How did I cope with being on furlough for over three months?

If you told me six months ago what was about to happen with the world, I wouldn’t believe you.

Starting off 2020 was great, celebrating my 29th Birthday in Lanzarote. I promised myself that this will be the best year ever, that I will totally enjoy my last twentieth, and that I will see so many new places and try so many new things. Well, that didn’t quite work out. I like to have a plan, I like to stick to some routines. I was working nine till five five-days a week, my travel blog and everything was heading in a good direction and I was looking forward to visiting my family in Slovakia in May. I also had a solo weekend planed in Southern France and we just booked a cruise for my 30th Birthday in January 2021. I was just ready to truly enjoy everything. You know that feeling, right?

And then… Boom. Covid-19 happened. Our office shut and I was furloughed. England, like the rest of the world, went in lockdown and everything went downhill. Total sh*t, if you ask me.

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you do buy items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you, but it helps me to run this blog ?)

How did I cope with furlough?

Not very well. I cried because I was scared I will lose my job and that I wasn’t very important for my company. I’ve only been there since July 2019, so I thought I will be the first one to go if anything happens to our business. It wasn’t only me though, it was all the marketing team and over time even more people from our company. But still. It was different, it was scary and with the restrictions and late reactions the UK had, it was very overwhelming, and not in a good way.

I didn’t know what do to. I was made furlough at the beginning of April, we couldn’t go out, only to the shops for essential things and one hour of exercise once a day. Total nightmare. I’m used to doing things all the time, I get up at 5, work on my blog, go to work, go to the gym, cook dinner and work on the blog again and then go to sleep. I don’t stop, I keep myself busy all the time. This whole routine fell apart and with it, I fell apart. The very first week I didn’t do anything. I slept til 8 – 9am, which is unusual for me, and then just wandered our house like a zombie. I had no plans, no motivation, I hated it and I had a mental break down. Well, more like meltdown than a breakdown to be honest. After my meltdown, I had a massive talk with myself, told myself off and realised that I have to do something. So, I spent about £70 on Sims 4 in the first weeks and I just played for a few days, all the time. Great way to kill that treasured time we have, right? I’m not a gamer, I actually hate when people spent days and days playing games without any motivation to do anything else. Carl had told me to start making the most of the free time I had as it doesn’t come around too often, and I agreed, so I stopped wasting my time. I then signed up to an online Spanish course, but I couldn’t be arsed. So, I paid for Illustrator Certifications, and along with an urge to improve my skills to help my blog and my job, I’ve started to learn other areas regarding digital marketing. I was finally restoring my broken routine.

Printable Travel Planner 

Keeping myself busy, I went back on my Social Media, got inspired by other travel blogs, even if travelling wasn’t allowed I loved to dive in and pretend I was somewhere else. One of the best ideas (along with many others) I had over the lockdown was creating a 14-Page Printable Travel Planner. You must think that’s a crazy idea – creating a travel planner when no one can travel – well it was, but since I launched it back in May – this travel planner has already got over 100 subscribers alone! Yay!

 

We’ve built a desk (well, I helped)

So, being home for so long, I tried to work in every single corner of our house, but mainly on Carl’s PC. With him decorating the office and turning it into his man cave, I started to feel like I needed my own space, plus Carl wanted his PC back. I didn’t have anywhere to put all my ideas, vision board, pins and looking at Pinterest every day didn’t help either. When Carl was home for a few weeks, he suggested to build me a desk in the living room. Inspired by Pinterest home decor stuff, we went to B&Q, got some wood, paint and three days later my desk was built. It’s perfect, it has everything I need and enough space to do all my tasks. But then…

Bought a PC

…then my laptop wasn’t powerful enough. I mean, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 I have is an excellent laptop, it’s actually a 2-1 so the screen can be separated from the keyboard and used as a tablet. But for all the writing, photo editing, video editing, and having at least 20 Google Chrome tabs open, it just wasn’t enough. So now I have a proper PC, and I get so much more work done. 

