So Monday was glorious. For the first time in months we started the week with clear skies and sunshine. Arlo spent the day out and about with daddy (in safe secluded woodland) whilst I commenced my first week of “working from home” on the laptop. At 9am I was busy trying to log in to a new IT system.
Working from home brings its own unique challenges – coping with social isolation and staying motivated is challenging to say the least. I made sure to get up and dressed like any other day. It would be easy to sit in my pyjamas all day but I don’t want to slip in to bad habits.
I spent a couple of hours on my laptop, checking and responding to emails. I made sure to check in via WhatsApp with my work teammates and I made myself a little schedule for the week. We have access to a wealth of e-learning from private providers and also from Linked In. These helped to break up the day.
Meanwhile daddy took Arlo out to another deserted place where they fed the ducks and did some den building – sending me picture updates throughout the day. I was sent email updates from our nursery with regards to their closure and the expectation that fees would still be payable throughout this crisis.
Today lots of shops and businesses announced they were closing their doors – McDonald’s offered free food to NHS staff and across the country people risked their lives to gather with friends and enjoy a last Big Mac. There are posts on social media from most high street stores announcing closures, donating food to local charities and NHS workers and communicating with their staff. These closures were taken on voluntarily in the hope that closures would discourage people from heading to local high streets flouting the social distancing guidelines which have been advised.
There are strong messages coming from all world leaders and the World Health Organisation to maintain social distancing but still people ignore this advice and crush together in crowds at supermarkets. This picture was shared in the local News and shows scenes at the Burnt Tree Island Tesco. Despite offering a dedicated NHS staff hour, hundreds of people flocked to the store on Sunday morning and stripped the shelves bare once more.
I popped out to get some fresh air around lunch time alone today. I’ve got a list of podcasts now which people have recommended and I’m going to make sure I take the time out every day to step away from the screen and get some fresh air whilst I still can. I paused at our nearby duck pond and I decided to take some pictures whilst listening to a newly downloaded mindfulness podcast.
My family members and I have all been taking pictures of our local parks. We have seen news reports that the changes to lifestyles in China due to this pandemic have over the last few months reduced pollution levels, that dolphins have appeared of the coast of Sardinia in Italy and that the canals in Venice are now clear instead of their usual murky colour. I hope that we can look back at these pictures of spaces in our city we have taken this last week and compare the changes in a few months time. One positive thing to come out of all this might be that reduced pollution is good for our environment.
I’d been trying to peel away from the news throughout the day. I left the TV on but muted in the background as I continued a second stretch of e-learning. The constant breaking news updates are actually causing more stress than is necessary, it seems as though a lot of the information is being repeated for the general public who are slowly coming to terms with the reality of this pandemic. It’s extremely difficult to disconnect with breaking news updates flashing up constantly as countries around the world update their infected rates and death toll.
Our prime minister last week delivered a press conference update every evening at 5pm. Each day new advice was given to the public but yesterday evening the 5pm update was postponed, whipping social media in to a frenzy with rumours and information about a “lockdown.”
Shortly after 8.30pm it was announced by the Prime Minister that no one is allowed to leave their house unless it is for an essential reason. Very few businesses will remain open, and you may leave your home for work, to shop for food and to exercise once a day. You are not allowed to gather in groups outside of your home. This changes everything. Last week it was just advice. Now there is a new “Corona Virus Bill” being pushed through parliament and the police have powers to enforce the new rules.
Tomorrow I will be unable to work from home effectively as I will be taking care of Arlo. We are also unsure what this means for our co-parenting situation. I am currently awaiting official updates to the government website for clarification on how/if Arlo would be able to split his time between both of our households through this. Right now I expect that Arlo will be unable to visit his dad at his home, but according to the guidance it might be permissible to continue outdoor walks together as long as it’s just the two of them.
I do not know what this means for us financially either – the government have announced billions of pounds of support for people to get through this but no one knows exactly how to tap in to this funding for support with paying the bills which are on the table right now. I’m not sure if I am eligible for any form of funding as my ability to work is restricted due to the unavailability of childcare and not for sickness reasons. Arlo’s dad is a chef and so he is currently out of work and awaiting an update from his employers as to wether they will apply for a grant to pay him 80% of his wages whilst in furlough.
There are lots of other people waiting for updates and clarification on their unique circumstances and as we as a nation are slowly coming to terms with the reality we face it’s becoming divisive to say the least. Everyone is worried about money, about their health and about their loved ones. It’s creating a lot of tension and stress.
I am already looking forward to the opportunity to leave the house and get some fresh air, but so worried that the decision to leave our home could be the difference between life and death for others.