COVID Coping Tips (Lockdown Week 1) – SME Business Owners tell Yours Truly how they are coping – Coffee with Colm Episode 209

I had a busy week! 7am to 11pm became my new normal, with short breaks for fresh air – walks and Wim Hof-esque cold water river swimming – built in most days.

Two things of significance happened;

Firstly, Carambola was called back to work by Government as an Essential Service, providing Emergency Provisions Packs for many of the most vulnerable children whom we would have served had school been in session. The nationwide, multi-disciplinary team was superb – we Zoomed every day at 4pm – and I am delighted to report that by Good Friday, we will have provided hampers of non-perishable cupboard staples to thousands of children nationwide in non-descript packaging, using a household-name courier to avoid any possible stigma attached to receipt of same from prying eyes. #hiddeninplainsight

Secondly, whilst all that was going on, I managed to carve an hour out each day for Coffee at Eleven and thoroughly enjoyed a unique interview each day, Monday through Friday over Zoom in front of a LIVE virtual, muted audience – muted that is, until we got to Q&A from the floor.

My guests this week were:

  • Fiona Doyle, International Personal Stylist
  • Anthony Cronin / Colm Murphy, Flexiwage
  • Eoin Sheehan, TV Chef, Dark Kitchen Entrepreneur
  • Valerie O’Connor, Val’s Kitchen
  • Patrycja Machowska, With Love Beauty and Soul Therapist

Each brought a completely different vibe and perspective to our being in Lockdown, reflecting not only on their businesses before during and after COVID, but increasingly on the unexpected positives appearing in the totality of their lives by being forced, by COVID, to stop.

Towards the end of each interview, after we had learned who they were, what their business is, what it was like before COVID, what its like now and what are their hopes for when the veil lifts, I asked each of them for the one tip they would offer their nearest and dearest in terms of coping with COVID?

To find out what each guest’s No. 1 tip is for Coping with COVID, stick on the kettle, grab a coffee, pen and paper, pull up a comfy chair and watch the 12 mins ‘Top Tips’ video (highly recommended) , listen to the 12 mins Top Tips Podcast (recommended) or read on below…

Top Tips

“I think, personally, it’s taking it day by day and not thinking too far ahead. We’re all living in the moment a little but more now, because we have to. When we hear two weeks of lockdown or whatever, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, two weeks, that’s such a long way away.” I think if we just take it day by day and hour by hour, you know, that has worked for me in the past coping with things and don’t be trying to think too far ahead, you know “Oh my gosh, what are we going to do for the summer holidays, what are we going to do in September? September will come. It’s a long way away, we’re here today, we’re here now and I suppose it’s what you can do today, to make today good for you, not tomorrow. Just focus on today, not yesterday, but the present.”

(Fiona’s Full Interview Video here)

Colm Murphy: “You’ve got to look after yourself first. So, for me, exercise is very important, and so kind of maintaining and looking after that. And then, the second part, is my network in terms of, you know, we’re all sitting at home, we’re all isolated, we’re not going into an office so it can also be a time of, you know, “What are other people doing? Am I doing the right thing? Am I making the right decisions? Business owners are wondering, you know, “How do I do it?” Lots of people out there, lots of people willing to offer an opinion, so reach into your network, extend out to people, talk to people, get advice, the likelihood is you aren’t the first person inventing this wheel, it’s been gone there before, you know somebody has had an experience somewhere along the line, in getting through the challenges. So I would say, look after yourself, expand your network and use it wisely.

Anthony Cronin: “Yeah, I’d be saying the same thing, keeping in touch as well to be honest, because as I was saying to you guys at the start, you know, I’m just back from America, I’ve been isolated in the UK for fourteen days, and I’m going to come back to Ireland and be isolated for another fourteen days so what I’ve been trying to do is keep in touch, whether it’s by video or phone, because it’s like, everybody’s in the same boat, as Colm said. We’ve started doing daily calls, having a bit of a laugh, trying to make them a bit lighter, taking the mickey out of each other for maybe not having shaven in a couple of days, things like that, so it’s kinda keeping the lighthearted and the bit of fun going, so it’s not all doom and gloom and that’d be my advice, keep laughing if you can and looking at the positive side, you know?”

