Blog 5 – The COVID lockdown one….

….if you’re experiencing any of these 5 tensions we have something in common:

  1. Feeling loss and happiness at the same time right now
  2. Enjoying much more time with my family and noticing that you can occasionally have too much of a good thing!
  3. Feeling physically fitter (in spite of eating way more comfort snacks and takeaways) and a bit more tired than usual
  4. Joy for the respect the NHS and key workers have for the moment but feeling sad for the massive loss of life – Feeling even sadder that the media/politicians/people seem to just want someone to blame and find it very easy to criticize everyone but themselves in hindsight rather than make practical, proactive suggestions about what to do now
  5. Being concerned work wise that customer demand is not what it once was – me currently working 2 days a week (instead of 4) and my wife working 3 days. Simultaneously enjoying an early summer time with my family in the garden and exercising together

“And…….I’m very aware that I’m hugely lucky, living in a quiet area with a detached home and south facing garden. Even quieter now the planes we normally hear from Heathrow aren’t flying. Great news for our the planet but not for the livelihoods of those employed in that sector.”

2nd lockdown haircut – photo by Emily McMaster

Yesterday was the first day I wore a face covering in a supermarket and had my second home lockdown haircut. My 3 kids are now able to see a friend in the park for a walk or to kick a ball about. This is therefore my “COVID lockdown” blog….I blog occasionally as it really helps me make sense of a topic/situation and reflect on my learning. I’ll also share 2 great articles/blogs I’ve appreciated at the end.

55 days ago, at the beginning, I’m sure like many people, I’d wake most days and think….”Is this really happening?”

I continue to be surprised. This week my wife and I exchanged a look when we realized that our 3 children would be home schooling until (at least) Sept….that’s approximately 55 more days homeschooling and then 55 days more of summer “holidays”!!

Work

I continue to love my work with individuals and groups doing 121 and group Exec Coaching, Mentoring programme launches and events, and Leadership development. I’ve been using Zoom to coach people across Europe for a couple of years now so it feels pretty comfortable “doing the work” whilst others have adjusted to working from home 100% of the time. As an advocate and pioneer for flexible working when Twitter announce that all employees can work from home forever if they choose to it makes my heart sing. Nope, it’s by no means perfect, but IMO it’s better in this new world in some ways….to do some work from home, potentially commute outside rush hour and actually spend more time with your family than you do with colleagues! It’s quieter for work but how much do I/we really need vs want?

How it feels

We’re not all in the same boat

but we are going through the same storm

My experience is that days where I’ve felt I’m being smashed by big waves (work postponing, frustration with a lack of freedom, sports events cancelling, boiler breaking down) and days where I’ve been swimming in calm waters with the sun on my back (family water fights in the back garden, VE day (socially distanced) street party in Maidenhead, and new weekly video calls with family around the UK and Oz).

What are you most proud of in COVID times?

I’m most proud of how my kids have adapted to homeschooling and freedom restrictions; how I’ve been kind to them and myself and finally how pausing has perhaps led people, including me, to think about WANTS and NEEDS a little differently.

I’m proud of thinking differently about the standards I set myself. It feels others I’ve coached during this time may also be being kinder to themselves and to those around them. It’s ironic that my company name is “Aim High Achieve More” and yet at times right now “Good Enough” is a perfect standard to set.

5 other things I’ve done that have helped – feel free to steal with pride:

  1. Recently put a poster up in the kitchen for us all to draw on a) What we’re looking forward to, b) What’s been good about lockdown and c) What’s not been good
  2. Enjoy a guilty pleasure – virtual cards night on Saturday nights with the lads and weekly takeaway. LOTS of crisps.
  3. Jurgen Klopp – arguably one of the current best football managers in the world doesn’t take himself too seriously in spite of the pressure he must face. I’ve tried my best to have fun and simply enjoy the experience – where possible
  4. Write about my experience – this blog has helped make sense of it all. 😊
  5. Accept that being tired or frustrated at times is normal at extraordinary times like this. Often through my work coaching others I help them explore their relationship with their thinking habits or how they experience/lead change. COVID is a real life/world experiment in how we live our lives – much of which isn’t our choice….but much of which still is
Our family lockdown poster – images can help make sense and memories

It hasn’t helped to watch so much of the news…and I usually LOVE news…note to self – I must pay less attention to it. It’s fascinating and sometimes frightening to see how nationalities, societies and governments have handled the COVID crisis so very differently.

What is better about now?

Before I share my top 2 links/blogs…..cast your mind back to early 2020 when you may have been maxed out at work, too busy or exhausted to spend time with your family, and wanting to do more physical exercise and/or reading/self-development. You may have worried about things that now just seem unimportant…..

I recognize those living now with illness/job loss or insecurity or those with school age children at home may of course be in survival mode. For many however, including me with some of these things happening for me, I think if we look hard enough we can see more clearly what we want to live for and what’s important. What’s most important for you now?

Two of the best articles I’ve read from people I admire during lockdown: 1) Is “A” such a bad option? (ECC, thanks Sam & the ECC Team) & 2) “Any map will do” (Leading Edge, thanks M) Full disclosure – I proudly work for these organisations and the amazing Women/Moving Ahead – thanks Liz.

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