April 8th, 2020
The positives that can be found in this challenging time
- Grief and Bereavement
The current situation we find ourselves in is unlike anything we have experienced before. We cannot escape the fact that this pandemic has caused devastation and grief, with many people sadly losing their lives, their loved ones, their employment or even just their ways of living.
However, whilst it is important to recognise this issue for what it is, it is also important to note that there are positive aspects that have been borne out of this challenge. For the sake of maintaining our own wellbeing, it is helpful for us to highlight and celebrate these factors.
Over the past couple of weeks people have called attention to various positives that are helping them through this unique situation.
Appreciation of what we have
As the old adage goes: you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. The lockdown has given us a greater appreciation for the things in life we perhaps take for granted. Weekend socialising with friends, a trip to the gym, we may even find ourselves missing our job - something we may never have experienced before.
Things that were commonplace daily features now feel somewhat like treats, which makes us realise that we have a lot in our lives to be thankful for. When you next have a low moment, try making a list of the things you have to look forward to. This helps us recognise all the things we have that make us happy and our mood improves knowing that we will experience them again in the future.
Blossoming of kindness
Since the beginning of isolation we have seen huge levels of support for those that are struggling and the key workers that are keeping the country running. Over 750,000 people signed up to be NHS volunteers in the first week and millions are part of Facebook groups aimed at getting food and supplies to those advised to stay at home.
Thursday nights have seen people take to their front porches and balconies to applaud key workers and show solidarity. This outpouring of kindness around the world is breeding a sense of collectiveness - easing the anxiety that many of us have. Even small things such as a smile to a passerby or a big thank you to a postal worker contributes to improving the collective mood - we all have a role in supporting each other!
Strength and resilience
Many of us are finding comfort in the fact that we have been put in unfamiliar territory and are still managing to get by. Our daily lives have changed dramatically; we do not have a routine to fall back on or access to some of our usual pleasures. However, we are showing that we can deal with that. We are developing a greater understanding of our strength and resilience, which helps us think more positively about future uncertainties and how they might affect us.
Ability to slow down and reflect
The lockdown has given some of us some much needed time to ourselves. Many people with busy schedules and high amounts of stress are finding it refreshing to not have their diaries crammed.
This additional time gives us the ability to take stock and perhaps even make plans for what we want our lives to be post-virus. Things are likely to be somewhat different after this - something that presents all of us with opportunity.
Focus on mental health
Isolation of course poses its own challenges to our mental health, but because of this, we have seen a greater focus on maintaining our mental wellbeing than ever before. People are making attempts to exercise, perhaps more than they ever have, and it is becoming normal to check in with those we care about just to hear how they’re doing.
Learning ways to tackle anxiety/boredom/loneliness, as well as recognising the importance of being there for others in difficult times, will be useful long after this crisis is over.
This situation has given us more reason to think of others, particularly the over 70s and those with underlying health concerns, and how we can help them. This is not only beneficial to them, but to ourselves - empathy has been shown to give health benefits such as reducing stress and improving trust and creativity.
Whilst there are undoubtedly more challenges ahead, positives can be found in this difficult time and it’s never a bad thing to look out for them. If you are finding life to be tough at the moment and would benefit from seeing a therapist, talk to us and we can find you one that you can see online.