When writer Lauren Windle contracted Omicron she was gutted, but after a few days of coughing in bed she realised that COVID could teach her a lesson about time management.


Source: Jonathan Borba

Being forced to clear your schedule is no bad thing

Catching COVID doesn’t represent some sort of moral failing, and I’m not just saying that because I’ve had it. You can abide by all the rules, wear your mask, you can even get the jabs and still get it.

For those who are most vulnerable, the idea of catching the virus is terrifying and there are others who thought it wouldn’t have a big impact, but ended up being seriously ill.

For the majority though, the milder Omicron variant that is doing the rounds doesn’t result in hospitalisation, but rather an uncomfortable stint of feeling grim and ten days of isolation.

This isn’t ideal. No one likes to be unwell. I struggle in particular when I get headaches and nausea, both of which I had during my COVID bout in December. I also missed out on festive events and my niece’s fourth birthday while in quarantine. She told me on FaceTime that I missed meeting the real Elsa from Frozen, I didn’t have the heart to tell her the woman was called Lisa and lived in Croydon.

But despite feeling poorly and missing out on a few events, I did take something positive from COVID.

When I’m unwell, I always have an internal battle with myself. I weigh up each plan I had and decide if it would be rude or inconvenient to cancel. I monitor my symptoms every hour and oscillate back and forth between trying to convince myself it’s ok to duck out and trying to pep-talk myself into pushing through. It’s miserable.

But the moment you see that second line pop up on your lateral flow test, you know there is nothing you can do. You have to cancel. And far from being annoyed with you, people will be grateful that you didn’t put them at risk.

The moment you see that second line pop up on your lateral flow test, you know there is nothing you can do. You have to cancel everything.

I felt a great sense of freedom when I realised that my schedule was now out of my hands. I had to completely submit to the government’s command to stay at home and rest. If I’m honest I had crammed my schedule too tightly anyway and it was a relief to cross off each diary item for the ten-day period. And then I actually got to switch off.

I did some work and took a few meetings towards the end of the period. But I also stayed in bed, watched films and read my Bible. I prayed longer each day because I had the time.

I can get so caught up in productivity that ‘just being’ can feel like a waste of time. It took a virus to force me to slow down.

As we launch into this new year, we can all get so caught up in our goals and hope for achievement, that we can forget it’s the down time that propels us forward during the work time.

I am praying that we all recognise the importance of rest this year and make it a priority. Hopefully, unlike me, you won’t need to catch COVID to learn that valuable lesson.