Thursday, 27 August 2020

Getting out of the rut: An unusual COVID-19 staycation plan

I’m staying put. I’ve stopped translation work for the summer break, and in usual circumstances there would have been endless possibilities as to what to do. My two children are enjoying a whale of a time in Germany with their two cousins, other members of my family and their friends in the village where I grew up, and my husband has headed over to Germany to stay with his mum for a bit, before he’ll travel back to the UK with our children. Until then, I’ll have plenty of time to myself.

With the pandemic still wreaking havoc across the globe, I don’t feel like going on holiday right now. I decided not to travel to Germany with my husband as I’d seen my family there only a few weeks ago. I’d have loved to explore Scotland further this year, and I am still keen to visit Milan. I’m also generally not a beach-and-hot-and-sunny-weather person at all, so am always relieved anyway whenever the beach holiday option is not on the table. So I’ve decided to stay put. I feel safe at home. I enjoy being at home.



Working hard, resting hard 

How to fill a COVID-19-induced staycation? I came up with an unusual plan: I’d both indulge in holiday-type activities on the one hand, and work on my business on the other hand, and I’d do this on alternate days! When I mentioned to my brother-in-law what I was up to, he remarked – perhaps rightly so – that it sounded like this wasn’t going to be a holiday at all. Fair enough, and yes, it certainly wouldn’t feel like a normal holiday. Yet, in these strange times what of anything that we all currently do feels normal?

I’d realised I was really craving this time to be spent at home in this way, so I could work on my business (rather than just in it!). I’d been neglecting this side of running a freelance translation business for what felt far too long. No doubt at the end of it I’d feel glad to have taken this staycation not just to relax, but also to achieve something that would catapult me slightly forward in my job. Get me out of the recent rut. And help me adjust the direction I was heading in with my business.

A theme for each working-on-my-business day 

I gave each of my working-on-my-business days a theme (but would quickly realise that just one day wasn’t going to be enough!): on my “website day” I’d carry on revamping my website. My “marketing day” would be dedicated to updating my CV, sketching out my next marketing campaign etc. On my “tools and software day” I’d familiarise myself with the latest version of memoQ, my translation software, and explore new tools (to be described in my next blog post). Another day would simply be a “decluttering day”, on which I’d tidy up my hard drives and cloud storage spaces, sort browser bookmarks etc. So far, so good.


The luxury of having plenty of time and living slowly 

Every second day, by contrast, would be reserved for holiday-type activities: participating in Jala Flow Yoga live sessions via Zoom at 9.30 a.m. on weekdays (Hatha yoga, Vinyasa Flow yoga and Yin yoga to choose from). Losing myself in a good book (such as currently “The Salt Path” by Raynor Winn). Having a massage. Writing blog articles. Meeting a friend for a socially distanced walk in the park. Listening to YouTube videos. Cycling to Bath to sit in a café. Having plenty of time to sit outside on the patio and read the newspaper. Simple pleasures.

With the pandemic still raging and posing a massive threat, we’ve probably all thought twice about what would be appropriate for us holiday-wise this year. And pandemic considerations aside, there also is something to be said for not splashing out, even if we could afford it, as I read in a minimalism-related article recently. It was a thought I felt I could relate to: living simply and not just within, but perhaps even under our means can make a difference to how we perceive what we experience, whether during a staycation or at other times.

This year, the year in which COVID-19 struck, I’m adhering to an unusual holiday plan that will do not just me, but also my business good. It’s designed to help me adjust the direction I’m heading in with my business. But it is also giving me ample time to engage in activities that I would probably have pursued on a “normal” holiday anyway.