The New Normal

With rumours of lockdown being listed, it’s not surprising that people are beginning to wonder what ‘after’ looks like.  Being self-employed and losing contracts worth my entire years income last year in the space of two weeks in February means that I had to confront a significantly different future than the one I envisioned for 2020 very early on.

Business wise my organisation development practice will not return to what was any time soon.  On the one hand a particular individual that I have worked for as an associate for many years has demonstrated a lack of integrity around money owed which means I no longer trust him, and won’t be agreeing to any new contracts going forward.  For my own practice, getting 20 odd people into a room for facilitated dialogue and learning won’t return for some time.  From a work perspective my opportunities to use my skills and talents going forward are all going to be confined to online interactions.  Hence during lockdown I have launched a new business based on dialogic forums.  I am sad that the in person interaction will be consigned to the closet for however long, but also thankful that professionally I might end up doing what I love from the comfort of my home.  My daughter is autistic and being away from home was always difficult.  Having the opportunity to do what I do AND stay at home, well that might be a blessing that comes out of the pandemic.

Healthwise I realised around Week 6 of Lockdown that my ability to compartmentalise my mental and emotional anxiety in order to not feel stressed has developed into an unhealthy response to stress that results in a negative physical reaction to stressful circumstances.  I’ve known it for a few years; a panic attack that resulted in me ending up in A&E because I thought I was having a heart attack was the first time I realised that I could ‘feel’ unaffected mentally and emotionally, whilst recognising situations as being stressful, but have my body red flag that my stress levels had risen to unmanageable levels.  One for after lockdown but I am going to seek out some support to help manage the toll stress has on my physical health.  I also recognise that there will be some post-CoVid grief that needs to be processed, not just for me, but for the whole family.  My son has a counsellor through school which he speaks to regular, so I will be pushing for that to be available over summer.  And with our support officer for Lily Grace I will be pushing for her to get similar support.  But mostly I am looking forward to taking a break from home somewhere.  We were supposed to go to Florida in August, and I honestly can’t see that happening.  Whatever the circumstances we are going away, away this summer.

I have to be honest, and I realise this makes me sound terrible, but I have really enjoyed not having the pressure to visit or socialise with certain people.  Although there are people that I am desperate to see and hug, there are also a selection of people who will continue to experience a social distance from me, except this will be a deliberate choice rather than enforced by an outside agency.

Personally, I am taking away from lockdown how amazing our family unit is.  I definitely will be making more of an effort to do family activities such as games nights together EVERY week.  On Thursday we played Pictionary with my brother (virtually – he lives in Bournemouth) and despite it being in the cupboard for years, we discovered we had never used it!  I also hope that the New Normal retains more of the slower pace of life.

I’m actually thankful of having time rather than having to make time to spend doing ‘us’ rather than ‘things’.  I’m also pleased to say that most of the big DIY jobs that needed doing in the house have been completed whilst we have had the time.  I am proud of the skills I have developed including fixing a rotten shed and repairing a damaged garden wall.  It may be more Barbara and Tom Good Life rather than master builder, but hey, we all have to start somewhere.

Post Lockdown I will get to enjoy the fruits of our labour rather than me getting wound up about jobs that need doing.  Now that’s got to be good thing hasn’t it.

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