31 mars 2020

"Covid – 19 and coping with my mental health"

Bob Flood on adapting to his new normal
Mental Health | In the Barber Chair

"Covid-19 has affected everyone around the world in some form or another and never has good mental health been more of a challenge. With physical distancing and social isolation for most, lots of people have lost the opportunity to do many of the things they love, of which some would use as their coping methods.
For me, with 3 kids, an 8 year old boy and 4 year old twin girls who has suffered with poor mental health for many years its been especially tough.
As a job I sell banking solutions for letting agents and this normally involves a lot of face to face interactions but when the first round of restrictions came into force this was stopped and telephones were the only method of business. I’m a very social guy and love meeting and speaking to people both in work and outside so it was hard going to be stuck at home day in day out. This was before the schools closed.
As part of my mental well being I was also a really keen swimmer and have been swimming for about 6 years now, both indoors and outdoors, this was also taken away from me too. How could it get any worse.
As of last Monday things really hit home when I woke up and realised that not only was I going to have to work full time but also be a full time Dad and part time teacher, sharing the teaching responsibilities with my wife. We prepared as well as we could, we moved my little boy up to our converted loft room so we could start using his room as an office, I cant imagine how tough it was for him having to move bedrooms but he seems to be coping really well.

“As of last Monday things really hit home when I woke up and realised that not only was I going to have to work full time but also be a full time Dad and part time teacher.”

I like to give 100% in everything I do so not being able to commit to a full working day was my first major concern, I also wanted to ensure I gave the kids all the attention they need as it must be tough for them not to mix with friends at school or outside school. Thankfully their school has been amazing providing learning activities every day but its had to keep them focused at home and giving them the attention they deserve for each of their activities. My anxiety was peaking.
We slowly got into a routine this week completing the Joe Wicks workouts in the morning and then myself and my wife would complete 2 hour shifts in our new office working and the rest of the time with the kids. My patience has worn thin a few times with the kids and its difficult to be patient with them as well as worrying about work and family members who are mostly based in Ireland.

Bob with his family

I had to do something to help cope - the workouts have been great and the swimming app that I use to train are now doing dryland workout sessions which I have made an effort to do daily, but this still means being in the house and not getting that much needed time to myself than I would have done when swimming. I decided to dust off the bike and have been hitting the roads at 6.30am for an hour to clear my head and set me up for the day ahead, this has been amazing comfort to be able to get an hour out of the house by myself.
I have seen a lot of positives out of the current situation, now living in Preston but originally from Reading I have actually been connecting with my friends in Reading a lot more than we normally would by using Zoom. We had a Zoom party the last 2 Saturdays where we did a quiz and just shared a few hours together that we would only normally have done maybe 2 or 3 times a year when visiting, its been fantastic catching up with everyone.
With most of my immediate family being based in Ireland I regularly caught up by FaceTime but again the regularity has increased and on Saturday we had our first Online Quiz night with member of the immediate family and beyond, it was great fun and great to see some friendly faces, some of which I hadn’t seen or spoken to in many years.
We even had out first virtual pub meeting with work colleagues on Friday afternoon, again being out based we only normally get together once a month on a work basis so it was brilliant to share a drink or two and get to know them on a personal note.
Not physically connecting is tough but I am 100% sure that when this situation is all over that we will continue with our online gatherings with friends who we don’t always have the ability to see regularly.
And another positive, from 9am – 3pm Monday to Friday I get to be called Mr Flood by the kids."