Managing the COVID-19 pandemic

As much as I try not to focus on negative topics, this one is not going anywhere for a while so, with newborn photographers in mind I thought I’d share a few things that have been on my mind since we got the shocking news that Ireland was going into lockdown a few weeks ago. The COVID-19 pandemic is here now and there’s no denying it.

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WHEN REALITY HITS

I remember that Sunday afternoon when we first heard that the new coronavirus had arrived in Italy. A good friend of mine was spending the day with us to help with our kids, Thomas (5) and Sophie (7) as I was recovering from a tonsillectomy and my husband had to work.

As my friend and myself both sat at the kitchen table going through the news, she contacted a friend of hers who lives in the north of Italy to check if what we were reading was really happening. And it was. In fact, what her friend described sounded even more surreal than the articles we were reading at the time.

DENY OR PANIC?

In situations like this, I believe there are two types of people: the deniers and the panickers. I usually deny it, not to panic. But at that point, there was no more denying. My mind started spinning and all I could think about was when the virus was going to hit Ireland and how bad was it going to be.

Not long after that, the first cases of COVID-19 were reported and I was in full-on panic mode. I decided it was time to shake off my long recovery from the operation, take the kids out of school and make a list for groceries. We’d needed to be ready for the worst. As long as we were all safe at home, we’d be ok.

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND THE PANDEMIC

We needed to figure out what to do with our business. My husband Gareth, a wedding photographer, who was just about to start the busiest months of the year and me, a newborn photographer, with 7 babies due for their newborn shoots, 2 mentoring sessions and a group workshop to teach in the month of March alone.

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How were we going to deal with all of that? Just like most small businesses, there was no way this Pandemic wasn’t going to affect us. Especially as we are both self-employed.

After checking finances and our options we realised that everything should be ok and the most important thing was for us to be safe and healthy. Our business, like many others, would have to be in ‘pause’ until all of this is over.

STAYING POSITIVE

In the meantime, we are trying to stay positive. We are focusing on our kids. We are looking after our amazing and very understanding clients who need to reschedule weddings and newborn sessions. We are taking some time to work on parts of the business that needed more attention and projects that could never find space in our schedules.

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PRODUCTIVITY AND MENTAL HEALTH

Being productive during times like this can be very deceiving. The pressure of ‘having’ to keep yourself in work mode could have the opposite effect during a lockdown. When your routine has gone out the window and your freedom has been limited to going out shopping for groceries and the odd outdoor exercises, I think we can all agree that mental health is a must.

Having two small kids ourselves, I can say this lockdown has been a 24/7 roller coaster since the beginning. Adding the pressure of constant work would only make the experience even more difficult for everyone. So I’m not pushing it. I’m not in a hurry. I’m doing it as it comes and it is helping me to stay sane. Newborn photography makes me happy and it’s great to be able to keep doing what I love while in lockdown.

Newborn Photographers and COVID-19 7Don’t get me wrong. I have a list of things I want to do during this time and I’ll be getting through it slowly. I want to try and enjoy learning new things, getting projects done and looking after my business to stay ready for when all of this is over while I spend time with my family. Giving my to-do list a deadline and making it a main priority could add a lot of anxiety and stress to our lives and that’s definitely something we don’t need right now.

I’m not an expert at anything and I’m going through struggles too. There are good days and bad days. The thing is, after seeing so many articles and social media posts showing how newborn photographers can keep productive during this pandemic I noticed that if we are not careful, all this pressure to stay active professionally can be more harmful than helpful.

I’m not saying sit on the couch all day, every day until this is all over, but take it easy. Find your balance and what works for you. Be creative when you can. Take time for yourself when you can. Keep in touch with the ones you love.

See you on the other side of this.

Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay healthy.

 Lidi x