Caro’s meltdown and coping with Corona stress

Caro’s meltdown, dancing with teatowels and coping with Corona stress

In this post Caro Feely’s tells us about her corona stress meltdown, dancing with teatowels and other ways to deal with confinement, uncertainty and worry.

The speed at which the Covid-19 crisis has changed our lives is shocking. Our daughters Sophia and Ellie had to learn to do schoolwork at a distance. They needed their electronic devices more than ever for social exchange, but also for teleworking. But they were staying up too late and getting up late like in the holidays.

We set a rule that all devices had to be down by 9.30pm and the day needed to start at 8am like a school day. We wanted everyone up at a reasonable time and keeping to a schedule, so we didn’t dissolve into disarray.

I prayed for all the hospital workers and people directly affected by the virus. I thanked God we could still ship wine to keep some revenue coming in given the cancellations for bookings in March, April and May that we were processing.

Sean kept steady working in the winery preparing for our bottling in a couple of weeks. I fielded cancellations and postponements. Orders had flowed in after I sent an email saying we could still ship wine. I called our local post office and they said they were closed until further notice. I felt worried that this financial lifeline could also be broken and sent a message to our other transport partner hoping they were continuing to operate. 

This was a very meagre worry compared to those working directly with COVID-19 or suffering from it, or who have lost loved ones to it but my mind kept racing ahead to the future. Like many people we live far from our extended families, we are not able to offer to help our aging parents and we worry about them and our extended families and friends. I checked in with my body and found my muscles were all tensed as if I was ready for fight or flight. There was more stress than I realised in this crisis even though we were not on the frontline and we were all healthy, thank God.

The third day of confinement, Wednesday, the day after the first quiet St Patricks day in Ireland, our daughter told us she was not happy with the 9.30pm device restriction. It showed we didn’t trust her. We got into a big debate about it. Eventually Sean proposed he would switch the internet off at around 10 or 11pm when he went to bed rather than taking devices.

I knew that whenever Sean turned off the internet, I struggled to get it on in the morning. With the crisis I was already dealing with, the idea that now I would have to spend an hour every morning trying to get the internet to work made me crack.

I melted down. I cried and shouted. The world was experiencing an unprecedented crisis. What were we arguing about devices for? It was the wildest and craziest I have been in a very long time. Sean and our daughters looked at me wide-eyed. I was truly off the deep end. Eventually I calmed down and apologised. The meltdown made me realise that COVID-19 had generated more stress inside me than I had credited. 

We ended with several modifications to the ‘devices down’ plan for all of our health and wellbeing:

  • all devices down when Sean goes to bed – any time between 9pm and 11pm
  • everyone up and in the kitchen having breakfast by 7.15am weekdays and 9am on weekends
  • an hour of gardening together every afternoon – this moment in the sun is key
  • some other physical activity eg gym or yoga for at least a half hour every day. Outcome – since meltdown, Sophia has been leading us in a 20 -30 minute gym class then I have offered a 30 minute yoga class. That hour of physical activity is a lifesaver.

The day after meltdown I did a stress-buster yoga routine and felt better – I’ve included a version in the yoga pocket guide that is free to all people that subscribe to our yoga mailing list. In the search I also found a sequence to boost immunity. I am now doing that most days too. See our new yoga page and sign up to our yoga newletter for the free pocket guide book to beginner yoga

Our other shippers were still running. The wine ordered online was collected the next day. I had the doors wide open so the courier wouldn’t need to touch any door handles. We kept a wide berth. The courier left the paperwork for the pickup on the counter for me and said I should only touch it after 24 hours by precaution. We shared smiles and namastes of gratitude at a distance. They were delivered in max 5 working days as have all orders since.

A week later I shared a short video of me dancing with a teatowel and the message that goes with it as a post on Instagram which is the photo at the top of this post. I don’t have a photo of me in meltdown TG and I don’t think you would want to see it.

There is extreme stress about where we go from here and what the future will be.

