On Friday 13 March, I headed to work, looking forward to 5pm as I had the following week booked off. Mr Six also had the same time off.

It was a very busy day because I wanted to tie up all loose ends so that I could switch off and relax. I tidied my desk, popped my laptop into my bag, as I did every night, wished my colleagues a good weekend and left.

My boss phoned me on the Monday to let me know that I didn’t need to return to the office as they had taken the decision for the majority of the office to work remotely.

The news on TV has been shocking; the severity of the virus and the implications are scary. The behaviour of some people has been even more so as social media is awash with scenes of empty supermarket shelves and tales of customers fighting over tins and toilet roll.

Tomorrow is my first day ‘back’ although that means sat at my home office desk and I’m feeling very apprehensive tonight. On paper, this working arrangement should be perfect – without the commute, I can work more hours and will be contactable 24/7, if needed. It also means that I won’t be setting the alarm for 5:30am or leaving our children at 7am. The weather won’t be an issue. I really will have the best of both worlds. A working mum whilst being at home. No more mum guilt.

But it isn’t as straightforward as that. My mum is at risk. She has severe asthma and has recently fought off a chest infection that has left her weak. She’s been self isolating for two weeks now and it looks like this will need to continue for another 12 weeks. Mr Six also has asthma. He works in retail and will be at risk every day. I have an autoimmune condition. Two of our boys are away at uni. Another of our boys was due to sit his A levels and is meant to be leaving for uni in October. Our youngest is potentially not returning to school until September…

Yesterday I woke with a real anxiety. I am so worried about what the future holds for us all. Mr Six made the decision to get us out to the place that always helps calm me, the beach. It was cold and windy but we were well wrapped up. There’s something about the tide coming in and going out that balances me.

Talacre

And I’ve decided that there are a few things that I need to do to remain balanced.

1. Eating well – the supermarkets may not have our usual foods in, but this is a great opportunity to try new things and trial new recipes.
2. Me time – long baths, deep conditioning my hair, painting my nails, exercising.
3. Vitamin D – it remain essential to get some sunlight each day, even if it’s just outside the door, enjoying a brew in the fresh air.
4. Gardening – it’s provided real head space over the last few years and planting vegetables mean that we’ll also have our own produce in the months to come plus it helps with point 3
5. Remaining in contact with friends and family, albeit remotely. Facetime is fantastic and provides a life line to family members who are isolated.

How are you coping? What are your plans for the next few months?

Stay safe!