2020 is proving to be quite a year for all of us!  Coronavirus – a personal journey is the result of my reflective experiences and how I coped with the changes.

Who’d have thought it when we saw in the new year back in January that this would be a year for unprecedented – now there’s one of, what I would call, Lockdown Words – changes to our working worlds, lifestyle and shopping habits!

So, did we really anticipate all of this? Were we ready?  How could we have known what it would mean for daily life, our relationships, our leisure time, our jobs and for me, my own workload?

When lockdown happened in the middle of March, schools shut, important exams were cancelled and we all retreated to our homes slamming the door behind us!  Little did we realise then that it would be that way for some 14 weeks or so.

Everything, except essential services and shops, shut. No exceptions. It was a very different world.

For me personally, 90% of my students disappeared, vanished like dawn to the daylight. With no exams to prepare for meant no call for tuition. But, surely as schools were closed, there would be a heightened demand for sessions?  You’d think so wouldn’t you?

Of course, I moved my tuition services online as this was the only ‘safe’ way to work; a frantic marketing strategy started.  Again and again, I tried every route I could think of: social media, community advertising, professional networking, Gumtree, Facebook groups and even a brand new website – more on this last method later on – but, nothing materialised, no leads, no queries, just silence.

As each week went on, the online tuition market became more and more swamped.  It seemed everyone wanted a piece of the action, a bite of the cherry.  My world was being torpedoed by every Tom, Dick and Harry and I felt like I was drowning under it all.  I had lost my purpose, my passion and my entry ticket to the rest of the world.

I filled my time building a new website – I was so out of my comfort zone!  Fortunately, I had the support of Neta and her team at nohasslewebsite.com. I couldn’t have done it without them!  Working on this kept me focused on what my services offered and how I could maximise my presence; to stand out from the crowd. It also helped me balance how I felt about all those others who had decided to give online teaching a go and that, actually, I was in a good position to stand head and shoulders above them.  I worked on my strengths and strengthened my weaknesses.

It was hard to stay positive. Just like so many others, I couldn’t go out unless it was essentials shopping or daily exercise and I could feel my mood sinking lower and lower, but I recognised that structure was really important to me.

Each day was planned to work on my business at my desk from 9 am until lunchtime:  advertising, marketing, networking. I became adept at designing online posts for Facebook, Twitter and even cautiously entered the domain of Instagram and its hashtag world!  Afternoons were spent walking and cycling as I knew this physical activity would benefit my mental health as much as my physical health. Not long before lockdown I’d had major surgery so this was also part of my rehabilitation.  I know the streets around where I live very, very well now!

This all worked, to some extent, but I was so pleased when the restrictions were lifted and we could slowly get back to the new ‘normal’ – whatever that is!

And as we enter the official school summer holidays, business is picking up.  It had all been worth it; writing coronavirus – a personal journey has been a culmination of my experiences, my thoughts and my feelings.

Next week I’m returning to some in person tuition which will certainly help with my frame of mind and hopefully restore my humour and my spirit.  It’ll be good to recognise myself again!