Say Hello for your Mental Health

Lockdown has been a strange time.  In normal times I walk in and around my local area and we’re lucky to have such a beautiful area to walk around in.  Edinburgh is incredibly lucky that it has so many places of beauty all within a city.  We really don’t have to travel far to find peace and tranquility within our gorgeous and historically soaked city.

However, lockdown began about a thousand weeks ago and things changed.  Suddenly walking was a “right” and people got defensive about it.  People were walking around not looking at each other, seemingly ready for a bombardment from others about why they were out.

Sadly, some people thought that lockdown meant no one was allowed out and that people who were out were breaking the law.  It was, of course, untrue.  It led to arguments on everyone’s favourite argument site – Facebook.   People raged about those who dared to go outside and for a while things were awful.

Out walking myself or with the dog and people wouldn’t look at anyone else.  If Marly dared to go up and see someone he was almost treated like a leper.  It was disheartening to see the amount of distrust people had in each other.  Also in our four-legged friends.

Thankfully there seems to have been a change in the last few days.

On Friday I met a woman on a local walk.  We talked at a physical distance of six feet (probably more).  She engaged the conversation by mentioning the beauty of the blossom trees and how, with the slight breeze, it was like walking in the gentle snow.  I agreed.  It turned out that she didn’t actually know where she was but that she cooked a daily meal for a local elderly lady and on Friday she had decided to take her hours exercise in the location of that lady rather than near her own home.

She knew nothing of the area or even where to walk so asked me.  I spent some time talking to her and explaining where she was and where all the local walks went and how to get there.  One part of the walk I explained to her was actually near to where the lady she cooked for lived, she realised.  She set off looking forward to this new walk that would bring her to the lady’s house.  We agreed how lucky we were in Edinburgh before she went.  I hope she had a great walk.

We’re all in this together. We’re all allowed to be out for a walk whether alone, with the the dog or going to the shops.  Don’t be afraid of your fellow walker.

Some people are out there to help with their mental health.  It’s the only help they are getting at the moment with key services closed.  Be nice to each other.

We are all going through this awful time.  We should be doing it together.  Six feet/two metres is a physical distance only.  Don’t let it stop you talking to people.  Say hello to strangers, wave to people a distance away.  It will help you and it will help them.  It means the world.


One thought on “Say Hello for your Mental Health

  1. Reblogged this on Of Passion and of Mirth and commented:
    Totally in agreement with my old friend Gemma on this. That hasn’t always been the case! 😱😩😨
    We have had to work very hard at even remaining civil to each other at times. But I’ve always tried to force myself to avoid, through bad character, mischievousness, or recklessness, rubbing Gemma up the wrong way and she, I think, has been doing something the same.
    Intelligent, caring, sensible friends like Gemma are worth working to keep, perhaps this kind of friendship is “worth fighting for”. It’s not the romantic love Sheryl née Tweedie was singing about, but isn’t it just as important? Like the caring social distancing Gemma writes of, the kind nod or smile in passing, the compassion and willingness to try to understand each other.
    Just because we are often really radically different from one another should not be grounds for suspicion. Trust one another, give each other the bemefit of the doubt. Be slower to take offence, assume, accuse gossip (Facebookers!)
    Perhaps we should try to walk “up to about an hour” (M Gove) in someone else’s shoes – every day. And maybe stop to talk to someone who looks lost.
    Thank you, Gemma, for persevering with me at a distance! 😘

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