Life of a Mum

My advice for coping with ‘lockdown’

As you’ll already know I’m ‘shielding’ at home for at least 12 weeks due to the COVID pandemic. This is because of my immunodeficiency due to treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

Government shielding info

It’s challenging being at home with a toddler and limited outside access- so here’s my advice to cope with this. Sending love to all.

  1. Try and maintain a routine. Getting up showered and dressed each morning really helps. Don’t stay up late watching movies as you’ll just sleep through the next morning. I like to get up by 8- have a coffee- shower and dress and get on with some work or housework.
  2. Eat well – we try to eat healthy balanced meals as a family. Dorothea loves our ‘feasts’ and often comments it feels like holiday. Good is the main topic of communication with us; we are enjoying baking, online shopping for home cooked meals, and we are even making our own sour dough bread.
  3. Plan and list some days I struggled to be productive; so I try and give myself a few daily and weekly goals. What work needs to be done (I’m doing some of my usual role from home), what needs cleaning, writing some blogs, creating some content and sorting play activities for Dorothea.
  4. Self care I’m trying to spend sometime looking after myself; the first few weeks of shielding I was a mess, rarely put make up on or did my hair. So now trying to do weekly face masks- apply some makeup and wash and style my hair (fringe needs a trim though). I’m loving my young living essential oils more than ever- and diffuse them when working and relaxing. I’m loving Albany Aesthetics facial treatments in a bag. Albany Aesthetics insta
  5. Support others checking on friends, sending cards or small gifts gives me a boost (and a nice walk to the post box). It’s good to let others know you’re thinking of them; and as always tough times really show you who your friends are. I’d also include shopping local in this- as supporting your small local businesses is really important at this time; I’m finding so many wonderful doorstep delivery options too. Viva vino wines delivered (Leicestershire) Enchanted Pantry- cakes/bakes delivered (Leicestershire)
  6. Zoom!!! I’m loving so many zoom options- they seem to be my only outside communication. From online workshops and fitness classes, to online chats with friends and family- and even work meetings! Seeing and hearing people really helps to maintain a little bit of ‘normal’. Apples and apps online fitness
  7. Keep active so obvious- but staying in means you’re naturally much more of a couch potato! I’m really making an effort to get out for a little walk (not strictly allowed when shielding- so we ensure zero contact with others) I’m also starting to enjoy some online fitness classes and plan to do more in the coming weeks. Online Barre classes
  8. Find beauty sounds a bit wishy washy- but I’m loving finding beauty in everything-doing some gardening, having fresh flowers every week and taking pretty pictures.
  9. A tipple I wouldn’t be me without mentioning my love of a gin or red wine. Obviously in moderation- I limit myself to 3 drinks and try to have 2 booze free days a week. I’m loving making pretty cocktails, or a fresh a fruity jug of sangria, my fave gins are from Warner’s – use ‘ivfninja15’ for discount (valid in May) Shop at Warner’s  
  10. Having fun thank goodness for Dorothea- having a toddler in the house means plenty of opportunities for silliness and fun. We love planning and playing with play trays, water beads, play doh and doing science experiments. We love the future image shop for play resources- use ‘ivfninja’ for discount- Future image shop

Drop me comments on how you’re coping and any tips.

Life of a Mum

Lockdown and me- from front liner, to isolated.

For those of you that don’t know I’m a nurse; I have been for 17 years now, I’ve worked through all sorts; swine flu, major incidents, fires, shootings and stabbings. I thought COVID was going to be a little bumpy challenge in my working life.

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At the beginning of the COVID outbreak I was working as normal; my role is to respond to sick or deteriorating patients- so pretty much high risk front line healthcare. I was seeing the sickest of the sick, those requiring respiratory support; whilst being intensely aware of the C word hanging in the air. I’d calmly, treat, swab, isolate and inform my patients when we thought COVID was a potential differential diagnosis.

