I’m writing this blog 11 weeks into a global pandemic which has thrown our lives into disarray. Who would have thought when we were making our New Years resolutions at the beginning of 2020 and making plans for the year ahead, we would be where we are now?
Whatever your political or moral views about the way in which the UK are managing this dreadful virus, my reflection is that this virus has forced us to consider the balance between our home lives, our professional lives, our roles as partners, as parents and as carers. The careful balance between health and economy is being grappled with by the Government and we as individuals are also trying to find the right balance for our personal and professional lives at a time of immense stress.
For me, this virus has thrown a business with a unique selling point of working face to face for longer lasting, respectful separations on its head. The business plan certainly didn’t envisage being unable to safely meet clients face to face as a result of a virus grounding us all to a halt.
For those whom I supervise and support professionally, it has led to work loss, income loss and huge juggling exercises of working and caring for children. I am aware and do not underestimate the psychological, emotional and practical effects of the current situation for the clients I am working with. Some of these effects include financial and employment fears, worries about caring responsibilities, concerns as a result of being, or partner to, a front line worker, fears about illness and death for themselves, children or members of their family, anxiety about the future and sudden bereavements.
This virus is a silent threat and one which scientists from all around the world are trying to understand. What I think this virus has shown us all is that we need to slow down. The pace of life prior to this virus was incredible. The speed at which emails or phone calls were expected to be responded to, the need for fast fixes/quick solutions became the norm. 11 weeks in and we are remarking about the sound of bird song and nature all around us perhaps having slowed down enough to take notice rather than running from one deadline to the next.
We might not be emotionally adjusting or thriving most or any of the time and that is ok. Getting through this period is certainly enough in my book. Giving yourself permission to get through it in a way which works for you is enough. This also applies to divorce and separation and your choice as to how you deal with it. You can rush head first into taking positions or contacting solicitors to ‘fight’ for you or you can reflect and consider how best to manage this situation which you might feel you have no control over.
I know that couples will be and are finding this period really tough. I realise that couples who were already on the verge of separating or who had made the decision to divorce prior to COVID will be struggling. Even those relationships which were intact before all of this may have found the wide ranging effects of this pandemic and the terrible loss of loved ones have impacted their emotional health as well as their family life. I fear that children will be psychologically being impacted by the restrictions to their lives and the loss of connection.
I certainly don’t profess to have all of the answers to everything we are facing but I do know that life will not be returning to what we used to consider normal anytime soon. So, if you are feeling emotionally, practically or financially stuck at home and you feel that there is nowhere to turn, there is a community of family law professionals from mediators, counsellors, family consultants, solicitors and arbitrators all here for you. We may not be able to see you face to face but we are available and have the skills to work with you online to help you through.