What can we learn from a man in a submarine? By Catriona Cookson

There are plenty of articles around at the moment offering advice for dealing with the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in at the moment ….lots of people who have worked from home for many years sharing their practical tips, IT experts offering virtual solutions and eLearning and psychologist offering mental health support.

I am a great believer in “trusting the experts” and one of the best things I have read is this by Jon Bailey – @SloopJontyB . I don’t know Jon; I just saw his post and it resonated with me – he is ex Royal Navy and spent prolonged periods in a submarine…..so I figured he knows what he’s talking about. This is his recent post – it’s clear, concise and manageable. I’m intending to write about some of the topics he covers in the weeks to come , (and please feel free to respond with any tips you may have) but for now I thought I’d share Jon’s thread of Twitter posts below.

“During my time in the Submarine Service, I – along with many others – endured many weeks and months cooped up in a steel tube under the waves. I just thought I’d share a few coping strategies for many of you now facing a Covid-19 “patrol”.

ROUTINE: Life at sea is dictated by shifts and routines. You can tell what day it was by what was for dinner. Make a routine now, test it then write it down & stick to it. Divide your day up in to work (if home working) rest, exercise, meals, hobbies, etc. Do the same for kids.

PRIVACY: the only place private at sea was your bunk. Make a dedicated private time / place in the routine. Even if you timeshare the front room get everyone a couple of hours alone. Do whatever you want: watch shit films, pray, yoga, arrange matches: whatever gets you through.

EAT: scran onboard was usually pretty good and broke up the monotony of patrols. Take time to prepare meals. A good mix of “feast & famine” will stop the pounds piling on – one boat dis Steak Saturdays, Fishy Friday, Curry & Pizza nights. On other days soup & bread was enough.

EXERCISE: you’ll have the advantage of not having to use a spinning bike in a switchboard. 20-30mins a day of whatever as a minimum. Fitness Blender on YouTube has workouts for all. It’s a natural antidepressant, breaks up the day and keeps you healthy. Get outside when able.

CLEAN: that house is going to get grungy now you’re spending a lot more time in it. Put time in your daily routine to clean and stick to it.

CONNECT: even during radio silence we still got a weekly telegram from loved ones back home. This was a weekly highlight. Keep in touch with your people. My current work has agreed a daily “coffee” catch up online even if there’s no work to discuss.

PERSPECTIVE: like all other patrols, this one will end. It’s a shit sandwich but better than dodging barrel bombs. Don’t obsess the news or Twitter shit. Bring your world closer, focus on little things that you enjoy & make plans for the future . At least you should have a window!”

CEC Blog 5


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