Colm O’Brien: “Colm, did you say that Anthony being isolated there fourteen days and another fourteen in Ireland is great? Is that what you told me earlier?”

All laugh.

Colm Murphy: “No, actually, they don’t say fourteen days here, Colm, I told him twenty-eight days when he gets back here.”

All laugh…

(Anthony and Colm’s Full Interview Video here)

“The biggest thing for me has been routines. I’m a creature of routine, you know, prior to all of this, so again, with all the changes, trying to find a routine has been super-important and it makes it easier to get up when you know you have, “Ok, I have to do x, y and x.” Exercise is a huge part of that routine. It;s more important than ever to be getting outside, obviously withing a 2km radius, but getting some fresh air, getting some exercise, moving your body, clearing your mind and scheduling that into somewhat of a routine, on a daily basis.

I was chatting to someone during the week and they were essentially not working anymore, but I was saying it’s still important to have routine. You know, your routine is, get up, have breakfast, walk the dog, it might be clean the dishes, read a book, there’s still some structure to the day, and that definitely, no. 1 helps time pass faster, because if you’re just sitting down idle, time goes very, very slow and days become very long.

And another one. I have a tattoo on my arm. It’s in Italian but it’s “What consumes your mind, will control your life.” And I think that’s as important now as ever because this consumption of media and unfortunately media nowadays is quite, it’s dark and it causes anxiety, so what you’re consuming can essentially control how you feel in your life, so be careful what your consuming, and again that all ties in with being outdoors, watching your consumption, spending time with family, you know, all that kind of stuff. You know, trying to be in the best positive mindset will control your life in the best possible manner.”

(Eoin’s Full Interview Video here)

“Focus on the things that are your business. And I don’t mean your business as in the thing you do to make money, it;s that YOU cannot control whether or not whether or not there are hospitals, you now whether or not we have facilities. You can’t control what other people are doing if you see gangs of people walking around. So, the what ifs – what ifs are absolutely pointless and draining, and I know, I am the master, the mistress of what iffing , so we’re living in this parallel of you know, we’re supposed to live in the moment, but really nobody is and now, you have to live in the moment because that’s really all there is. So, you know, take care of what you have to take care of, which is putting food on the table, em, I don’t think it’s the time for us putting ourselves under pressure for self-improvement, or bodybuilding, you know, just, em, exhale… and enjoy each other’s company really that’s the most important thing, is when you’re having a meal with your family, look at them and say, wow, how lucky am I? And if you’re having a meal with yourself and you’re healthy, say how lucky am I? Or the cat or the dog. And I guess yeah, it’s a classic case of appreciating what you have. We’re living in relative luxury, we’re not in pain, we’re not being bombed, we’re not hungry, so just try and keep some perspective. And, everyone’s in the same boat.”

(Val’s Full Interview Video here)

“I think, we need to all remember, and I’m saying just from my experience okay, I’m not a life coach, I’m not certified to say that, but what’s working for me is, we need to keep reminding each other every single day, that thinking bigger and thinking positive is free! Okay?

And what hurts us in life, in this situation, I absolutely understand people are losing their jobs, they need to fire and let go people but what hurts us, is the stuff about the situation, not the situation itself. Changes doesn’t hurt. What we think about those changes is, and the meaning we give to those changes are the one which are like causing the pain in us. So, if we can just take a deep breath and do what we can, with what we have and where we are I think that would be enough.”

(Patrycja’s Full Interview Video here)

Enjoy. I (and the LIVE audience did!)

I have another full week of interviews over Coffee at Eleven next week for Lockdown Week 2, with some very cool people, beginning on Monday featuring Neisha Leahy Ahern, Owner Catwalk Hair Consultancy.

Join us FREE and LIVE on Zoom at 11am on Monday and every weekday thereafter at this link: or subscribe to my YouTube Channel here to catch the replays at a time that suits you.

Stay Apart, Stay Safe.

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