Today marks the first full day that I am back in the office and without my children (they are at school and kindy), and as much as I love them, it has also been a huge sigh of relief!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, I have always wanted children and I am lucky to have them. I realise I am in an exceptionally fortunate position that my husband and I still have our jobs. All that being said, this lockdown with a toddler who asks over 400 questions a day (proven!), a 6 year old that I have been home schooling and a husband who is an ‘essential’ in a busy role, and my own busy role, this has been a stressful time!”* One of my children has also been awake about 6 times a night since the lock down, and this has certainly added another dimension to an already fractious situation! **
This brings me to think, there must be so many others facing stress, as well as a myriad of other more serious and potentially life changing challenges; redundancies, financial hardships, people living in solitude, relationship breakdowns, physical and mental abuse and death, and in some instances where the lives of amazing people can’t even be marked or celebrated in a fitting way. Everyone is affected by this, in their own individual ways and no one is immune to the effects.
We have survived Level 4, finished with Level 3 and now on Level 2, but the mental health impact will be immense and though I’ve found this a challenge myself, it certainly puts my situation into perspective.
How will we survive this mental challenge? What effects will this pandemic have; on our interactions, on our children’s ability to socialise, on our ability to function in the work place and in the outside world? A good time for businesses to also check themselves and see how they (also) deal with their employees mental state. At a time where everyone has been affected to some degree, it is important to realise that this could also affect people’s work. How is your company helping you?
In the scheme of things I know (or at least am hoping) that this will be for a short period. However, the impact of this pandemic will undoubtedly have a long lasting effect on a massive proportion of the world’s population. It won’t be business as usual next week or the week after or the week after that. We will need to accept a new reality and a new way of working and not only that, a new way of just being.
Silver linings that I have found to keep my mental state in check:
- we are extremely fortunate to be in New Zealand – being isolated is an absolute advantage and the swift action taken has meant that the pandemic hasn’t got a strong hold here like in many other countries
- family and friendship is critical to our survival – protecting our young and old, our sick and vulnerable is not only imperative, it is what feeds our soul, gives us meaning, and a sense of purpose
- compassion, empathy, kindness and humility – are what makes us human and are the most important characteristics to get us through times of crises
- we are adaptable and malleable – we can work from home, we can make positive changes to suit all elements of our lives, we can and need to change to move forward
Hopefully, the fighting spirit will prevail, we will overcome these times and we will be able to tell our children and grand children about the great pandemic of our time. There is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully as a nation we can lead the way to pave a better future. Bring on the vaccine!
* I will caveat this by saying that this has undoubtedly been the longest time the four of us have spent this much time together.
**Also I’d like to say that overall this will probably be one of the most positive experiences ever for our family, I’m learning so much about my kids every day and although it is intense (and I feel like I will need a massive holiday) I genuinely love these little rat bags (and although they push me to the brink) they will always be my number one!