Our days are no longer filled with big gestures, with amazing adventures, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t filled with magic moments, we just need to look a little harder…
It is so easy to think of all the things we have lost. The people, the fun, the community, all the things that we looked forward to, the treats that we gave ourselves through the year, the markers that we lived towards. It is easy to think we have lost everything, the our worlds have been stripped away, made grey and empty. But even in this time, there is magic in the smallest of moments. That whinny as you walk across the yard, that moment when dawn breaks across the sky and light shatters the darkness, that card from a friend that falls through your letterbox. It is the small moments that we are cherishing now, the ones that would have passed us by in a frenetic old world.
Savouring the little things is what keeps us going. Small gestures, a quick text, a card, a shouted conversation with your neighbour, a phone call with a friend, a cup of tea on a cold wet day, eating chocolate whilst wearing fluffy socks, whatever the small thing is that touches you, make sure it keeps happening.
This time will pass. We will once again be able to enjoy the bigger things, but for now enjoy the dandelion growing through the concrete, enjoy watching a swan swim on a flooded field, enjoy watching a flock of geese fly in their haunting v-shape across a winter sky, look round and seek out the smallest things to take pleasure in. And failing that put on your fluffy socks, make yourself a hot drink, get some chocolate and curl yourself and tell yourself you are doing an amazing job in difficult times…
I love being outside. Don’t get me wrong I am very grateful that I have a house and love going inside at the end of the day. But being outside is wonderful. Other European countries have had far more severe lockdowns than we have experienced with many not allowed to go outside at all. Without the ability to go outside, my mental health would have been shattered.
It has been long know about the restorative properties of a walk. Sad, go for a walk. Angry, go for walk. Bored, go for a walk. Confused, go for a walk. Walking improves mental health, reduces blood pressure, improves fitness, reduces stress. Walking is the wonder drug we are always searching for and it is free.
Part of the joy of walking is the exercise part, but part of the joy is being outside. Don’t simply stay cooped up inside four walls. Just popping your head out of the door will help. We shouldn’t simply sit all day slumped in front of a screen. Even brief periods of standing up and stretching make a huge difference.
We are now allowed to go out more than once a day, if we want. Remember everyone is different. Some people are happy with a short walk once a day, other like nothing better than a dog walk, a bike ride and a run all in one day. If you think your neighbor seems to be going a bit overboard, imagine how cooped up they felt before.
We all have different limits, different sticking points, different absolutes. We all respond to the same situation in different ways, our tolerances vary. However, we can all benefit from the healing powers of a walk. So make sure that you take one. No matter how terrible you feel at the beginning of the walk. You will almost certainly feel better by the end.
In this brave new world, it is okay not to be okay. It is okay to feel like you cannot cope. It is okay to struggle. None of us were prepared for this. No strategy devised for keeping ourselves happy and healthy ever had these restrictions placed upon it. But time will pass, this will end. Remember, every day that passes, we get one day closer to the end.
Humans are incredibly adaptable. Already people have come up with new ways of living, new strategies to get them through their days. We are, when faced with no other choice, remarkably inventive. I hope that you have found new ways to be, new ways to cope in this new world.
Share your tricks and tips with others. If we all have one good idea and share them, imagine how many good ideas we will have altogether? Lots! Anything that works for you, whether it is a game that you are playing with your horses, or a way to make baked beans taste more interesting…
Discard the old rules that you had. I have always had screen time limits with my child, not any longer! In the grand scheme of things another hour spent watching television is not the end of the world. Most of the rules that we held were designed for a world we are no longer living in. You need to flex with the changing circumstances, you need to change according to what is happening in front of you.
The only thing that shouldn’t ever change is kindness. Today we need kindness more than ever. We need to not judge others, offer help if people are struggling, check in with your neighbours, your family, your friends, your work colleagues. Everyone will be coping with this differently, but everyone is affected, in some way.