Furlough Living; tips for getting through lockdown without work

Furlough Living; tips for getting through lockdown without work

April 18, 2020 7:46 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Millennials are passionate about work and how it forms their identity, a point I will argue with anyone who suggests otherwise.  For many of us, work is a lifestyle choice rather than something we start at nine and finish at five.  

I believe this is down to the values instilled in us from an early age by parents, teachers and other authority figures that we grew up respecting and looking up to, who taught us to work hard and that if you do, success will follow.  It’s added to by the pop culture diet many of us grew up on; after a while, being told that if you put your mind to it you’ll accomplish anything, stops becoming one of the key tenets of a film and starts seeping in to how you approach your life.  

There is a wider discussion to be had about whether or not this all-encompassing approach is entirely healthy, however one of the issues Covid-19 has thrown us is that a great number of individuals have been furloughed.  So what do you do on lockdown when you can’t even work?  

As one of the many this applies to, I’ve broken down five tips from my lockdown life in the hope that they may help you:

  1. Review the situation.  Furlough absolutely requires a shift of mindset, and whilst usually I’d be excited to have spare time, lockdown means that much of what I’d choose to do with it is inaccessible to me.  Having an idea of how you’ll keep occupied is incredibly important, whether that’s changing your living space, learning a skill, improving your cooking, getting fitter or something completely different.  Exactly as with your career, take time to review where you are, create goals and work out how you can best achieve them. I would also advise listening to your instincts and let them guide you, rather than trying to do something just because you think you should.  
  2. Routine.  Maintaining your sense of routine is vital.  Although I’ve never been a morning person, I am still setting my alarm in the morning, pausing my chosen daytime activity for lunch at a reasonable hour and kicking back during the evening.  That daily sanctioned exercise also provides a great opportunity to carve some routine into the day, and is something you can use to mark a clean break between daytime and evening, or incorporate into your morning to mark a start to your day.  
  3. Radio.  My job has involved tranches of working from home for several months and I cannot recommend listening to the radio highly enough.  Music, podcasts and TV are all wonderful, but listening to the radio will make you feel more connected and less alone. If you’re used to working in an office, having it on during the day is the closest you’ll get to office noise without actually being in an office.  Find a radio station you chime with (or several) and tune in.  
  4. Relationships.  We are so lucky to be going through Covid-19 when we have the ability to talk to our family and friends in so many ways.  Keep touching base with friends and loved ones and remember that on furlough as much as ever, a problem shared is a problem halved.  Those relationships you’ve built are as important as ever as a means of support through this extraordinary time.  
  5. Remember to be kind to yourself.  Have you not followed a routine today?  Did you stay in your pjs all day? Did you eat three Easter eggs and drink half a bottle of gin instead?  Have you binged Love Is Blind and not spoken to anyone?  


Don’t put pressure on yourself.  For all tips 1-4 are intended to be helpful, you cannot beat yourself up if you have a day off sticking to a routine or duck out of that Zoom quiz.  We are all going to have days where it may feel a little overwhelming and we just can’t find our usual motivation. If today’s the day you need to have a two hour bath, eat all the Easter eggs, or sit in your PJs, then do it.  Start fresh tomorrow. Embrace your furlough achievements and know that some days, getting out of bed is the achievement. And that’s okay.  

There are no two ways about it, when something that is a part of your identity is taken away from you, making the mental adjustment is difficult.  But know that as with the rest of the hurdles Covid-19 has put up, will eventually be jumped over and you will return to work. Furlough is not forever.  


By Danielle Gibson, Marketing Committee


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