Good day dear reader. I hope you are well. These are difficult times indeed and as we pass the eighth week of lockdown it’s amazing to think that we’ve actually done it. It’s not finished, of course, but if someone had said to you this time last year that pubs, clubs and non-essentials shops would have closed, that going to the supermarket would mean queuing outsite for a short period of time and there would be no live sports, no live concerts and the Prime Minister had spent time in Intensive Care then you’d have thought them insane. If they’d said we’d have been in lockdown for eight weeks (and counting) and that we were asked to stay in as much as possible and children were being home-schooled and people were staying two metres apart then you just wouldn’t believe it, not at all. You’d have thought they were quoting a film plot.
Yet here we are. Not just us here in the United Kingdom but most of the rest of the world. A world-wide pandemic. It’s almost unbelievable but it is what it is.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year, while it’s important every year, it’s more urgent. There is no doubt that peoples mental health is suffering particularly because of the coronavirus. Being in lockdown, even having to work from home rather than going to the office, it’s having its effects on people. Not being able to get a haircut – it seems trivial and it is in the grand scheme of things but not being able to get than hour of pampering, which is sometimes the only pampering some people get, it’s a huge miss and loss. It’s that hour when someone takes over and lets you relax while you get your hair washed, styled and dried.
Little things that can seem trivial when the world is normal are actually huge things now. For me it’s the library. I’m a great reader and, although my local library is small, I order books to get sent there which I pick up and read. Also, at the start of the year I decided it was time to read all twenty-two Muriel Spark novels. My local library has them all in and I was making my way through them. I’ve seven left and they are stuck in the library and I want to liberate them! It’s frustrating that I can’t just go down to the library and get them, really frustrating. It seems like such a trivial thing but I can spend hours thinking about it. I was on course to have them read by the end of April and now I might not even achieve by the end of the year. Trivial to others but big for me.
If you’re missing something, as trivial as it may seem, then you’re fine to miss it. We all miss that normality that we had just two months ago.
There are memes around the place comparing this two World War II and yet it’s nothing like it. Apart from the fact that the goverment is asking you to work to help the nation. Stay home, be alert, keep a distance. We’re just not used to this level of government involvement in our lives, some are suspicious about it and that’s okay as well.
Life trundels on though. Last week I fell getting out the shower, a proper slide and twist and thump onto the floor. I thought “this is it, this is where it ends” and I was convinced I had broken my hip and wouldn’t be discovered for a fortnight. Regardless of Covid-19 this would have been my dramatic reaction to something like this. I hadn’t broken my hip (too much fat to protect it) of course and after a few moments of dramatic lying on the floor, water pooling around me, I thought “well I better get up because I need to go to Tesco”. There was a lot of muscular pain for a few days. I’m fine though, thanks for asking.
I’ve also liberated my watering can from my previous address. I left last year and forget to take it. By utter chance I was able to get it back along with a planter I’d left as well. Even the small things are a victory. It helps that the new occupants wouldn’t understand what a watering can was if it skelped them across the head and told them.
The point on this latest rambling is to say that it’s okay to miss something you previously relied on to help your mood. A trip to the hairdresser, a pint in the pub after a hard week, a hug from a grandchild.
It’ll be a while before we get anything near a normal that will be changed anyway because of the virus but please make sure to look after your mental health. Get outside, we’ve really been blessed with some amazing weather and yes, it’s made people go out more than they should, laze on beaches and all that but can you imagine if this had happened in the winter? We’d have lost the mental health battle by now. Short days, bad weather. It would not have been good at all.
Going outside can mean a walk around the block or just a seat in the garden but it will all help. Keep your brain engaged. Only you will know how to keep your brain going. For me it’s quizzes, arrowwords, working on this blog and site, reading, writing and learning. Have a think about what would keep your mind occupied that’s within the advice of the lockdown.
It’s expected that we’ll have a mental health crisis due to this virus and it will happen. At the moment though, you are not alone. There is help out there and the system hasn’t shut down because of the virus.
Most importantly, check up on each other. Look after each other. Remind each other that you are not alone. This will end and in time we’ll be better for it. There will be a better understanding of poor mental health. This is my links page and I will be adding more numbers and links as time goes on.
You are not alone at this time because we’re all going through it. Stay safe.
As a final note, congratulations to Captain Sir Tom Moore.