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Our key workers go above and beyond the call of duty every day, they are vital lifelines for many of our community and their resilience as we face the biggest health crisis our generation has seen has been evident, we speak with front line worker Rosemary* to see how she is coping.

“I provide care for elderly people in the community, outside of the residential care home system. I’ve been doing this job for about 10 years and love the relationships which I’ve built over this time, my clients are like friends to me and supporting them through this difficult time has been a bonding experience like no other.

As a key worker initially, I found the whole situation quite daunting, adjusting to the new PPE measures, and the fear associated with the risk of contracting the virus has been scary. I do suffer with anxiety and as we know anxiety loves uncertainty, I think we can all agree these are very uncertain times.

But I recognise the essential work I’m doing within the community, and that I have people who really rely on me. This has been a good focus for me and in many ways the response from the community and the way people have come together has made me feel more supported than I have in a long time. I feel recognised and appreciated for the work I am doing which has made me feel less alone as I go about my job.

During isolation I’ve frequently been the only person that many clients have seen and their only connection to the outside world. For this reason, it’s so important that I remain upbeat.

It isn’t always easy to do but I’ve really tried to focus on the things I can control during this pandemic. I exercise regularly and get out into my garden as often as I can. Keeping a positive outlook is easier said than done at times, but my best advice to myself, which I often give to my elderly clients, is to take each day one at a time.

Something which has really helped has been to walk as often as I can to my client’s homes. This allows me to unwind, providing a nice buffer in between work and home. I listen to music and podcasts and use crafts to switch off. Most of my craft projects aren’t that good (!) but really, the result isn’t the point. It’s the doing, the keeping on, the staying occupied.

On those days we all have, where things seem a bit tougher I’ve been so moved by the publics display of gratitude, looking at all the rainbows posted in windows, the clapping every Thursday and look on my clients faces as I walk through the door. I realise how special my job is.”

If you would like to find support for any of the themes in Rosemary’s story, take a look at the following resources:

Our Frontline’, a collaboration between Mind, Shout, Samaritans, Hospice UK and Dying Matters provides 24/7 support via call or text to key workers in health or social care settings.

Our Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Helpline is for anyone experiencing poor mental health or wellbeing challenges as a result of the pandemic in Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

Our Free Wellbeing Toolkits can help you find practical ways to help you manage feelings of anxiety.

*To protect her privacy at work, ‘Rosemary’ has blogged under a pseudonym. If you would like to share your own story in this way, have a look at our blogging guide.

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