Howie P on 05 January 2021
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Q. What are your reflections from a year like no other?
I have tried to reframe 2020 as an adventure, in this way we would expect there to be some difficulties and even some disaster but that overall, overcoming these obstacles is a challenge and that ultimately we will feel great when we have survived it and achieved success. I know everyone can't view the year as adventure if they lost someone to covid or lost their home or job, it may have just flattened them. We have been fortunate that we have all been pretty buoyant in mental health terms and physical health too. I feel like because we often work as a team as a single parent family, we have been able to do the same over the past year with all of the challenges that we have had. Christmas was fine, uneventful and calm, which is what I wanted really (our historical Christmases' were often not secure or nice) so I was just happy with no drama. I did leave Christmas until last minute unlike others who appeared to extend theirs from November. I am usually really organised with Christmas as I usually try to buy presents over the year to avoid financial disaster. This year I was just so busy catching up with work after lockdown and anxious about spending any money that I think I did it all in the last week or so. An unexpected benefit of this was that we got a cheap tree and a cheap turkey! We just called this "our last minute Christmas". I have struggled to keep up with my academic study in the last part of the year since working again from September and am considering pausing it. My study plan worked when my work life was how it was pre covid and then the rush to catch up financially after the summer left me with no time for anything and I am just frankly exhausted. I was working 7 days a week, with even Sunday being admin stuff, waking up early to answer messages and emails before getting kit ready for sessions in all weathers outdoors. A massive strain has been having to re-evaluate everything I do when there is an announcement or change in tiers. It has felt like such an enormous responsibility, working out if we could run our sessions and still be legal or safe or if people would suffer and lose their only support network if we cancelled. A third lockdown was announced yesterday and although I am again anxious about finances I am almost relieved in other ways as I have just had no rest or brain space. Doing all this as a single parent has been just off the scale and so much has suffered as a result, domestic stuff for a start or helping the kids with their work etc. We all seem o.k. though and I am not complaining, it has been tough but we are not feeling really damaged by it in the same way others we know are. I have seen a massive rise in mental health problems with friends and people that we work with. I am not sure what we have done as a family but we seem to have at least staved off the potential mental health issues.
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