In a strange way, for me it’s probably the most manageable of the various stages of the world with COVID that I’ve experienced. Please understand, that’s a low bar, but in comparison to how hard some of the last year has been, it feels better – and I am convinced this is because of my mindset and specifically, my shift to focus on my own wellbeing.
Lockdown 1.0 had some pretty awful moments for me, juggling home schooling and child care with clients who desperately needed my help as the employment world turned upside down. When I look back, for five months from late March to early September I cannot remember a day when I didn’t have that feeling that you get before an exam, when your stomach is churning and it’s hard to settle to anything – every day, and often through the night as well. I was broken, but little did I know that worse was to come when we were released from captivity and the kids went back to school. At that point, all of the adrenaline that had been driving me on in what sometimes felt like impossible circumstances drained out my system and left me with a near constant low mood and some of the darkest days I have experienced for many, many years as my mental health struggled to recover from six months of being relentlessly in fight or flight mode and my body struggled to readjust to a system that was not constantly flooded with adrenaline and cortisol.
So what changed between December 2020 and January 2021? Well, I’m taking each day as it comes but there are two standout things that have made things better for me. First, at Christmas in a Tier 4 area, I had an enforced period of proper rest, unlike any I can remember since I started working as a lawyer. I was devastated not to be able to see my parents and my brother and his family, but with only our support bubble to socialise with, we hunkered down and spent time as a family, without the constant entertainment and busyness that has become part of my life as a working parent. We ate good food, we watched films, we went for walks – and we didn’t sweat it if the house was a bit of a tip, or if the kids presents were still strewn all over the living room on New Years’ Day. Secondly, and finally having had some head space, I realised that despite all my commentary (to myself and others) to the contrary, I had been putting myself at the bottom of the pile, under work, kids, husband, chores, cooking – and there was nothing left in my meagre emotional bucket to keep me going.
I don’t think that I am alone in this experience. I think that we are all guilty of racing at 100 miles per hour without pressing pause and working out what we need to maintain the best possible version of ourselves – the one that can keep on keeping on as the world crumbles around us. In my case, I didn’t feel justified in taking a rest – it only happened when I had no other choice. So that’s why, this January, Verity Saxon and I want to offer our clients something a little different to our usual legal update, and ask you to join us for an hour that is about you and your wellbeing. We recognise that we are not experts in this field (see my failure to focus on my own wellbeing since March last year!) so we feel privileged to be able to invite Louisa Thomas of Incredible You – Transformational Coaching along to talk to us about what we can put in place to help us to be the best we can be, and to see the light, not the dark, whatever the world throws at us.
Louisa will be joining us at 11 am next Wednesday, 20 January. We are really excited about this opportunity to look at the more human side of what we do – and we hope you will grab a hot drink and join us to listen to Louisa’s wisdom, and to ask her any questions you might have on what you can do to support yourself through this difficult time.
If you want to register for our wellbeing webinar, please do so here: