Most of the personal emails I’ve been getting during the current Covid-19 lockdown have fallen into 3 categories:
- Helping our customers….(insert company X’s statement of reassurance, safety and ‘necessary measures’)
- Coronavirus: (insert latest news here)
- The marketing campaigns capitalising on the ‘at home’ situation: “Wondering how to make the most of your space?” (from a very well-known UK high street department store)
I wanted to make my message a little simpler:
How are you?
How are you getting on in your corner of the world?
And perhaps you will permit me to share a little of my experience so far?
Kenilworth and Covid-19
Our little Warwickshire town has strengthened further its community spirit by setting up a Facebook group to offer support and information (which store has loo rolls??!) and bring volunteers together. So far, at the time of writing, there are 600+ volunteers who have offered to be ‘street champions’ (guardian angels for their own neighbourhoods), shoppers, or helpers who can fetch, carry, deliver and support others.
One amazing lady asked local pubs and restaurants to let her have leftover ingredients at the point when they had to close their doors to the public. She created multiple dishes, then had them delivered to the elderly. I think we will see similar quiet but stoical acts of kindness, as the weeks progress.
Of course, the town came out onto doorsteps and balconies earlier this week, as the nation joined in a ‘Clap for Carers’.
I’ve now been a ‘remote worker’ for a week and a day. Of course, this makes for an interesting experience when, suddenly, your only contact with colleagues is via MS Teams. Using Teams has opened up a whole new communciation channel to manage alongside emails (of which I counted one every 2 minutes yesterday). This arrangement also means that you’re sitting on your bottom 08:30 onwards. That said, remaining on the couch is what we have to do to save lives. If we can’t do that very simple thing, then we genuinely need our heads looking at.
I think we now realise how serious a situation we face , when many of us now know someone who is suspected of having the virus or has heard of someone else with symptoms. And neither royal blood nor high status in society makes you immune.
The downs and ups
My lovely sister is a physiotherapist by profession. Her normal job is to support the rehabilitation of those with neurological issues. It was sobering to learn yesterday that she was heading to the hospital to get patients home (as quickly as possible) and that she was also embarking upon respiratory training.
I had to say, I had a little cry when she told me what she was doing.
On the upside, there have been some very funny moments. I contributed to these by wearing a sombrero in many of my virtual meetings this week. Our choir also attempted a ‘rehearsal’ via Zoom, but we had to mute everyone, as it sounded really terrible. We kept our Director ‘un-muted’ and sang along to ourselves, before ‘un-muting’ everyone for a bit of a laugh at the end. It was fun and entertaining (for all the wrong reasons).
We are also recording a video of the choir singing Jason Mraz’s Unlonely. Today, I had a go at listenining to the backing track whilst recording me singing the soprano part. I can only hope that the final combined performance is better than my own feeble efforts!
Worry only about what you can control
Listening to a podcast today, I was reminded that there’s a danger in these unsettled times to ruminate over what could or what might happen, or fear the very worst. Being afraid might lead to us becoming unusually sharp with others, or feeling particularly stressed.
As Brené Brown has said this week, “This pandemic is a massive experiment in collective vulnerability. We can be our worst selves when we’re afraid, or our very best, bravest selves”.
I hope and pray that we use our time at home as positively as we can to help us stay brave and be resilient. It’s springtime here in the UK, so our gardens are starting to wake up following the wettest February on record. We have plenty to eat, somewhere safe and comfortable to be and every way to entertain ourselves indoors or in the garden.
So, do let me know how you are. I hope you’re doing OK. Be brave. Be your best self. Keep washing those hands. Stay at home to remain safe and keep others safe. And if ever there was a time be intentional, that time is now.
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