Mental Health Awareness & Lucy’s Life in Lockdown

Article posted on: 19th May 2020

Looking after the mental health of ourselves and others has never been more important than right now.

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 18th – 24th May and the theme this year is Kindness. The theme is a response to the coronavirus outbreak, which is having a big impact on people’s mental health. We’re using words like ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ at a time when we’re missing family, friends and colleagues the most.

Kindness has been chosen because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health.

Reports in 2018 indicated that 3 out of 5 employees experience mental health issues because of work. With the current additional stress of isolation on top of other factors in the construction industry such as sites being closed and people being furloughed, it’s of vital importance, now more than ever, that we look after the mental health of ourselves and others.

Everyone from time to time needs a little bit of help. It’s important to consciously think of others that matter to us and take the time to show them. At times like these, when the world feels upside down, kindness can be the key to turning things around.

Our Finance Director, Lucy Cunnah, has kindly shared her lockdown story including what has helped her keep going through it all, in the hope that it will help others and remind everyone – you are not in this alone.

Coping with Lockdown – Lucy Cunnah, Finance Director

Like many of you, I have found the current lockdown situation very difficult for various reasons and I thought it might be helpful to share my experience as a way of showing that, as one of the Directors, we understand.

Back on the 18th March when the announcement was made that schools would be closing, my heart sank. How would my husband and I manage with full time jobs and looking after a demanding 6 year old? My mind immediately started racing through possibilities; Bring Lauren into the office? Train her up on spreadsheets? Send her to Grandma and Granddad’s every week? Sneak her into school? Then, just a few days later on 23rd March, came the lockdown announcement and any hope of a plan was gone. The three of us were in this together but essentially on our own.

The impossibility of it weighed heavily on my mind – how to fit in a full day’s productive work, a full package of home schooling, have fun, exercise, stay safe, stay sane, keep everyone fed and watered, keep the house clean, stay sane……

Eight weeks on, not much has changed. The impossibility of it still weighs on my mind, but a routine of sorts has been established. An early rise from me to accomplish a couple of hours of work undisturbed, while Dave takes care of Lauren. A switch over from 9 when Dave’s working day begins and mine pauses temporarily to start home schooling, usually accompanied by some anguished cries of ‘can we play first please, mummy?’ (sometimes we do just play and that’s fine) then, depending on diary commitments, several hand overs of the 6 year old baton take place until dinner time, closely followed by bedtime (not mine, although I often feel like I could) and then the possibility of late exercise for one or both of us if none has been fitted in during the day, more work to try and keep on top of it, or when it’s all too much, just a night of relaxing in front of the TV. Lauren has become noticeably more independent during this time, which both makes me proud and sad and tempers are now more regularly frayed.

Some days I really feel like I am failing; I’ve had a long meeting and not spent enough time with Lauren – mum guilt kicks in big time. Lauren has been struggling and I have spent more time away from my desk – guilt about letting everyone down at work. On the worst days, it’s a struggle not to just hide under the duvet all day.

I am starting to come to terms with the guilt and starting to feel like maybe I’m not failing. I’m just doing my best under the current circumstances and that’s all that any of us can do at the moment.

These are the things that help me, so I’m hoping that they may help you:

  • You’re not in this alone, #teamclancy have got your back
  • I know it’s difficult for each and every one of you, whether you’re working and home schooling, on furlough leave when you don’t want to be, living on your own and feeling isolated, working while you’re partner is not, worrying about a vulnerable relative, in a vulnerable category yourself.… whatever the circumstances, you are undoubtedly doing your best and for what it’s worth, we appreciate that
  • Find something that helps keep you sane – for me this is exercise and although it’s often difficult to fit it in, I know that I feel worse if I don’t
  • When you’re having a bad day, remember that it’s just a day and tomorrow you will likely feel better
  • The most important thing is that we all come through this with our mental health as intact as it can be
  • This too will pass and my hope is that we will come out of the other side all the better for it having learnt some difficult lessons on the way – better connected to our friends and family, more considerate of our neighbors, more aware of our environment, greater empathy for people who struggle with their mental health, more appreciative of key works. This list goes on…
  • As one of the group of Directors, I know that Clancy will get through this and we will be better for it too
  • Lastly – sod the housework.

Green heart

 

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