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March 22nd was my last clinical day; busy with training for COVID and busy with patients, lots that could potentially be C-19. I returned home; stressed, overwhelmed and a little worried. Getting mostly unchanged on the doorstep, shoes In a bag, clothes straight in the wash- shouting hello to a sleepy Dorothea and Daddy as I jumped in the shower before allowing myself contact with them.

On March 23rd I headed to Sainsbury’s for the weekly shop, queued up at 7am with all the NHS staff (some wearing masks and gloves), elderly shoppers getting irate at staff for not being able to join the NHS queue – I realised life was suddenly very different. It felt strange. I returned home to a letter.

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A letter I hadn’t really given that much thought to. I knew as I had Rheumatoid Arthritis, and was only multiple treatments that suppressed my immune system, I was, In theory in the ‘at risk’ group for COVID- and I’d asked my boss for a risk assessment due to this. What I didn’t quite expect was to be one of those in the ‘vulnerable’ group; and that I’d have to stay at home for 12 weeks minimum! I called my boss and explained and she said she’d put me back in the rota from June 16th- it seemed such a long time.

Coming to terms with going from being a key worker, a helper, a hero – to being sat at home was vert challenging. Wracked with guilt that I have the skills to assist, that I should be helping the fight and supporting my colleagues- I felt useless sitting at home. My husband was relieved, he’d been worried about me, not wanting me to go into work- worried that I was going to become one of those patients I talk about taking to ITU.

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You’d think being at home with my family constantly would be a dream; and in some ways it is; I’m loving time to cook, meals as a family and time to create fun activities for Dot. But the isolation is unreal; the last time I went anywhere was Sainsburys of March 23rd- since then just a few walks (which in accordance with my letter I shouldn’t be doing- more on that later), no contact with others apart from zoom and facetime- the monotony is unreal.

Its hard not to be lazy: somedays I can’t be bothered to get showered and out of my pjs. But then the next day I feel guilty for that so I have a day of constantly being busy, and not knowing where to stop! Getting the balance right in lockdown is so hard.
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Luckily about a week into lockdown my workplace found me some tasks to do ‘working from home’ and I had a laptop delivered. This has been really good at helping me develop a diary routine, have some purpose and actually feel like I’m helping out. As it mostly involves interviewing, its also been great at giving me some social interaction, which is great. Its been great to join in with our teams weekly meeting via zoom too, and seeing the lovely familiar faces.

So, the letter. Its surprisingly how restricted and isolated they actually expect people to be- and its so easy to see how this can have massive impact on our physical and especially mental health. Vulnerable people like myself have been advised to stay at home for 12 weeks minimum; this includes not going out for walks/exercise- not even in your own garden. Also not to share a bathroom or bed with family and not to eat meals together. Obviously as a young family with a small house this is near on impossible- I honestly think I would have lost the plot if we couldn’t eat and watch movies together!

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As myself and Daddy are having to both work from home we are actually spending time at opposite sides of the house for most of the day. I’m sitting in our upstairs lounge- which also contains Dorothea’s playroom, and Daddy is sitting in the downstairs dining/lounge, so we have a whole floor between us for most of the day. A much needed break and some degree of peace (for Daddy) which means when we meet for food, or a drink in the garden its really nice.

The social isolation is for me unreal, my husband often takes the mickey out of me for my constant need to be surrounded by people- but i’m just a sociable person. In my daily working life I communicate with 10’s of people each day, and on my days off I like to meet friends for coffee and cake, or take Dorothea to a farm park or children’s group. I going to have to find some coping strategies to help me get through the next 7 weeks.

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I mostly feel thankful- thankful that I’m safe, having time with my family that I’ll never get again; like having 3 months of maternity leave , but with a toddler (less tea and cake and naps- more crafts and giggling). I’ve told my team that when I can safely return I’ll take the baton from them and they can have a break, I’ve also busy sourcing donations for our teams to enable their rest periods to be comfortable (refreshments and reading materials) 

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Awesome print made for my team from Zoe loves letters

I’m going to try and write a couple more blogs about my time in isolation- let me know what you think.