COVID-19: Our journey so far…


As we approach the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, some of our colleagues at Alpine Fire Engineers have shared their personal stories and experiences of social-isolation, including why they feel it is more important than ever for our mental health well-being that we stay connected right now.

How have you supported Mental Health Awareness Week? This is a significant and worthy cause. It’s crucial that more people are discussing the subject openly, we encourage this activity in our business with our trained mental health first aiders.

Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and stay connected – we are!

Staying Connected

“The toughest challenge is not having my two grandchildren to visit… thank god for facetime! At work we’ve stayed connected on Teams and had a funky Friday call where we all dressed up.” Donna Pritchard.

“Within a few days people had packed up and started working from home…easy enough with a laptop, camera and microphone but not easy when working on a high spec tower…some of the team were running long leads around their houses…

I have been really impressed by my team’s ingenuity… although our first call was a mixed bag of extreme close ups and shots of the ceiling! One team member mentioned that this is the most we’ve ever talked.” Mark Thewlis.

“I seem to get a lot of work done… but guilty of ending up in front of my laptop too much so I am looking forward to getting some routine back, whatever that may be…” Richard Bradley.

“It’s good to have a team catch up in the morning to touch base and go through work loads…that sets me up for the day…I am completely set up and have no internet issues.” Justine Evans.

“It took me a while but I am now oddly comfortable with holding meetings, team catch ups and customer calls on video conferencing…how adaptable we are! I have made sure that my ‘reasons why’ are all positioned round my laptop.” Louise Plant.

“Project catch-ups and CEO’s update..seeing that work is carrying on…has been massively motivational…I have made great friendships with colleagues on Teams including lots of banter and keeping each other motivated.” Tracey Golden.

Exercising Inside & Out

“I realised I have not been mobile during the day… choosing a glass of wine in favour of a walk/run… consequently I feel like a 20 stone alcoholic! Most weekends I go for a run or long walk…I often do yoga and have taken up guided meditation…I follow Emma Kenny on Instagram” Donna Pritchard.

“The day starts at 8.30am…with a Joe Wicks work out with my son…and walk together in the evening… nutrition and exercise have become a much needed lifestyle change that I would like to continue… I’ve lost half a stone so far!” Tracey Golden.

“I have tried to exercise Mon-Fri as I’m lucky to have some equipment. No insta transformations here though, the beer and food have literally outweighed the training. I look forward to putting on some work trousers and a shirt – less excited about trying to button them up” Richard Bradley.

“At first I was overwhelmed with the ‘helpful’ soundbites about what we should do….Joe Wicks, Jamie Oliver et al …after I stopped shouting at the TV I decided to have a go at yoga. (Exploring the mind, glad that’s not on video!) Louise Plant.

Cooking & Gardening

“Lockdown has made us love our house more…we’ve had 3 years of rushing in and out of it daily due to ‘normal life’ …we have recently dug up one of the lawns and planted some veg. “I have eaten way too much food like homemade paella (shown above). However, I’ve also eaten loads of chocolate & crisps which I wouldn’t normally eat. COVID’s fault…! Richard Bradley.

DIY & New Skills

“I ordered a new computer desk and sunlounger…from now on I would like to be known as ‘The queen of flatpack!” Tracey Golden. “Silence! – for those that know me I am not a silent person. After over 30 years working in and around bustling offices I have had to come to terms with extended periods of silence punctuated with dog barks.

I have taken up Persian cooking, exploring new flavours and discovering new music on Spotify. Think I may be a little bit culturally richer when we emerge! Louise Plant.

“After a real test to get some bread flour and ending up buying a 16kg bag of artisan white flour, I found I’m not bad at baking bread!

Its the weirdest thing, knocking some flour, water and yeast together, bashing it around for 10 minutes, leaving it in a warm place then coming back to the creature of the blue lagoon 3 hours later after its tripled in size. Love it.” Mark Thewlis

“I hate gardening, its Dave’s job! But I actually got a lot of satisfaction from this” Justine Evans.

Positive Takeaways

“If I have needed to walk away – I have walked away! I found that spending 10 minutes with my own thoughts and a cup of tea worked wonders for calming the brain chatter…

I have also downloaded the ‘Head Space’ app which has meditation and sleep exercises …definitely something I will continue post lockdown.” Tracey Golden.

“This situation has given me time for reflection… Its been great to be able to relax at the weekend without feeling guilty that I had something to do or be somewhere – I will definitely keep this mindset once lockdown is lifted.” Donna Pritchard.

“Time with our son Theodore (1 year old) has been fun and challenging…I suppose we would not have had this quality daily family time if it had not been for COVID – so thank you COVID, for that and only that!” Richard Bradley.

“Plan for the worst and hope for the best, that’s all we can do every day. One thing COVID has taught me is that people tend to to surprise you in the most positive ways. So, instead of worrying about whether the glass is half full or half empty let’s just be glad we have a ***** glass. Mark Thewlis.

Helpful Tips to Stay Connected

  • Think how can you interact without putting your health at risk i.e chatting to neighbours over the fence.
  • Use technology to stay in touch. Use the video if possible as seeing someones facial expressions often helps.
  • Check in with your friends, family & neighbours regularly. Wherever you can, assist people in your life who may be more vulnerable and dont have the technology to shop online.
  • If you are in lockdown situation with other people, use this time to improve your existing relationships.
  • Manage your stress levels. Exercise, meditate and keep to a daily routine as much as possible.
  • It’s not just family and friends who require support, but others in your community. Showing kindness to others not only helps them but can also increase your sense of purpose and value, improving your own sense of wellbeing.

Please click the image to watch Kindness Matters video.

Remember …it’s OK not to be OK. There are a lot of support networks available should you need them. Here are a few…