Edit: I originally wrote this post in April 2020.
Although it is now outdated, and we have since learned so much, I have decided to keep it here – to show what we did and how we coped. It is also a record of how many people felt at the time….
Hello, how are you doing? The world is currently gripped by the biggest health crisis – Coronavirus Covid-19 – in a century. How are you coping right now? There are so many posts out there about how to cope with quarantine, what we “should” be doing (everything it seems) and how we “should” be “living our best life”….
I’m not sure about this – I think we just need to be living day to day, with no additional expectations upon ourselves or our loved ones that we’re in our bubble with. In order to get through this Covid-19 crisis, we need to work through our emotions, be honest with ourselves and be kind to others. What do you think?
Originally, I had intended to be writing a different post about now.
I had thought I would write about what it’s like living (and working) with an invisible illness…. however it seems inappropriate in our current ‘world pandemic crisis’.
My experiences with Chronic Pain Syndrome due to years of suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Endometriosis will have to wait. Although valid – and still my reality (like many others) it doesn’t seem right… So many people are struggling right now. So many are sick and dying. 😔 So many have lost jobs and business, or had to close their own small businesses (like mine). Some will never reopen. The world economy will experience its biggest crash. Ever.
Covid-19 Health Crisis in New Zealand
Everyone in the world is currently experiencing the biggest health crisis since – what? World War II? The Spanish Flu? Whichever way you look at it, Covid-19 is a big horrible mess that we will somehow have to pull ourselves out of, at the other end.
So, I thought I’d talk a little about what I’m experiencing within New Zealand.
As a small business, I work from home (alone), and am non-essential, (no matter which way you look at it, unfortunately jewellery is not essential – apart from making people happy!)
How we coped:
I was needed at home. My husband – as a GP – is an essential worker. They have had to reduce their face-to-face consultations by 70% and introduce phone consultations (some practices have also introduced virtual consultations). So although they may not be seeing as many patients, the stress of the situation is emotionally taxing.
So, I need to manage the house, garden, pets, and look after our daughter full-time. Her school brought the school holidays forward and term 2 starts after Easter next week. As we’ll still be in lockdown, all learning will be done from home and all interactions with teachers will be in an online format. She has already had drama, dance and maths classes online (via Zoom), which have been going as well as can be expected, and provide a continuation of routine.
Going from working by myself during the school day at home, to suddenly having my daughter around full-time has thrown me. The first 2 days were complete chaos! We managed to sort out a schedule for the following 2 days, which worked out reasonably well.
I also had to realise my ‘work’ (ie anything related to my business and the behind the scenes stuff I do) had to take a big jump into the back seat. I needed to massively lower my expectations of what I could manage within a day – or at all…. Then it all went out the window anyway as the following week the kids were ‘on holiday’. Given the crazy times we’re going through, it seemed unfair to make work schedules continue through the holiday…. so they were scrapped for 2 weeks. (I’m hoping we’ll be getting back into them next week!!) 😂
Our bubble also needed to extend to my in-laws, who are unfortunately currently immobile. My Father in law had a foot operation the week before we went into lockdown, and he is non-weight bearing for 6 weeks. In some ways the lockdown was good timing for him – as he can’t go anywhere anyway! But at the same time, they need us to do their shopping (online ordering hasn’t worked), and check on them – which my husband has been doing every few days.
I feel sad that are can’t be there more for my own parents, who live half an hour away, so not as local. As both are over 70 they should be staying in self isolation completely, however being very active themselves and not having anyone close by to help them out has been more tricky. Fortunately they live next to a lovely large park, which has meant they have been able to take advantage of the good weather and go for walks daily.
I recently told my mum about Friends in Need website; which pairs up people locally who can do their shopping or anything else required, when they don’t have anyone else. You might find it useful for your loved ones too? It’s currently mostly in Auckland, though they are trying to set up elsewhere around NZ.
Continue to support local business
When I first realised that I would need to close my business to ensure postal delivery services were kept free for medical equipment and tests to be delivered around the country – I was really sad. I was about to have a sale on my bracelet kits – which I had hoped would help people whilst in quarantine, give them something fun to do! But it wasn’t to be. The sale was cancelled and I put up posts everywhere to say I was closed.
Perhaps selfishly, I also realised my birthday this year would be very different and I wouldn’t be getting m/any presents (as I had hoped to support other NZ small businesses and order things online.) When I realised the differences between an essential service and an online businesses that could (technically) still operate with contactless delivery (such as my own). I acknowledged with a heavy heart that I would no longer be able to support those others as I had intended.
