Care in Mind Best Practice Facilitator, Dominique Hooper, shares her unique take on adapting to life in lockdown.

So lockdown…. It’s been interesting to say the least. From the first announcement I felt relief, relief that I could work at home and be safe, relief that my salary would stay the same and relief that my son was at an age where he could be home alone for short periods while I delivered training etc.

Then the guilt came momentarily when I realised my initial thoughts and concerns were about myself and my son, not the people around me. Then my mind worked a little over time and began to think about my 2 nanas and my grandad and how they would cope and how I would cope not seeing them. How will my mum and dad cope? What about my pregnant sister? What about my other sister’s wedding? 

However, through routine I have managed well I think. Each morning, myself and Karen log on early and have a catch up and make each other laugh, which helps start our day on a high. Then, I meet for lunch with Alison and Karen on Teams as often as we can to keep maintain our usual work routine. These things have really helped.

With me working within mental health, I’m often the listening ear to my friends and I’ve spent a lot of time explaining to people that no matter what their worry is it’s still valid…. Validation has been so important as people around me say things like.. “I miss going to work but then again at least I’m getting 80% of my wage I shouldn’t moan as some people are not getting anything!” I keep saying yes you should have a moan you are entitled to – it’s a big change. There will always be someone worse off somewhere but that doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to feel how we feel. I spend a lot of my time convincing my loved ones that it’s ok to feel upset about cancelled holidays, weddings, missing the pub, missing the football etc. If we don’t access our true feelings or are made to feel guilty for doing so, we will become unwell.

I feel lucky to have a healthy mind; I am very resilient, I’m strong and I have a son who is the same, but I don’t take this for granted. I have changed my diet and increased my exercise because I know that if I don’t the situation could get on top of me. I have had 3 bad days in total where I’ve felt low in mood and worried about the future but some self-care, a chat with my nana and a cuddle with my son and I’m ready to face the next day.

I’ve come off Facebook as the negative posts and inaccurate reporting isn’t good for anyone, I get my 1 update from Boris’s live speeches and that’s it. I am very selective about what I read or see. I understand I have the control to reduce or raise my anxieties and I make the conscious effort not to let my conversations, interactions or mind be consumed by covid-19 and what could be.

I have just recently been back into services and I have felt safe about doing so. I wash my hands on entry and when I leave, but also have anti bac wipes in my car. I distance from people and in all honesty, I feel safer in the houses than I do in Morrisons. I have been working remotely supporting services and I will be supporting new managers with feedback on paperwork and support around model knowledge on teams.

My poor little back has suffered as I don’t have a desk at home and I’ve had a few visual painless migraines possibly because I don’t usually spend so much time in front of a screen, but I just take regular breaks as advised by Care in Mind. There have been times where I have had to close my laptop, go for a walk and come back a few hours later.

I know myself and I do whatever I need to do to be as productive as I can as that is all any of us can really do.