So hands up, who has suffered from Lockdown Fatigue?
Usually I spend my time being upbeat, optimistic and positive, but I've really struggled to maintain my "everything's going to be alright" attitude. Frankly, no-one is certain that everything's going to be alright, so it would be nonsense for me to stand and shout it from the hill tops. I'm more likely to shout out "when the hell is it going to be alright again?" to whomever might be listening!
I work from home "normally" so that wasn't really the problem for me. For the first 18 weeks of lockdown I broadcasted on Facebook Live Monday-Friday fifteen minute slots where I chatted, ranted, laughed and cried over topical subjects that were happening around us and the rest of the world. With over 90 live broadcasts and nearly 13, 000 views, I thought at least I was doing something positive for those who were not so self-assured about working from home.
What caused my Lockdown Fatigue was the loss of my regular meeting of people - those 1-1 sessions or group networking events that are so essential to give you life, spirit and a sense of belonging. I'd normally only have about three networking sessions a month, one I would attend every month, the other two I'd go to as much as I could, but my view of networking has now changed. I think if you are working for yourself and not really talking to others as part of your job, these networking meetings are a must. Having other human contact is a must. Having your ideas bounced off other human beings cannot be replicated in any other format. I'm not sure what I would have done without zoom - it's the second best to actually meeting someone.
But my fatigue was getting worse. I was finding it really hard to motivate myself and my creativity was almost at zero. After a lot of discussions and support from my husband, I took myself of to France to stay with my brother, who lives so rural his village hasn't really been affected by the COVID19. It was so heartwarming to see normal family life with kids, dogs, long walks and trips to the lake to swim, without having to live in fear we might catch the virus. I must say, before I got on my Ryanair plane I was nervous I would catch the virus from everyone I met - I had heard that no-one was wearing masks and it wasn't safe. The opposite was true, everyone wore masks and stayed within their own family groups, and thankfully no coughing or sneezing going on! We drank wine, ate lots of pain au chocolat and just allowed myself a bit of me time.
It's almost September and the children are going back to school...
Although my children are no longer school age, I am still looking forward to the schools going back. I always feel that life can return to some sort of structure and a level of normality when the kids are at school. They too are wanting to go back as they're missing their pals. And, teachers are no doubt looking forward to getting back to teaching. Some children have not been as lucky during lockdown and not had home schooling, they have missed so much learning, so it really is time to get them back. But at the back of everyone's mind there is that fear that someone is going to catch THE virus. Sady, it is a fear that we will have to live with until a vaccine is found.
What happened to our bunting business during lockdown?
Our business flopped in March and April. No events, no weddings and no parties. Not really a need for bunting.... but without wanting to throw the towel in, I decided to use all our fabrics for making face masks. "Business Pivoting", the official title, but it is just resilience and survival kicking in. After 16 years of Emma Bunting, I wasn't prepared to close the shutters. So, we've been making cotton pleated masks and printed corporate ones for the past four months.
Now with schools going back, I read that the children are going to have to wear masks at school. I would have hated that, especially as a teenager, but I understand the importance.
We're using this quite time to start thinking about Christmas. I can't believe we are actually mentioning that word in August, so apologies to anyone who is offended, but we've got some exciting ideas to share. With everyone having to wear face masks, we are thinking that Christmas face masks are going to be the new Christmas Jumper. And one of the projects we are working on is to get First School children to draw and colour in their own face mask design and we have it printed on face masks as gifts for their family's over Christmas. It could be a great way of PTAs raising a bit of money for the school, and a great way of getting children more involved in understand why you need a face mask and them not to be worried of the idea.
So to the remainder of 2020 I say BRING IT ON - my fatigue is easing and I have recognised that I need human contact to feel fulfilled and to find the sparks of creativity. You can't be positive all the time, sometimes you just have to take a few steps back and take a big breath. The move forward again with passion and commitment!
ps if you would like to register your interest in our children's printed Christmas face masks, please email me at email@example.com