I decided to write this blog because all we are hearing in the news is the need to stay home, protect the NHS, save lives. We hear the daily death rates due to COVID19 and since the 23rd March 2020 we have been in lockdown. It’s all about physical illness.

Throughout the last 11 months we have heard what a shame it is that small businesses are closing, never to reopen, that jobs are being lost, that the rate of suicide has increased, that people are losing their homes, cancer patients are not receiving the care and treatment they so desperately need and people are not going to their GP because they feel they are a burden. COVID is the priority. Hey ho as long as you don’t die from COVID the rest does not matter is what the message seems to be saying. (At least to me and many of the clients I see anyway!).

I tried to remember back to the jobs I have had over the last 30 years. I worked in hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes, in my early working years, all places where people came to have a chat. As staff we knew these customers and we would always engage with them, offer them company and conversation. Most of them were living alone, and their only interaction was to come to the café or the pub for a chat, to talk to somebody, anybody that would listen to them. I cannot help but wonder what those people are doing now. Those that would make an effort to get out of bed and get themselves out of the house, having somewhere to go, but now having nowhere to go. Nobody can call to see them, and quite possibly the place where they once went to may never open up again. If I was still working in the hospitality industry now, I wonder how I would be making ends meet, where I would possibly apply for my next job if the place that employed me was never to reopen.

I was a single mum for 10 years. For the majority of that time, I was a childminder, could I possibly imagine now, home schooling 2 children whilst looking after 3 toddlers, being unable to go anywhere? I wonder how I would have coped with nobody to see or offload onto at the end of a hard day. I wonder if I would be considered one of the lucky ones, able to work and be at home with my children at the same time? What about those parents that are trying to work from home and need to attend business meetings online whilst home schooling their children? Having to choose between their heart and their head? Paying the bills or home educating their children? What a choice to have to make! Loneliness and stress is not just bad for our mental health but also bad for our physical health.

If I was reading this blog in those positions mentioned above, I may have thought that it was amazing I was able to have the peace and quiet to actually write a blog, how lucky I am that I am still able to work and provide for my family.

At the first lockdown we had the sunshine, we thought that it would only be a few weeks in lockdown, and towards the summer, things looked good. The R rate was below 1 and things were improving, but here we are again in the Winter on another national lockdown, and although we were told the vaccine would get us out of this, we are hearing in the news it could still be another 12 months before things return to what might be considered normal.

I honestly cannot stress enough that if you recognise any of those people in yourself that I have just talked about, then you are bloody amazing! I take my hat off to you so give yourself a massive pat on the back!

But what can I tell you that might help you?

Sticking to a routine, that means, getting up, showered and dressed at the time you would normally get up, but also getting to bed at the same time too. When you get up, smile to yourself in the mirror. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do, just do it.

Keep a journal. Write down exactly how you are feeling and thinking. Getting the thoughts out of your head and onto paper can be very cathartic.

Set yourself a goal each day. If you do not have children or work, how about trying a new recipe or clearing out a drawer or a cupboard? Anything, no matter how small, setting yourself a task gives your day a sense of purpose.

Dress up once a week and cook a lovely meal. Even if you are on your own, make a date with yourself.

Stop watching the news and keep social media down to a short time each day. Stay away from the negative stuff.

Phone a friend or organise a zoom quiz with a group of friends. A few glasses of fizz or a few beers with friends on zoom could be just what you need.

Go out for a walk every day, even if it is freezing cold or pouring down with rain, in fact that is better! Getting home freezing cold or soaking wet and needing a nice hot shower or bath sounds very cosy to me!

Be selfish! Indulge with self- care, watch a movie, and know that everyone has a bad day from time to time but only YOU can look after YOU.

If you have got this far and read to the end of my blog then I am working face to face as well as online. My door is always open.