Coronavirus: a new way of thinking and living

In the second of our series of stories and experiences from this unprecedented period of infection and isolation, Renew member Julie Alexander-Cooper shares how she's been coping with the social and business restrictions imposed upon us all by COVID-19.

Goodness, what a week. I have hardly slept over the last 12 days. Not great for a Sleep, Health and Wellbeing Specialist!!

I am involved in the running of two businesses, and during the last two weeks we have been busy focusing on adapting quickly to stay afloat and move forward. I had begun replacing my old website with a new, more modern-looking offering, and this was already taking up much time. So, when the announcement occurred last Monday, the businesses had to evolve quickly, fortunately in similar ways.

With regards to the Sleep, Health and Wellbeing Clinic, all private consultations and group programmes went online. This change might sound simple, however, it wasn’t. Extra to the usual consultation times, each client was allocated a session time to learn how to use and access the platform, to iron out any glitches. Much time was spent on assisting those less computer/tech savvy to become confident about what to do.

The second business, construction, involved an equal number of complexities. It was unclear whether or not construction would continue or cease during this time of social distancing and lockdown. As with the Sleep, Health and Wellbeing Clinic, the face-to-face meetings shifted online. However, everyone had a different “favoured” platform, so this involved a steep learning curve for all. As construction workers are now on the key worker category, much work is anticipated. Consideration of the health and safety of staff being key, each area of operation has been analysed to find the best practice to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Sleepless nights were understandable.

There may have been stresses, however, there was much laughter too.

The interesting experience of online communication, visits from the family dog or child. The family domestic happening in the background of my Zoom meeting, heard by all because I forgot to press the mute button! With our limited downtime we have exercised, practiced yoga and painted the garden fence — all very positive. We socialised online with our friends and joined the Virtual Pub Quiz too. I also became a volunteer for Kenilworth COVID-19, a local initiative set up to help and support residents in isolation. I delivered lots of leaflets for the community venture too, trickier than I expected, as there are some scary dogs! On Mothering Sunday, we FaceTimed our sons, who live in London. We chatted, laughed, drank wine and played online games, not too different from “normal times”. As we go forward we do not know how much longer this will continue or what will happen.

I wish everyone all the very best of health in this difficult time!

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