Let’s all take a deep breath, hold it for five seconds and then let it out.
I spoke to a lady in Boots this week who told me she was so scared of the coronavirus situation that she’d woken up crying in the night and was having real trouble concentrating. I spoke to a chap this morning who said his anxiety was through the roof… The constant uncertainty of when/if/what the government will impose is challenging, and some people are also really concerned that either they or their loved ones are going to catch it and die.
Yes, uncertainty is unsettling, especially if you’re a planner like me. I like to have my year planned out well in advance – I’ve recently been planning my online membership with various elements attached to dates all the way through from next month to the end of 2021. Yes, I really like planning. Why? Because it’s how I juggle being a 24/7 single parent, running multiple businesses, writing a book and so on. I plan with room for flexibility in some areas, because there are always going to be variables that overlay the reliable foundations. Planning is my survival mechanism, so how do I cope when the variables completely overtake the reliable?
I openly confess to having had a mini melt down with some therapeutic ranting and then I picked myself up and looked for the opportunities.
Classic Tom Cruise movie from the 1980s called Risky Business gave me one of my favourite ever movie quotes:
Every now and then say, “What the fuck.”
“What the fuck” gives you freedom.
Freedom brings opportunity.
Opportunity makes your future.
So, if we say “what the fuck” to the panic induced by the media and the ever changing messaging delivered by Downing Street, what are the opportunities?
As I see it, a lot of people are being offered the gift of time – our most finite and precious resource.
- Do you have a pile of books beside your bed that threaten to topple and injure you while you sleep? Maybe you could start reading them?
- Do you have a hard drive of photos that you’ve never got around to sorting out? There really isn’t any need for us to keep all the 4,573 photos we took of our kids/puppies/kittens etc in the first month they were in our lives.
- Do you have an extensive CD collection that you could fit on a little memory card thing to go in your car, if only you had the time to figure out how?
- Have you had a garden for 5 years that you’ve never got around to doing anything with?
There are a load of these little jobs and guilty pleasures that we may suddenly find we have time to do.
Some people (like me) are going to have their hands full, in a quarantine situation, with homeschooling. I’m very lucky that there’s one child. One adult and one child so I am not outnumbered. Some of my friends are very outnumbered. I’m conscious that my method may work well for me, but not for them. There is no one size fits all.
My method, if you’re interested, is to view this as a grand adventure.
My daughter was devastated by the school closure announcement, and asked me if I could be a key worker so that she could still go to school! Luckily it hadn’t come as a surprise for me and I was ready to pitch her a different view of what this might mean.
I am designing the cover page of my Captain’s Log and we will be going on adventures every week through history, geography, culture, music, arts all of it. Yes, she will have curriculum bits sent through from the school that we’ll go through, but the fun bits will be the adventures. I am even considering setting up an Instagram account to share our progress.
If it works, we will have a great deal of fun over the coming months. If it doesn’t, we’ll try something else. This is where resilience is born. And I am resilient AF.
I’d love to know how you’re approaching it.
I’m also going to say right here and now that whilst the uncertainty is a very real source of tension for me, in comparison with the risks that my friends and family are taking to be on the front lines of all this I really have nothing to complain about and am incredibly grateful that we have the option to stay home and keep people safe.
May the force be with us all! Xx