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I've been reading with interest about Government plans to embrace a 'blended' working environment and I'm relieved with the choice. With almost a full year of working remotely under my belt, I've become somewhat selfish about my new work routine to give it up completely.

I don't know about you, but I didn't realise how much I needed to press the pause button on the daily grind until the global health pandemic quite literally forced me to. I'm one of the lucky ones, I have a job I love, working in an office I enjoy with people I get on well with, but even so, I found myself chasing my tail at the best of times.

Life before was very busy and even when I made the conscious choice to slow down, I physically couldn't switch off because the guilt was much too overwhelming. I'm an ambitious person but I am just one person and that's something I somehow failed to acknowledge, spreading myself much too thin. I have a problem saying 'no' at the best of times too, something that can be a recipe for disaster.

The hardest part of the 'before' was that all-consuming conveyor belt feeling. Wake, work, sleep, repeat. We're lucky in Ireland that our work ethic is a little healthier than our American friends but when your brain is programmed in overdrive, having allocated days off is no use if you don't know how to make the most of them.

Of course I enjoyed my down time, but the truth is, it felt like there was never really enough of it. I was constantly tired and always thinking a mile a minute; it's been so lovely to learn how to sit still and just be. I haven't fully mastered it but one thing is for sure - I'm getting there!

Working from home has given me precious time back. Cutting out the commute has allowed me to use those newfound hours to enjoy a walk outside, prepare a proper lunch and, if I ever feel like it, sleep in or nap or pop over to the shops to squeeze in some errands.

Cost-cutting has been another massive benefit but mostly I've appreciated the space to show up for my professional duties as well as myself. Not always in equal measures, mind, but that balance has been creeping closer with each passing day.

There's been downsides to being at home 24/7and I realise I don't have the commitment of children which make things tricky yet again. But one thing is for sure, it's been a much easier juggling act and it's nice to feel like you're not constantly struggling to come up for air.

I miss a lot of things about the 'before' but there's plenty I appreciate about the now and if ever there was an important lesson to learn, it's that there is so much beauty in the simple every day. All we have is 'now' and we need to cherish that and appreciate that. While it's wonderful to be a planner, the only thing we can really control is the 'now' and how we feel, act, think and exist in this precise moment.

While some people might be jumping for joy at the prospect of returning to a normal work environment, I know an equal amount will be letting out a massive sight of relief at the prospect of having a choice.

I know I'm one of them.

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