I found myself having a moment over the weekend… the kind of moment that causes you to stop and reflect. I was sitting at my favourite café for the first time in months, the sun was shining and my dog was on my lap and my partner sitting across the table from me. It felt like summer, it felt like “normal life” and for a moment, the seven or so months of lockdown felt very far away and very surreal… almost like they had never existed. I was only reminded of the existence of Coronavirus by the joyous announcement of my dining partner that we had had another day of 0 cases.
It was a beautiful moment, and one that felt like a reward for the months we spent indoors having to find other, small pleasures to fill our days. I felt humble and grateful to be able to return to some practices I took for granted previously, like getting a coffee with a friend, visiting those friends who live that little bit further away and going to the shops to try on clothes when I need to replace something, or browse through the bookstore, rather than order online. I have embraced each of these small pleasures in the last week or so, as no doubt have many of you reading this right now.
But I am aware that there are still those out there who may approach the easing of restrictions with some caution. Some may still be anxious about the virus and the crowds and fearful of another lockdown should others not do the right thing. Those who will check the website regularly for updates and who will avoid indoor gatherings preferring the safety of the outdoors, where the virus has been proven to spread less readily.
I acknowledge the validity of this viewpoint, but am myself embracing an attitude of cautious optimism. I will follow all rules that assist us to maintain our current numbers and lack of virus transmission, but I am keen to embrace something akin to real life (whilst still wearing a mask and social distancing). It’s time to invest in some BALANCE.
I think it is important to begin investing in our “old lives” again, and in doing so, we should be looking at this as a chance to promote positive mental health. The types of activities I am focussing on are all based around Mind, Body and Spirit, things that you might even view as self-care after months of surviving on limited variety.
The mind needs variety to remain interested in life, and to be interesting, well-rounded people. We worked hard to feed our minds in new ways during lockdown, with new and challenging experiences like online classes, puzzles and games, but now is time to embrace a little more variety.
Most people I know suggest their bodies suffered most in COVID, with regular forms of exercise unavailable. And while we may not be back to normal yet, we can treat out bodies to a little more variety too!
We can define spirit in many ways – but I define in as the things that make you feel good as a person. I tried to keep up my sense of spirit by embracing purpose during lockdown – by seeing what I was doing as just and community-oriented. But it was difficult to watch so many suffer and struggle emotionally and financially as lockdown continued. So – now is the time to show care for yourself and others!
This stage on our Covid-experience is a wonderful opportunity not only to start again, but to do so with reflection and introspection and a greater sense of the value of places, people and things we once took for granted. I am taking a mindful and optimistic approach to the weeks ahead!
Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels