donating, supporting businesses with the same values as you, dedicating time to share awareness-raising materials or signing petitions, try to support people who are at the forefront of tackling injustices in whatever ways you can.

7.  Listen to your body

When you’re exhausted, rest. When you feel like you need to move away from your desk, be sure to make the time. Moving your body; a walk, a stretch, a dance to your favourite song, is so important. Get moving in some sunshine if you can!

8. Be selfish

You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take time to do something that brings you a small joy every day – listen to music, colour in, be creative, jump around to music, read a book, call a friend, light a candle – anything. When things get tough, people will need to lean on you for support – so take time to be selfish and keep your cup full, and it will benefit your dependents and everyone around you.

9.  Prepare

There will be bad days and good days. On a good day, do what you can to prepare for a bad day, and make sure you have the tools you might need to help you have a better day when you need them.

10.  Curate your content

Be careful with the content you consume online. Follow accounts that bring you joy, but if it makes you feel pressure, jealousy or anything else don’t be afraid to unfollow, turn off notifications and take a break when you need to.

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