Adam’s Blog – The Calm Inside the Storm

It’s day 36 in the Big Brother pandemic simulator; the area formally known as my living room re-purposed for strategic-level admin. I use two screens to make myself feel important, imagining I am bunkered down in the situation room of the White House or Churchill’s War Rooms. To my right, the pram and copy of ‘Where’s Mr Penguin?’ suggests I am not.

Each day is different, throwing up new scenarios and new problems to solve, and yet each day seems identical, a 10-hour blur of zoom meetings, conference calls and a sense of frustrating disconnect from the front line where the really heroic work is taking place.

Our prison teams, every day entering overcrowded, confined environments that only amplify the sense of tension and anxiety. Our probation staff, the first port of call for service users released from prison and returning to a world transformed from the one they left behind six months ago. And our support workers in residential and community settings, dutifully doing all they can to support their clients, many of who struggle to grasp the severity of the situation we are all in or the need to adhere to guidance and change their patterns of

The sheer pace and volume of work make it hard to switch off after hours. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t lay awake some nights, worrying about a particular situation or fretting about something on my to-do list, unactioned from the previous day. This is one area where I feel in sync with the front line. We are taking on so much that how can possibly find the time and space to reflect, relax and look after ourselves.

Donna Karan, fashion designer and my part-time spiritual guru says, “it’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” The longer this goes on the more I can’t help but agree. If we prioritise taking the time every day to find a space for peace, not only can we find calm for ourselves, we can be a much-needed source of calm for others, be they loved ones, colleagues or service users.

Everyone has their own path to tread, finding solace in exercise, faith, fresh air, cooking or Netflix-binging, and others have written more helpful blogs on this topic, but the important thing is that we all make the time to do so.

We don’t know how long this storm will last, but we do know that the uncertainty only makes things tougher, and that for us going above and beyond is becoming the new normal. You can’t pour from an empty cup so make time to put yourself first. You deserve it.

Stay safe. Stay heroic.