A set of 7 cards with hand-drawn illustrations on them. The largest in the centre has a drawing of a bench on the beach looking out over the sea and the setting sun
Navigating with Kindness by Lydia Bevan

Navigating with Kindness series – a reflection from People United’s Gemma Rayner James

Group 931
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24 April 2020

Our admin assistant Gemma wrote this reflection piece in response to Liz Flynn’s recent blog (which you can read here).

Finding the value in slowing down has been important for Gemma as she settles into a new routine working from home…

Liz’s wonderful blog reminds us all of the value in pacing ourselves and making time to be still.

I too am someone who rigorously schedules their days. I’m hesitant to talk about disability again as I’m aware that my previous Kindness Column written for our newsletter mentioned it too and I don’t want to sound repetitive. But… I am disabled, and whilst it’s not my whole life, it is a lens through which all my experiences are filtered. So for me scheduling my time is a little different; things like hair washing, tidying and whether I stop by the shop on my way home from work have to be planned in advance so that I don’t over-exert myself and end up too ill to do anything at all whilst I recover.

Previously this has meant that quite often things like hobbies and social life fell by the wayside, afterthoughts that I’d tell myself I’d try to fit in to next week’s schedule but inevitably run out of energy for when it came to it.

Now, working from home with a less formally structured day, that schedule has relaxed somewhat. Without some of the demands of what used to be a normal working week I actually have the time and energy to do something with my free time, instead of just recuperating.

Obviously, options are limited at the moment, but I have been greatly enjoying going for walks in the fields and woods nearby. Every afternoon I pass by a farm and the farmer updates me on which sheep have lambed and how the chickens are doing. One of the horses has started to recognise me and will come across the field to say hello.

Experiences like that are something that I’ve not had for so long that I’d forgotten what I was missing out on, and I imagine that is true for a lot of people who try to pack as much as possible into their days. When we are able to return to some kind of normality, let’s make sure we don’t forget to make time for rest again.

Funded by

Arts Council England
Paul Hamlyn Foundation