On the positive side, pollution has dropped, the sky is clear, and our small family unit is spending more time together and laughing more than we have in a long time.

Important take-away for me: while we are all concerned about physical health with the clear threat of this virus and about economic health with the clear financial threat of the shutdown as a result of the virus, we also need to think about our mental health.

Here is my list of how to deal with problems of confinement and stress:

  • Sport/ activity – yoga is great and so is dancing – see Caro’s dance with the teatowel instagram post
  • Sun and fresh air (on a balcony or via an open window if you live in an apartment)
  • Get real rest – not watching a film, the kind of real rest that you feel when you lie down on a blanket and look up at the blue sky or when you do savasana after yoga
  • Keep a clear routine – don’t funk into flicking social media and watching films
  • Eat healthy food – take the opportunity of being at home to cook from scratch. Support small local growers if you can – they are even more necessary in this time of crisis.
  • Follow your passion projects with your spare time. Perhaps this is an opportunity for a reset.

Online orders are still shipping (yay!) – you can have your wine within 5 working days.

Read about the story of this organic farm – the series includes three books

Grape Expectations: A Family’s Vineyard Adventure in France (Caro Feely Book 1).

Saving Our Skins: Building a Vineyard Dream in France ( Caro Feely book 2 )

Glass Half Full: The Ups and Downs of Vineyard Life in France (Caro Feely Book 3).

See this page to order your case of  organic wine including shipping in the Uk, Ireland and EU mainland. Join the mailing list to receive a seasonal newsletter, events, wine pairing, recipes and more info on this topic at the bottom right of this page.

When Corona is over come and learn more about organic farming with a visit to Chateau Feely in South West France ; stay with us or do a yoga retreat, a multi day course or multi day wine tour or a multi day walking tour.

Showing 12 comments
  • Petrina

    Thank-you Caro,
    Take care & stay safe.
    Lots of love & hugs to you all.

  • Caro FEELY

    Thanks Petrina- best wishes and stay well to you too.

  • Anna

    Thanks Caro, I can understand your stress, especially when you are trying to stay afloat financially.
    Warmest wishes & hoping all goes well,

  • Julia Robert Battersby

    Thankyou,Caro,your thoughtful advice has travelled to us in South Australia !
    With similar activities, we are doing well but I’m going to take on dancing ,with my husband!
    It is certainly concerning having family in other countries, even in the same country as each state
    has its border closed!
    Take care
    Kind thoughts to all of you
    Julia and Robert

  • Caro FEELY

    Courage Julia. Thanks for your lovely message. Stay safe. Caro

  • Caro FEELY

    Thanks Anna. We appreciate your message. Best wishes and good health, Caro

  • Abigail Robertson

    Thank you, Caro! I enjoy your writing style so much even in times of stress you write so beautifully. Thank you for bringing your light to us during this very fluid, emotionally unstable time. I dream of the day my husband and I can visit again and have an extended stayA

  • Caro FEELY

    Thank you so much Abigail. Your message is a great motivator to keep up with my writing! Merci! We look forward to seeing you here too. Stay safe and well. With best wishes, Caro

  • Christine Lees

    Thank you for your very personal and helpful post Caro. I live in the next village and have been self isolating for nearly 3 weeks now and I found your suggestions about how to cope very helpful. I hope you manage to keep going with your usual energy and determination.

  • Caro FEELY

    Thanks so much Christine – look after yourself. Looking forward to being able to welcome you here again. PS we are offering free delivery of orders of 12 bottles for people within 20 minutes drive of us. Let us know if you are in need of wine supplies. Merci!

  • Joanna

    Thank you, Caro, for this post. I live with my family in a block of flats so we’re really stuck inside! I wish I had even a tiny garden where my kids could run! But I think your tips are really useful! I love the one suggesting the real rest and a clear routine. Thanks to technology we can still keep on working and studying, however, I feel it can be a bit overwhelming so this real rest can do wonders for our mental health.

  • Caro FEELY

    Thanks for your comments and for sharing your experience Joanna – I so appreciate your feedback.

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