This is a post that started as an email to my list. It's from a series of reflections I wrote as coronavirus ramped up. If you enjoy it, perhaps subscribe here.
I realised coronavirus was going to be a problem on 13th March. It's now the 25th. So it's been nearly 2 weeks of manic activity, and no space to breathe.
When I work from home, I do long hours but I'm used to it and I have good habits. Book writing and midwifediaries work is scheduled around stealing Jason's coffee beans and syphon, putting the washing out, kettlebell workouts and so on.
But it's been a wild rush to get my community up to demand, drive supplies to my parents, getting my accounts in order in case it's the end of the world, and I've had my phone on speaker while replying to emails or cooking (we had egg fried rice three days running but that's finished so I had to cook something else), often talking with pregnant family or friends about what the hell they should do.
The problem is, I've had no concentration. It's been like songs are playing counterpoint in my head all the time, problems battling it out and making a racket.
I've done 30 minutes of kettlebells a day (I would be intolerable otherwise) but apart from that I've been parked in front of my computer or in the car.
No way to live.
But this morning I've slowed down. Full immersion into thinking and typing. It feels good to sit down and debrief.
I know many of us are just surviving. We need the adrenaline to make sure our loved ones are safe.
But once you've got the Tesco shopping and prescriptions, the 6 weeks worth of dog food and box sets are in place for them, think about how you're reacting as well.
The researcher Pennebaker looks into the effects of therapeutic journalling. One study showed participants who did 4 x sessions of 15 minutes writing about a traumatic event had wildly different (better) outcomes a year later.
This is a great self help strategy for getting used to this new world. We might need your reflections one day. You'll want to look back on them as a time capsule, at the very least.
Set a timer, have no cherished outcome, just sit there with a pen and stare out of the window. Eventually the view will become boring and you'll write.
I always really liked the anaesthetics description of administering an epidural. A dose of analgesics and anaesthetics are injected into a 'potential space' between the layers of the dura mater. It opens up as it's needed.
If you can find the potential space, write about what's happened.
You won't regret it,