How I’ve been coping with the new not-so-normal

Jon Salmon, a regular Heads Together contributor, blogs about how his working and family life have so drastically changed in the past few weeks, and what he has been doing to cope with the new not-so-normal.

Wow, where do I even start trying to write about the last few weeks!

Firstly, I hope you are coping in these unchartered times and if you are not, don’t worry as I certainly have been struggling.

When the reality of Coronavirus hit me, I headed straight to bed. I felt depressed and worried that I wasn’t going to have any work for the rest of the year. Then when I did get out of bed, I went to the supermarket and then worried I wasn’t going to have any food either.

As the advice changed from hour to hour, it wasn’t long before schools were closing and everybody that could was being told to work from home.

Then we were told to social distance from each other. I was upset that I now couldn’t see my Mum for Mother’s Day and then worried about people I knew getting ill… did I have the Coronavirus too? Or had I already had it?

I run my own business, I am used to working from home a bit – but not with two young children and my wife by my side 24/7! However, work wasn’t going to be much of a problem for me now with projects being postponed or cancelled by the minute.

It was, therefore, an easy decision for me to take on the role of teacher for my kids as my wife was breaking world records for the number of back to back work video conference calls!

Before this outbreak, I spent way too much time on my phone. Now I was surpassing even myself, and one night had the news on in the background while scrolling through my Twitter and Instagram feeds until 2am.

Now, a couple of weeks into the new not-so-normal, I have a slightly better routine and structure to my days.

It still takes me ages to get out of bed, but now I only listen to 10 minutes of news in the morning and I will try to ignore any other news until the evening once the kids are in bed and I limit it to 30 minutes.

I am enjoying my new role as a teacher, and what a great start to the school day with PE from the wonderful human Joe Wicks. We then sit down to agree on what we are going to do for the rest of the day and tick them off as we go. Some subjects are covered better than others, but at least social distancing means I won’t be getting an inspection anytime soon by Ofsted.

Spending more time with the kids has allowed us to talk together about how we are feeling. It seems to be helping me more than them at the moment, but I am more confident they will talk to me if they have any worries. We have planted some cress, tomato and lettuce seeds. Who knew that in less than a week you would see little green shoots appearing and, in times like these, it’s wonderful to see nature doing its thing.

When I do need to buy food, I now visit my local shops. While some products are still in short supply, I can get everything we need as a family and I’ve realised I should have been doing this more anyway.

One bit of government advice that has helped me is that we can do one bit of exercise each day. I had been finding it hard to motivate myself before the Coronavirus but being told I could only go out once a day has now resulted in me going out for a social distance run every other day.

Doing a bit of exercise each day has really helped my mental health and it’s the single biggest thing that I can attribute to lifting some of that fog.

These last couple of weeks have been so stressful for so many of us in this country and around the world. My thoughts are with you if you have been affected directly by the loss of someone due to the pandemic. The most important thing is we keep talking to each other on how we are feeling.

So, in summary my tips would be to watch less news, grow some plants, do PE with Joe, shop local, and most importantly, be kind to yourself and keep talking.

With any article, I write regarding mental health I always put some useful links at the bottom of the page. However, more than ever if you do need to chat to someone you can:

Written by Jon Salmon