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How the pandemic changed my daily life – from lab work to jogging pants all day long

April 2021 – since more than a year now, we are living in this new reality. From one day to another, so many things changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From monthly travels, meetings and working in a 7 person-PhD office as well as in the lab to the home office all day long. For me, that meant working either at the tiny kitchen table or on my sofa. At first, I hoped and thought it will only last for a few weeks and then we go back to “normal”. However, everything came differently. Our work and social lives completely changed. In the beginning, lab work was very restricted and slowed down the research (and still is to some extend). Workshops, training events and conferences were postponed or shifted to online events. The shift allowed us to join worldwide events easily from home, but also eliminated social interactions and networking – the world closed down physically, but virtually it opened up. One of the first things I learnt as a PhD researcher, is that things or plans easily change and that the outcome is often different to what you had planned or expected. Adaption is key. As with everything in life, you have to learn to make the best of it. I shifted my focus and quickly realised also the good things coming with the new situation. I started to go for daily walks in the park or discovered new streets in beautiful Copenhagen. Suddenly, there was more time and flexibility to squeeze in a workout, run during a break or start a new hobby. Reading non-work-related books, drawing, gardening, catching up with old friends abroad (online) or experimenting in the kitchen with fermentation. It helped me to keep my body and mind in balance and to find focus despite being stuck at home. And let’s be honest, isn’t it great to attend meetings in your jogging pants without anyone noticing?
-Lena Charlotte Ströhla (UCPH)