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New year, new normal?

4th January, 2021

Continuing the tone of 2020, Christmas and New Year felt distinctly odd. Many of us will have spent them both alone, or at least in a much quieter way than we’d consider ‘normal’.

We’ve heard a lot of the word ‘normal’ recently. A longing for the old ‘normal’, and a fear of what the ‘new normal’ will look like. There have been some things from this year that I want to take with me into the ‘new normal’ though. 


It seems that the second the government announced we could have an hour of exercise each day during lockdown, suddenly even the most reluctant amateur athlete was donning their trainers. Now, those of us on wheels, as ever, had to get a bit creative. My mum and I, both WHILL Model C users, discovered seated exercise and dance videos on YouTube. We can pop the arms of the chair back out of the way, and boogie for 30 minutes and get that heart rate going. And no one else need see my ridiculous moves, or sportswear.

Hannah Barham-Brown exercising in her TGA WHILL Model C


I now try to use the time I used to spend travelling to and from meetings in London and elsewhere to rest and recuperate. I’m not talking anything fancy, but simple things like reading, taking the time to make a really nice meal, or just snuggle on the sofa with the cat.

Hannah Barham-Brown exercising in her WHILL Model C

Video calling

I know, it’s been the Marmite of 2020, but I for one like being able to see people, particularly if I can’t be with them in person. Also, as a GP, I’m spending a lot less time seeing patients in person, and a lot more on the phone. Not what I went into medicine for. So any opportunity I get to see someone’s face, I’m taking. Particularly if I can wear my PJs whilst I do so.

I fear it will be a while until some semblance of ‘normality’ returns. But hopefully, when we do start to see it, we’ll have learnt a thing or two from the last year.