My mum turned 80 mid-March and at that point we were all obviously well aware of the coronavirus, but the severity hadn’t really hit home. We celebrated with a meal in a lovely restaurant and a family party at home. Yes, we were careful and we took precautions: no welcome hugs, no hand towel in the cloakroom, ( we used kitchen towel – unbeknown it would become a hard purchase to find in the following weeks! ) no dips to share saliva with and we used a glass pen to write our names on our glasses! We all were upbeat and joked as we elbow “shook hands” to say goodbye. Little did we know that would be the last time we mixed with our family for the foreseeable future.
In the following few days, we were all being told about social distancing, washing hands but still no lockdown was imminent.
The following weekend my daughter turned 30 (March is always an expensive month!) She had been planning for a year. Sadly, she had to cancel her celebrations as by this time the pubs and restaurants had closed.
Then on March 23rd Boris announced a lockdown so, this meant: no contact with anyone who doesn’t live with you, only travel for work (if can’t work from home). Schools are shut except for children of keyworkers. I can go outside for exercise once a day. It was all a bit surreal. Only food shops are allowed to stay open. All hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items are shut. It became very real.
The first week or so my husband couldn’t work so we took lovely walks along the canal by our house and completed all the DIY jobs that have been waiting to be done for months! I threw myself into my agencies policies and paperwork. I did all the boring paperwork and filing that had been staring at me on my desk for weeks. I refreshed all the policies: crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. I took the opportunity to update my website too.
My husband managed to get back to work. So we had a bit of a routine back which certainly helped but it didn’t really help with my newly formed anxiety. I was paranoid about washing everything. I took the stand that anything that entered the house could contain the virus. So all our food shopping, post, dog leads all got washed off before allowed in. I did think I was starting to become obsessed but upon chatting to friends I know I am not alone (which helps!) I am wondering how long I will do this and if I’ll ever feel at ease with anything or anybody coming into our house.
I feel my house is a “safe haven” and feel totally relaxed and protected from the virus. It’s only when my husband arrives home from work that I become a woman possessed about washing ……. His hands, his lunch box, his car keys, his phone. Once it’s all cleaned I’m quite relaxed again! He knows why I do this, and he goes along with it but I do feel he thinks I am “over the top”.
As I can’t really operate the agency fully, I fill my days with zoom networking meetings, nanny and family video registrations and “pottering”. I’m finding I have time to potter now. “pottering” in my case is wandering from room to room finding cupboards to tidy or things to rearrange! Some days I’ve found myself watching daytime telly all morning before actually realising the time but I feel this is good. I personally feel you have to go with how you feel when you wake up. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t doing everything 100%. For me what works is a to-do list. I work my way down it and if I manage to tick one thing off a day then that’s a result! After all there is no rush!
I keep in touch with my grown-up children and my mum on a daily basis. My mum is incredibly lucky as there is a great network put in place for food shopping etc.. and shes utilised it. I have dropped off bits and pieces over the last week and collected the NHS teddies she s been knitting for the children of NHS staff or child patients. To be honest, I don’t like going out much, I prefer to stay home in my safe haven bubble. I have threatened I will install ‘TikTok’ to my daughter’s horror!
Remember everyone, there is no right or wrong way to cope through this pandemic, and whichever way you deal with it is OK. There are a lot of organisations out there that can help with mental health and financial help. If you need them that’s what they are there for.