A New Year brings with it new hope. The arrival of 2021, heralding the departure of 2020, puts distance between our experience of the pandemic. And alas it is not over, before the promise of a vaccine there are still the choppy waters of winter to navigate. Our speed to normal life is slowed with the punctuation of lockdowns, restrictions and social distancing.
Social distancing has left most of us feeling disconnected, lonely and isolated. Living with an advanced illness or advanced years has once again means more shielding and as a result isolation. People caring for someone who is shielding carries added responsibility with reduced levels of support. Those of us who are living with bereavement are unable to grieve normally.
As we navigate the cold, dark months of winter in lockdown it is understandable that we might feel overwhelmed, anxious, stressed and unable to cope. Such feelings are normal reactions to living in extraordinary times. It is important that firstly we acknowledge our emotions as indicators of our wellbeing; and secondly to practice self-compassion.
This week the focus is ‘self-compassion’. Often, we neglect our own needs, putting others first or don’t reflect on what our thoughts, feelings and bodies our telling us about what we need. Self-reflection is not indulgent, it is necessary for good metal and physical health, we need to look after our heart, body and mind.
Lean into the discomfort, hear what it is telling you. Perhaps you have been neglecting your sleep or your diet. Review your routine, perhaps you build in an earlier bedtime. Physical distancing has reduced the opportunity to get together with friends and family and the emotional support they give us. Reach out, physical distancing is not the same as social distancing, pick up the phone and ring a friend or join an online chat group. Get outside if you can, even if it is only to sit with a blanket around your knees, and listen to birds and feel the cool breeze.
We have put together some suggestions to try in our ‘Tips for Self-Compassion’. You can learn more tips on how to help you manage you mental health and wellbeing through the Public Health Agency’s ‘Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing‘.
By adjusting and readjusting how we live over the coming weeks and months we can get through this. Learning to be compassionate with yourself is the first step to building your resilience to manage the things we cannot change.
Be kind and compassionate to others and most importantly to yourself.
If you find yourself to cope reach out to others who can help, for contact details on local organisations and support please click here.