I have been like everybody else in the last two years: worrying, waiting and getting anxious about getting COVID.
Would this be the day that I woke up with symptoms?
Would this be the morning that I needed to cancel everything?
And how would COVID affect me?
It seems like there was a never-ending cloud just waiting to block out the sun, and for there to
be a storm. It was always present. Even when we tried not to talk about it, always came up in
Even in my work environment, I found there was a real sense of fear around keeping COVID
out, while I was also trying to run a business. It brought a heaviness to everything.
This real sense of fear and dread about getting COVID affected me especially, as I was born
with a congenital heart defect. For me and my son Rossy, it was and is unknown how we would
cope. I could sail through it, but more than likely I wouldn’t. I have seen my son in an ICU on a
ventilator and various tubes after heart surgery. No mother wishes to see this. It is heartbreaking
and it still gives me nightmares.
I've been on ventilators and an ICU after heart surgery. I still remember waking up in an ICU
when I was 10 years old. It still gives me nightmares. And I still have problems swallowing. I
have a horrendous gag reflex 40 something years later.
Long story short, it’s something you wouldn’t wish on anybody.
And then, there was the fear of infecting others with vulnerable immune systems like me, and
the fear of dying and leaving my children. Or, it taking away everything I'd worked really hard for
like my business.
There was just a lot of fear and anxiety and looking back, a lot of wasted energy.
And I handled all those fears reasonably well: I have mindfulness, I have all these amazing tools
that I know and practice. But still, I am human and there were moments when it got to me more
The day I feared the most…
But on March 26th, the thing that I feared most, happened. I got up like any ordinary day, made my coffee, and went and got some hot cross buns as a treat. While I was doing some gardening, I noticed I felt a little tired and did a test to be sure: positive.
It felt like my world stopped for a moment. Suddenly I had COVID, and I think I was in shock.
My kids stayed with my ex-husband, and my partner went home to isolate so I could hit eight
days on my own.
I'm quite used to being on my own. But in some ways, it was quite daunting, quite lonely. And I
really had to work on getting my mindset right. Luckily a good friend who is a doctor, and my
cardiologist put me at ease.
The first 2 days weren’t so bad, I even ran a workshop on Monday and it went really well. But
later I wasn’t feeling great and started coughing up big bits of yellow gunk. I was probably sicker
than I thought, but once you’ve had multiple open-heart surgeries nothing is really that bad.
Lessons learned – Mindfulness & Gratefulness
So for me, COVID was more about my mindset: trying to overcome my anxiety, worries and past
trauma about what COVID could be, or how I would be.
There were some real lessons in there of just having compassion, self-acceptance, and really
just being on my own side, acknowledging how I felt, while my brain went 100 miles an hour: oh
my god, I’m going to get really sick and I'm going to die.
I was able to pull myself back and tell myself that this was just a thought.
The other thing that really helped was feeling grateful. Thankful for everybody that contacted
me, cared for me, everybody that I knew had my back, all those kind words… It helped me to
I also distracted myself with a 1000 piece jigsaw of the human anatomy. Every time I got up to
go to the kitchen to get a drink or something to eat I had to at least put one piece of the puzzle
together. I finished it on day 6 and it honestly felt like quite a big achievement.
Before - During - After Self-care
But what I really learned about COVID was that care is massive before during and after. In
October last year, I was quite a bit overweight, and I started keto and fasting. I have been very
conscious about my gut health and what I ate. I lost almost 15 kg and I really believe not
carrying that extra weight has helped me, not only physically, but mentally too. There's a link
between what's going on in our gut and our mental well being.
Then coming out of COVID I was really tired and worried about getting long COVID. I'm
self-employed and apart from the fact that I love my clients, I also need them in order to pay my bills.
So even though I wanted to dive straight in I asked myself:
What would I tell my clients or my best friends… how would I nurture someone else?
And that's exactly what I did is to nurture myself. I listened to my body. I worked out how to pace
myself so that I wouldn't have the boom and bust cycles.
I took a few clients, slept a lot and focused on my recovery.
COVID has taught me to become my very own and best advocate. I know my body and I know
my tolerance. I know what to ask for and I know how to get the care that I need. In my coaching,
I find that most people do not know how to advocate for themselves. They do not know what
their key should be. They don't know how to ask questions and they don't know how to research
in a way that weighs up the evidence.
I've also learned to soften and that sometimes less is more. Doing less is actually more
productive because I have more energy for my clients. I am learning how to sit back and hold
space, as I do with my coaching clients, instead of trying to solve everything and give all the
I am feeling this real sense of just wanting to go back to the basics. Spend a little bit less time
working, reconnecting with my purpose. What do I really need? What truly matters to me? More
just ‘being’ and giving my mind and body space to recover, heal and be the best possible
The lesson here is to really slow down, be more present, be grateful for what I have and those
around me, and that sometimes good enough is good enough. I have to let go and just trust that
if I look after myself and nurture, I will come out of this the other side a lot stronger, having
reflected and learned lessons and carrying those lessons forward.