20:49

Something I have been hearing/reading more of recently is the idea of being ‘Zoomed out’ or ‘video call fatigue’. Whatever platform you use to contact friends and family, there is a term to describe the feeling of being sick and tired of endless video calls. Whether you use them for work meetings, friendly catch ups, games and quizzes or even meal companions, the lock down from Covid-19 has us scrambling for human connection through the only means we have.

Prior to lock down the idea of a video call to me was an inconvenience and slightly daunting. What needs to be said so urgently that the other party needs to see my face? Back in late 2019 my brother and sister-in-law revealed to the family their baby scan via video call on Whatsapp – that was probably the last ‘normal’ use of video call. Starting in March my Whatsapp video calls increased, I joined Zoom and Webex, and I used Google Hangouts for maybe the third or fourth time in my life. During lock down a video call may be the only way to see someone who does not live in close proximity to you.

I attend a video call almost every other day. That may be in the form of me calling my parents for a quick catch up, attending a church fellowship, or simply hanging out with friends and family. My mum loves to show me her cooking/baking and the plants she is growing, and my dad likes to show himself eating said baked goods. A group of friends and I have started a weekly quiz/game night with the quiz master rotating through the group. It has become something that we all look forward to and is a chance for us to hang out virtually. I host an online tea time video call once or twice a month with extended family. We get to see how big the children have grown, comment on each other’s baking triumphs, and catch up on work/furlough news.

Though the idea of a video call used to intimidate me a little, it has quickly become the norm and is a valuable asset in this difficult situation with Covid-19. However is there such thing as too many video calls? Those who are working from home may have mandatory meetings every morning to check in, or clients to contact. Family members may video call instead of a standard phone call, increasing the need to be ‘on’ and present. A friend of mine left a video call because her eyes were sore from staring at the screen. My cousin declined a family video call due to being part of a call for 2 consecutive days. There are more and more people saying no to video calls. There are also those who accept a call, don’t turn on their video and put themselves on mute. A friend called those kind of people ‘lurkers’. I am guilty of doing this sometimes as I am often focussing on something else but not wanting to miss anything important.

Whatever the reason for not attending a video call there is no harm in saying no. This notion of presenting our best selves digitally can be tiring and overbearing. In troublesome times we can do our part by being understanding and mindful of others.

19:22

Tomorrow I head back up to Edinburgh after a longer than usual time spent back at home. This year I was able to arrange my holidays so I could spend 10 days in my home town with my family in December.

Each time I come back my nieces and nephews are a little taller, have learned more about the world and are cheekier than I could have ever imagined! In the downtime at home I was able to catch up with friends and family, spending quality time with those dearest to me.

While I am looking forward to a normal routine again, I will miss the comforts of my holiday back at home. All good things come to an end eventually!

 

23:10

It’s been a fair while since I’ve posted so I feel a little update is overdue!

I moved into a new flat mid-January which has brought about new challenges and exciting times! I have discovered a new love of cooking and planning meals, setting aside time to clean and do chores, and truly embracing down time. I have also been introduced to paying house bills, travelling further to work (thus waking up earlier), and fitting everything into different time schedules.

I have also truly learned to embrace family time at home. Over the holidays I got to relax and catch up with my family, whilst also being busy with gatherings with various friends. I rang in the new year with some of my oldest friends and learned to lie my way through many many games of Secret Hitler. I set up fireworks and screamed out of excitement (and fear) as the new year rang in!

Apologies for the less frequent posts but I am still here working my way through my twenties!

20:25

Currently undergoing trying and testing times due to a family member being in hospital for major surgery and recovery. It made me reconsider the things I hold dear to me. Last week I took an unexpected day off work to go to the hospital with my family. Previously I would have considered how my colleagues would feel picking up my work in my absence, or the fact that I have used all my annual leave already. However I found that I did not think about work that whole day because my heart was concerned with the matters of my family. Worrying about trivial things is not healthy or beneficial. Yes, we need to consider these things in the long run but it is also important that we can drop them at a moment’s notice.

23:15

Last weekend I was able to return home to visit my family for a few days. Though it was a short ‘long weekend’, it was definitely worth it to travel 5.5 hours home and back just to see them. I miss simple home comforts now and again so quick bursts of home satisfy my yearnings.

I am thankful for time with family and friends and the rare times I get to return home. It makes me cherish those times all the more.

22:44

An emergency trip home to visit my grandma in hospital has been the wake up call that I needed. I have been so engrossed in my own matters, my own satisfactions, and my own pleasures, that I have forgotten the things which are most important.

Hearing about the difficulties of my grandma’s operation and hospital stay brought to reality how much I had neglected my own family. Throughout the summer I have been out watching shows, getting dinner with my friends after work, visiting European countries without telling my family… the list goes on.

While I prefer to withdraw myself from people for my own comfort, I do not always remember to check in with my family. I have realised how selfish this is, how my recluse ways are not ideal, and how this affects my own mental health. As I live 300+ miles away from my immediate family, it is very important that I alter my thinking (not only for my family’s sake but also my own).

22:15

In between all the family gatherings and friend feasts I have finally had an evening to myself since I travelled home for the holidays. I had an early and quiet dinner with my mum and my brother before soaking in a hot bath.

As work keeps me busy during the day I have gotten used to having the evenings to myself. I do not mind having the odd event where I need to be out of the house longer than usual, but for the most part I like to be showered and ready for bed by 21:30! The work lifestyle has got me in a set routine, so once the holidays hit it was quite a shock.

As visits home go by so quickly, it makes sense to cram them as to make the most of my time. It has been lovely to catch up with relatives and friends over the past few days. As I do not know the next time I will be able to travel home I shall endeavour to fill my days a little more!

21:51

It is almost the time of year where I get to travel home! Working life is completely different to studying life. I have only a limited number of days for my Winter break now whereas my student semester break seemed almost endless. Tomorrow I will be taking the train back to my home town to visit my family and friends. I will be working a half day before travelling for a half day. The feeling of not returning to work untilv the new year is a good one!

23:40

My last post was 5 days ago… I see that my aim to keep this blog updated is not being fulfilled. It has also been a while since my last original post.

My father was in town today so we had a catch up over a sushi lunch, relaxed at home in the afternoon, had a chilled out dinner and then I took him to the train station. My father travels around the UK for his work but he is no longer based in Edinburgh so I do not often get the chance to see him. As with anyone who has moved away from home; a big city can be a lonely place. I am thankful for the relatives that I have here and also for the opportunities to spend with my immediate family.

As a teenager I always wondered what it would be like to move away from home. I pondered on how my life would be without my parents watching my every move, and not having to be bothered by my brothers. Now looking back I see that those times may have been easier, and that I should have cherished those times when my whole family was together in one household. It is funny how things change.

22:55

After ringing in the new year by watching fireworks with friends in The Meadows, we headed up to a friend’s house to play card games and Monopoly. These games ended up lasting till 4am and everyone went home joyful yet sleepy.

On Friday I travelled back to my hometown of Market Harborough to spend some time with my family and friends before returning to my studies. I got to see my two young nieces and also meet my newborn nephew today, definitely a happy moment! It was good to catch up with my cousins and friends as I have not been back in half a year. I have a family dinner tomorrow so more catch ups and laughter to come!