The last few weeks have seen a partial reopening of our communities, our retail outlets and our businesses. This change appears to have been met with mixed emotions ranging from relief and elation that we are returning to the freedom of choice and movement that we are so very used to, to trepidation and even fear of what the new era feels like and what the implications are.
We are living through extraordinary and challenging times and we are being tested like never before. Our ultimate aim for our family and friends, colleagues and communities is that we all stay safe and well while living through a crisis that is far from over and continues to take its toll in so many ways. There is no map for the difficult road ahead and we all continue to feel the impact of this virus in our daily lives and share many different concerns for the future.
While there has been much discussion, and rightly so, about being kind to others, it is equally important that we do not abandon ourselves in the process and exclude ourselves from the circle of compassion. Being kind to ourselves is more important now than ever before. We all have good days and bad days, and therefore prioritising our own wellbeing allows us to ‘put on our own oxygen mask before reaching out to others’. Our friends, loved ones and the wider community will continue to need practical and emotional support for the foreseeable future, and we should lend a helping hand when we can, but we need to feel able to do so.
To achieve this, we need to give ourselves permission to make our personal wellbeing a priority and acknowledge how resilient and resourceful we have become. I, like countless others, have realised that it is understandable to feel overwhelmed and even despondent. It is healthy to accept that we all have weaknesses and we all make mistakes that we can learn from, which is something we can all attempt to do on a daily basis.
I have found a well-practiced approach is simply to take one day at a time, while reassuring myself that this crisis will not last forever. I have found strength in achieving a balance of anticipating and preparing for what the future may bring, while enjoying what I can from today and the blessings and comfort that brings, while giving my innate fear and self-protection systems a well-deserved and much needed break.
This is a long journey. Let’s encourage each other to prioritise our personal wellbeing in the same way we prioritise the wellbeing of our loved ones. Let’s give ourselves the armour to emerge as resilient, optimistic, capable individuals who can make wiser choices and are ready and willing to support each other through an uncertain future. Emotions tend to be contagious so being kind to ourselves and prioritising our own personal wellbeing is a powerful gift to give others.
Being kind to ourselves, as well as our loved ones, won’t remove the challenges we all continue to face, but it will provide comfort in the midst of these challenges and strengthen our resolve and capability to overcome.