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I’ve spent the last week in a perpetual state of high anxiety.
I wake just after 2 am in a cold and hot sweat, worry pulsing through my veins.
I would usually attribute this to the menopause but truthfully, the last three weeks have been the worse I can recall in living memory.
I’m suffering from coronavirus burnout, a heightened tension of worry, stress and fear rolled into one, and I’m not the only one.
I am a business owner and have worked and survived three recessions.
The IMF has declared the world is in an economic downturn similar to the great depression of the thirties.
This served to amplify my anxiety to such a degree that when I finished doing my Friday house clean with the help of my kids, my husband said ‘god you look dreadful’.
Every day without fail, my husband pays me a compliment and, on this occasion, I looked in the hallway mirror and acknowledged he was right.
Yes, it’s stress I said, and it’s all over my face.
I receive emails daily advising me how to get through this crisis and recommended resources that will help.
We are all in together, the hashtag I started about a month ago.
But we aren’t in it together.
There are business people I know that are already closing down and making the hardest decision to take action before they are pushed into it.
Hard-working people who have sunk their life savings into a business they dreamed of.
Honest people who have worked and paid into the system and they know one thing and that is an uncertain future.
Independent businesses who rely on footfall have closed.
Some thought it would be two weeks now they live in angst in the knowledge that this closure could be indefinite.
The government-imposed closure will see the demise of those businesses who have worked so hard to establish themselves locally, demolished in an instance by one decision.
A wave of anxiety sweeps over me when I least expect it.
I cannot believe that the impact of COVID-19, a cold like flu virus is demolishing our very way of life. It has inextricably linked us.
In quiet moments I think of people I know whom I work with or who provide me with services, everyone has been affected in some way.
There are defining moments that occur throughout life, and this is one of them.
I am prepared yet, I am not.
I have no idea what the future looks like for my business, my husband’s business and my children.
GCSEs are cancelled and my eldest son’s third year effectively terminated.
Where does that leave my children?
Multiply that by a million others, their future lays in hands that we know not.
I find hope in everyday things laughing at the memes and infographics circulating the internet and social media.
Trying to make light of what is a very grave situation.
It is a new way of life and one which we are having to adapt to very quickly.
We don’t know how long this imposed lockdown will go on for, but we must heed the advice not to go out.
I see young people who are employed enjoying the extra weeks’ holiday receiving full pay and flouting their fun on social media.
They think they are fortunate being able to carry over their holiday entitlement to next year.
But what they don’t realise is this will put a further strain on the companies they work for and ultimately taxpayers.
They may not be so lucky, after all!
Like many, I am riding this storm as best as I can.
I thought I’d seen everything, experienced it all, until now.
For the majority of SME businesses, any help will come too late.
For those employed, they might be enjoying the time away from the office as a holiday. But the companies they work for won’t be able to take the strain for much longer.
Where will they go when they are unemployed and who will pick up the tax bill?
The impact of the coronavirus will last for years.
My generation and future generations will be picking up the pieces long after this virus disappears back from where it emerged.
I am learning that I, we have to keep healthy, to keep going.
This is a new start for me and for us.
We have been so hung up on bigger, better and faster.
Being forced to slow down has made me appreciate small gestures.
I have been so worried because I can’t get toilet rolls.
Early yesterday morning, my darling husband appeared in the bedroom doorway with a big pack of loo rolls.
I had a big grin hiding the relief on my face.
You see, it is really the simple things that matter the most.