Of course, most businesses (like Curlicue NZ) do offer gift vouchers – which is a great way to support them now, and get a lovely surprise further down the track! Also a couple of websites have been set up with similar suggestions for small businesses – and I encourage you to check them out and support small and local businesses within New Zealand (and around the world). The first one is Shop It Forward, which allows you to support small businesses throughout NZ by buying something now and having it delivered later. The second one is SOS Cafe which does the same thing, but for those in the hospitality business. If you would like to buy a gift voucher from Curlicue NZ, you can do so here.
SO what have I been doing? Like you, I’ve had loads of emails pouring into my inbox every day with suggestions of what I ‘could’ be doing… and much like others, I’ve found this all very overwhelming! I won’t talk about the day to day goings on – there’s plenty enough of that sort of thing in the news and elsewhere.
It’s taken me the first couple of weeks to really understand and lower my expectations of myself (and others). I can’t do everything, unfortunately I’m not superwoman – and I’ve realised I don’t even want to!
At home in our bubble
I (like many) had a list as long as my arm of things I wanted to do ‘with all this time’? Both within my business and DIY projects at home. However, I don’t really understand where the concept of having “more” time whilst in quarantine came from, because to me it feels like I’ve got LESS! (Or rather my time now is taken up with more things that are out of my control… which makes it feel like I have less time!)
Anyway, I’ve tried to focus on a couple of different things. Firstly, spending more time with my daughter. She and I have been painting a mural on our back garden wall.
This was actually a project we had intended to do anyway – and luckily I had gone and bought the paint the day we found out about going into lockdown!!
I have included some photos below to show the before and during phases. We still haven’t finished, so I will have to come back at a later date to show you the finished artwork!
My daughter definitely gets her creativity from me, and though we’re definitely not the best painters/ artists, we felt this would be a cool thing to do together – and so far the outcome has far exceeded our (and my husband’s) expectations (in a good way!)
It’s taken us a bit of time… we started off with all of us painting the background blue-grey on the wall. Then Amanda started painting the sunset and I started painting the darker night sky on the left end…. Then we started painting the birds and plants. Some of them I drew in pencil first, and then filled in and some of them we have used stencils (that I created beforehand). The left wall is now complete:
We’ve started on the right wall (design more complicated) – it’s still a work in progress!
It took us quite a long time to finish the right side of the wall (many months). As the weather got colder and rainier, and my daughter got busier with online school work.
But – here it is, finally finished:
Behind the scenes at Curlicue NZ
Secondly, I’ve tried to have some creation time for myself and started designing (and creating parts) of my new Leaves collection – to launch later in the year. I’m hoping to donate part of each item sold to a local charity. An early design photo below – I will likely write another post on the creation of a new collection later.
I’ve also been working on many other behind the scenes things, such as Pinterest, SEO, adding items to my website and keeping up with @curlicuenz on Instagram and Facebook – despite not actively selling anything.
Other than that I have deliberately tried NOT to focus on doing too many other things. Being a family of introverts, we haven’t felt the need to socialise externally too much, and I think we’re all OK mentally. Like other families in our community, we’ve got various soft toys (and bears) in the window and now a nicely decorated Easter Egg for the #NZEggHunt and look out for others when we go for our local walks/ jogs.
We’ve talked a lot about the current situation. I’ve read, done some cross-stitch (something I tried out last year), am helping my daughter clean/ sort her room to change around… We’ve watched lots of movies. My daughter created a games arcade that we’ve all played. We’ve also played several family games (Harry Potter Scrabble is a favourite). We’ve enjoyed a couple of dinner + games nights with friends on Zoom etc. I’ve also had a couple of choir practices on Zoom, which doesn’t really work – but it’s nice to see everyone’s faces. 😁 We’ve also made a point of being in more regular contact with family members (both in NZ and overseas).
Plenty comes up in my mind (usually when trying to go to sleep at night 🙄) of all the other things I ‘could’ be doing… but – especially in the last few days – I’ve tried to stop the feelings of overwhelm. Breathe. Focus on the positives.
We really are very lucky and New Zealand is in a very good position in regards to the coronavirus because of the positive actions of our government. Their ‘go hard, go early’ and ‘stay home in your bubble, save lives’ really worked for us. Comparative to other countries, we had very low case numbers (1500 odd), low numbers in our hospitals and very few deaths (as of today, we’ve had 22).
I hope you will continue to stay in your bubbles, be kind to one another (especially those in essential services), stay safe and save lives.
Like many other small businesses, I’m hoping to still be able to come out the other side of this Covid-19 pandemic and enforced lockdown and continue to create beautiful things to bring a little piece of delight and happiness to my lovely customers – and hoping that you do actually come back.❤️ 😊