 

Interview with BBC Radio Derby

retro microphone isolated on color background

While building my followers base on Social Media and engaging with people, especially on Twitter (if you don’t know – Twitter is by far my most favourite Social Platform) I was approached by Hannah from BBC Radio Derby. She asked if I would like to do a short live interview on the Bank Holiday Morning. I was surprised, but very happy – especially when the viewings on my travel section didn’t do very well during the pandemic. For me, as a Slovakian girl living in the UK and writing in English – this was huge and I spent the entire weekend preparing, recording my voice and learning how to talk slowly (I talk very fast, especially when nervous). I truly enjoyed being interviewed on a live show! Thank you to all team from the BBC Radio Derby and if you are interested, you can listen to it via this link: BBC Radio Derby Interview.

Garden, swimming pool, BBQs

Have you heard of Murphy Laws? Well, England is known for its crappy weather with rain and miserable grey clouds. But guess what? During the lockdown, we had one of the hottest days of the year and plenty of sunshine. So Carl ordered a swimming pool for our garden in April, but it didn’t turn up until the end of May when the weather went back to normal! This is what Murph Laws is! I spent so much time in the garden during the lockdown and so many times I pretended I’m somewhere tropical, it actually felt really nice! We had a few BBQs and drank cocktails out of pineapples, and it actually felt really nice. Thinking back to that point, I had finally gotten used to ‘working’ from home and enjoying my routine. For the first time ever I got a nice tan from the English sun.

Certifications and Side Hustle

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve started learning Illustrator and still am, and who knew that one day the software I hated would become kind of fun? Apart from vectors and illustrations I also improved my digital marketing skills by taking some online courses with Yoast, Google and HubSpot. Not only because I want to be better at my job, but I knew that this was the perfect time to learn something new, but maybe to start something new too.

Talking about starting something new, since the lockdown started I had an urge to do something bigger. To have my own business, side hustle, or something where I could broadcast my skills and help other bloggers or small business who don’t have a lot of knowledge about marketing and Social Media. I read a lot of motivational books and searched for ideas, but I wasn’t sure. Until one morning I woke up and the idea just hit me. She Means Digital was created.

She Means Digital is all about Digital Marketing and Graphic Design, so if you need help with things like websites, logo designing or SEO then head over to my other page or contact me via my new email hello@shemeansdigital.com for more information!
To help other bloggers and small business owners with Social Media, I created a Free Social Media Bundle which you can download here: https://shemeansdigital.com/social-media-bundle-landing

Etsy Store

Alongside She Means Digital, I also opened up Etsy Store for my Digital Art with mainly travel-oriented printables. So if you like Wall Art, go check it out! https://www.etsy.com/shop/shemeansdigital

Bird and hedgehogs

We moved into our house back in October, so this is our first summer here too. One weekend we found a young blackbird in our garden, unable to fly yet, but determined to do so. Its parents kept flying around, keeping an eye on it and feeding it. We tried to look after it and keep all the cats away, but we are not really sure if the bird flew away or something worse happened. We read you are not supposed to interfere with nature and we didn’t want to keep it in the box when it was learning how to fly, so we are really hoping that the young blackbird flew away with its parents.

The following weekend after the bird disappeared, Carl was cleaning out the shed and found a group of hedgehogs. A mum and four babies, who must have been no more than two weeks old, hiding in our lawnmower. We tried to call a few hedgehogs rescue centres near Derby, but due to COVID-19 and centres being full with other wild animals, we really didn’t know what to do. Our garden and shed wouldn’t be safe for them, because of local cats and being renovated, so we had to rehome them. Luckily, my dear friend and colleague John with his partner offered to look after them for us, until they are big and strong enough to be released back into the wild. Luckily, the hedgehog’s story ended up with a happy ending and thanks to the great care of John and Emma, the hedgehogs were released a few days ago! 🙂 Plus, if you are into books and writing, you really have to check John’s blog Tales of Absurdia. He launched it during the lockdown and I’m super proud of him! 🙂 https://talesfromabsurdia.com/

Articles Published during the lockdown

There are also a few articles I published during the lockdown, mainly about lifestyle and motivation since the travel industry wasn’t doing so well. I tried to catch up with some of my old posts and videos I’ve been meaning to do. Here is a list if you’ve yet to read them:

 

I was assured that I won’t lose my job and I’ve been back working part-time since last week. I’m extremely grateful that I have a job to come back to. I know it has been difficult for everybody and plenty of people was made redundant, so I hope it really didn’t hit you too hard.

 

How did you cope with the whole lockdown situation?

 

Take care,

 

Karina x

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