08 October 2020 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Supplied
Vicky Simpson believes our current reality is temporary and that we are more than capable to adjust, regardless of our understanding of what ‘normal’ is.

Vicky Simpson is Development Officer in the Office for Institutional Advancement at the university, where one of her main focus areas is to secure funding for UFS projects and raising funds for student bursaries and the No Student Hungry Programme. 

Simpson, an energetic and proactive person who has a passion for interventions that are humanitarian in nature, says she considers herself lucky to be able to align that which she is passionate about with her career, where she can promote the greater good and create opportunities for others.

“I love working with people and I draw energy from interpersonal interactions. I am an extrovert.”

But the strict lockdown regulations implemented by government in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited personal interaction – dampened Simpson’s enthusiasm for life.

“The side effect was constant snacking – given that the fridge was next to my temporary office. My energy took a dip and I gained weight.”

Keeping positive

“My partner being a frontline medical worker added additional challenges, given that we had to implement strict routines to keep COVID-19 out of our home. We were both rather drained and had to find ways to keep each other positive.”

Practical as she is, Simpson determined that she craved interaction and fresh air.

“I decided to do video calls with friends and family. This made up for the lack of social contact.”

For fresh air, Simpson started a light exercise routine once South Africans were allowed to go for walks, and gradually increased it. “Exercise and healthy nutritional choices lifted my mood. Basically, I used my time wisely and decided to change my routine for the better,” Simpson adds.

She says the key is to set small goals and to take things slowly. “One small victory at a time.” 

Healthy choices

The pandemic challenged Simpson to embrace a more active lifestyle. “The situation forced me to do introspection, self-care, and nurturing,” she says.

Her advice to others is to make the tough choices. “It is easy to get caught up in a routine where you can’t find the time to go for a walk. Evaluate your routine. Start slowly. And do not forget to drink lots of water, take your vitamins, and eat healthier,” she adds.

Simpson explains that she started off by walking only 30 minutes every second day. But once the serotonin bug bit her, she was hooked. Now she goes for a 5 km run at least once a week. “I simply want to feel healthier again,” she says.

She believes our current reality is temporary and she is looking forward to life after lockdown. 

And what is she looking forward to most? Seeing other people smile. “Yes, I randomly smile at strangers. They always smile back. There is not enough love in this world and small things go a long way,” she says.

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