The Covid-19 pandemic is like sleeplessness with a baby

covid-19 loosely gritting your teeth pandemic sleeplessness Oct 15, 2020

It occurred to me the other day that the situation with Covid-19, aka ‘the pandemic’, is like having just had a baby.

Or rather (let’s make this super personal), I’m coping with it the way I coped with having my first baby, back in November 2008.

For the first few weeks, I was being patient and going with the flow. I had expected the sleeplessness of course, the interrupted sleep and the sudden change of routine, or lack of routine, so I was taking it in my stride as best I could.

But after nearly 2 months, I remember distinctly telling a friend: ‘It’s been 8 weeks. Surely, she should sleep through the night now?! (I did from 5 weeks apparently – but I was a dream baby AND a bottle-fed baby – this was a demanding, breastfed baby!) I’m so tired. It’s not getting any better.’

I think my friend wanted to say, ‘Well, what did you expect?’ but she’s the oldest of four and I’m an only child with zero experience of babies prior to having my own. Maybe she knew something I was only starting to figure out.

That day, I realised that this was actually going to be much more long term than I had thought. And my strategies for coping until then were not working so well any more. Kind of loosely gritting my teeth while waiting for it to pass. You can only ‘loosely grit your teeth’ for so long. This technique was not going to work for many more weeks and I was falling apart. I had to rebuild my life from the ground up, and definitely review and update my expectations.

It seems that coping with the pandemic has followed the same pattern.

Initially, we all thought lockdown would be for a few weeks. Then we realised it would be for longer. But we thought we could still cope. At least I did. I kept fear at bay. Loosely gritting my teeth when it was present in my mind, body or energy. Knowing it wouldn’t be THAT long.

I kept us all in a bubble, me and my girls (my husband doesn’t worry about anything but I still included him in my bubble, asking him not to give me any numbers or predictions).

We are extremely lucky to have a big house and a large garden, and every day I am grateful that my office is away from the house, near the bottom of said garden. I have been even more grateful over the last 7 months. I could keep things separate. I could work when I worked, be with the girls when I was with the girls, stop for the day and lock my office and be present in the house. We could go to bed later, wake up later if needed, and it actually felt like freedom most of the time. There was practically no need to ‘loosely grit my teeth’.

From April onwards, I knew there would be another lockdown in the autumn. It hasn’t happened in Oxfordshire yet but I still feel it will happen, and soon.

Keeping the fear about that second lockdown at bay is harder now. It’s the autumn, it’s colder, it’s darker, the days are shorter, and it will not be a holiday for the girls this time, or for me. I will definitely have to home-school them, we will have to carry on regardless, yet with everything changing. My schedule will have to be modified again and my expectations will have to be lowered again around what I can and can’t do – even lower than before.

I feel so frustrated, so angry sometimes, so sad if I let myself.

I use all my tools (EFT, meditation, hypnosis, breathing, yoga…) to stay ‘on top of it’ but I admit that some days I struggle. The techniques are harder to use, they take longer to put me in a good frame of mind and I don’t always remember to use them because life is so busy again.

For me lockdown was easy for many weeks. Because of the weather, because of having no time constraints, because the girls loved being at home all day doing art and reading.

What happened in the last 5 weeks since schools went back has been a mixture of things and feelings. I have more time without the girls, but suddenly having time restrictions again has felt like less freedom. In the end, it has meant less time allocated to me, less time allocated to my work, and trying to cram everything in between 9.30am and 3pm again, when I had got used to having the freedom to do whatever work I wanted whenever I wanted to – usually starting quite early in the morning and doing lots more while the girls read or played or watched a film, even having the luxury of being able to have clients late afternoon.

And so over the last few days, I have been reminded of those adjustments I had to make after 8 weeks of sleeplessness with my baby. The ‘not knowing’, the uncertainty of sleeping and eating patterns, the uncertainty when weaning started about whether she would like the food I would painstakingly prepare (after 11 years, it still hurts me when the refusal happens!)

I’m a highly sensitive person and she’s a highly sensitive child. We’re both highly intuitive too. We’re both empaths too. We’re all the things that uncertainty never helps – living life serenely requires work, patience and dedication. We are not naturally serene. In fact, I have re-committed to what I call my ‘Serene Start’ – time for me first thing in the morning, usually between 6.30 and 7am, earlier if I am naturally awake.

I think that 2021 is going to be a deep deep year. I can’t express it in any other way. It’s going to be DEEP.

And I’m all about DEPTH.

In fact, in my Money Breakthrough Business Coaching training (I should be fully certified by the end of December, SO excited about this!), I worked on a particular module last week that gave me my Brand Brilliance Values, and they are depth and high sensitivity – depth of awareness of yourself and the planet, and inviting you to see your high sensitivity as a gift rather than as a burden.

Those are my values, along with freedom.

And so in order to cope with what’s coming, I have to do the work, and if you’re reading this, so do you. And you are READY. You have to. Because if you want to survive the end of 2020 and the start (maybe the whole) of 2021, you also need to commit to yourself first and foremost. The rest will follow, but you have to come first. Above and beyond your children and partner/husband/wife.

If you want to do deep work in 2021, I am inviting you to book a free 20-minute consultation with me so we can discuss where you want to go deep. Is it in your business? In your personal life? Is it for 3 months or for a whole year? And if you want to write a book about your personal story, 2021 IS the year – we can discuss that too and you can find out more here.