The Rule of Six: TONY

Tony reflects on the Covid-19 pandemic.

CMOML Profile 18

Tony admitted that he hadn’t been too fussed about the first lockdown, but with so much ‘doom and gloom’ going around, it was challenging to keep a clear head at times. Taking a step back from watching the news and social media when the pandemic hit helped him to avoid the abundance of negativity.

Fortunately, Tony was able to keep to his usual routine without much change since he was able to continue working, albeit with a skeleton workforce. He spent most of his days off work out in nature; walking his dog, hiking the fells and going on bike rides, and he even got into a bit of wild camping (with a decent sleeping mat!) when he was able to. He found himself admiring the stars for hours under the night sky, and the sheer wilderness helped him to find some inner peace amidst the chaos.

Tony didn’t really struggle when he wasn’t able to see his family during the lockdown as he was already fairly well adapted to having limited contact with people from his time serving in the army.

When on tour, Tony would have to wait for an e-Bluey or until someone had finished on the satellite phone, so he felt that his military experience definitely enabled him to adapt to being away from family for a long period of time.

Getting used to face masks wasn’t so much of a problem either, since it hardly compared to full-face respirators and army gear in hot countries like Afghanistan (try wearing an NBC suit and run five miles in that with all your kit on!)

His family lives just down the road and, while he can’t give them a hug or see his kids during these times, he’s been able to text them or video call on FaceTime or Zoom to stay in touch - which Tony thinks is probably more than he would have had on tour anyway.

The day that the Carlisle Veterans Hub planned for its first meeting ended up being the day that the country went into the first lockdown, which meant that they each had to learn and adapt to meeting virtually instead. Having never heard of Zoom prior to the lockdown, Tony now hosts the weekly Zoom sessions for Carlisle Veterans Hub to keep in touch with other veterans - which seems to help a lot of the lads.

Take a deep breath and recenter yourself. Try and take the calmest approach to any situation and keep a level head.

It’s not good for our mental health to constantly listen to the negativity in the news, so spend some time away from it and realise that some things are simply out of your control but you shouldn’t fret about stuff that you can’t control.

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