After a long year of lockdowns and stress related to an international pandemic, lots of people are feeling deflated and finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. The confusion and anxiety caused by a Covid-fearing world has left many people scratching their heads and completely out of sync with their families and lifestyles.
Many are deflated after having experienced the effects of the pandemic firsthand, either by suffering from Covid, knowing others who were suffering from it or simply having their work worlds shaken by the effects of closures, furlough and financial instability.
Relationships have been strained and friendships have fizzled out as people have got used to living within bubbles and forgotten how to socialise in extended circles. Mental health has been affected and people are asking lots of questions about the world we now find ourselves inhabiting.
Here are my 5 ways to get yourself going again and reintroduce yourself to the wider world, by building your confidence and setting yourself realistic goals.
1) Reach out.
Too many friendships have been destroyed in the past year. Destroyed due to separation because friends have not been able to see one another. Friendships have also been strained as society pressures have been on and some have become upset with each other due to different attitudes to lockdown, mask wearing and general levels of cooperation with government measures.
We’ve all been there – One of our best mates has been putting pictures on social media of themselves meeting up with groups of people or socialising during lockdown while we have followed the rules and missed out on similar opportunities. These types of things have made friends less communicative and, coupled with distance, have impacted upon how much time people have been spending catching up with those people that matter to them the most.
Let’s not let these gripes grow. Instead we need to bite the bullet and make that vital move to reconnect with these important people. These incredible friends who would no doubt love to hear from us and rebuild the connections we used to enjoy so much. Reaching out is like re-wiring and can strengthen bonds as well as having positive affects on friends at a time when the world is unpredictable and knowing someone is standing in your corner can make such a difference to self esteem.
2) Get out!
It goes without saying that a change of scene has a massive effect on the way that you feel about yourself. It enables self-reflection and enables you to shake off the cobwebs that can otherwise swamp you if you allow yourself to fester in your own juices by staying at home all of the time. Of course, many have had no choice but to isolate and stay at home, but now that we have reduced restrictions, why not take time to go for a wildlife walk, a cycle into the hills or simply just a trundle to the local pond to feed the ducks?
3) Stay tuned in.
Music plays an important role in the lives of so many of us. We all have songs that resonate deeply and take us back to much happier times. Whether it’s ditties from childhood, pop music from our clubbing years or an instrumental that reminds us of a fond memory such as a holiday or special birthday party, music is often a cure to the doldrums and a stimulus which leads to a more positive mindset.
Having said that, the type of music which can motivate you will vary greatly from one individual to another. Obviously. So pull out that CD from the past which you could always rely on when you needed uplifting. Or explore new bands, listen to the Opera and maybe even get a meditation app which plays calming tunes to help get you in the zone and forget your stresses for a while. Switching off is the new remedy for overly dwelling on things. When you are stuck in a spiral of frustrations, meaningful tunes can settle you, calm you and even give you more enthusiasm for your everyday life.
As lockdown has stifled our chances to go to the theatre, watch our favourite sports and attend festivals in person, some of us have got used to doing less out and about. Now is a perfect time to initiate a forward-thinking strategy and start finding ways to involve yourself in a new hobby. Those acting classes you always dreamt about could now become a reality. You always dreamed about riding horses? Book a session in and make learning to ride a personal commitment. From joining a book club to learning how to ski, make those ambitions start to become real and blow away those cobwebs by engaging with new people and making more friends as well as taking away that fulfilment that comes naturally with becoming a part of a new group of learning to make the most of your creativity.
5) Do something positive!
Making a difference is one of the best things anyone can do to improve not only their own lives, but also generate knock-on effects which could benefit others. For me, the Climate Crisis is important and problematic. I have already made simple changes to the way that I travel, to make sure that I am trying hard to reduce the impact my moving around has on the planet. I have decided no longer to fly anywhere and so actively find other ways to get around, concentrating on trains and buses while minimising the amount of trips I use my car for. It’s a small change to my routine and takes a little effort and sometimes more expenditure, but I feel positive about it.
Perhaps you can do something positive within your local community. Whether supporting a library or getting involved in a litter pick, looking after a protected woodland or offering to teach kids how to cycle safely (as a cycling proficiency trainer). Just making that effort to do something productive will inspire you, energise you and give you a sense of achievement.
I hope that you enjoyed this blog and perhaps might consider following my blog for more content. For another of my articles check out this.
Returning to regular blogging has given me a chance to reflect upon the world we find ourselves in now. As a writer, I have been tempted to explore writing in a different genre and as a reader I have started to enjoy books that I would previously have left alone. At the same time, watching the news unfold, I cannot help but worry about how quickly our lives are changing. The thing I cannot make my mind up about is whether or not we have learned anything from the pandemic.
What might we have learned?
People have ruminated about how much this negative experience has impacted on our societies and speculated about the potential for positive change as we embark on a post-pandemic planet. I have heard folk say that it’s made them realise how important being there for friends and families is and how important it is to value nature, for instance.
Some suggested that we may have a more considerate approach to the world after the effects of Covid subside and eventually allow us to return to some kind of normality. All of this sounds incredible. A thoughtful society made up of close-nit communities which look after each other and celebrate the strengths of individuals, while embracing all members, regardless of background and supporting the mental health of everyone involved. What concerns me is the constant anticipation of a return to ‘normality’.
Can ‘normality’ be a positive way forward?
This desperation to return to how things used to be worries me. It seems that so many are keen to rewind and get back to lives packed with entertainment, journeying and consumption. Will there be a temptation to party just that little bit harder as a way of compensating for lockdowns and remedying the boredom that has inevitably rattled the lives of those who found the restrictions of lockdown unsettling?
Whatever happens, it will be refreshing to learn that Covid is something which is no longer hurting thousands of humans everyday. In Britain right now the rate is lower than it has been for ages but there is still a risk that positive cases might rise again. We are standing on the precipice of a post-Covid UK but there is a fine line between remaining stable and watching the situation slowly unravel once more.
How can we make a new normality?
I regularly talk about how fragile our ecosystems are and how important it is that we take the climate crisis seriously. So before we return to how things used to be and revel in the chance to be free again and celebrate being able to travel, party and socialise, let’s take a breath. The world is fragile and our impact upon it is considerable. Now is the perfect time to reset the balance between ourselves and nature. As we take that deep breath, we can make sure we really have learned from all of this.
In recognising the delicate way that wildlife depends upon habitats and local climates, we can finally start to change our attitudes towards global warming. We all know it’s real and it’s devastating so let’s face up to it. Let’s make some changes and show our love for animals and plants which may otherwise soon become extinct.
As a blogger, I want to ensure that my writing offers advice to other writers, reviews of brilliant books and content regarding movies and TV shows. As well as this I am incredibly passionate about the climate threat and want to regularly look into developments related to this cause. I appreciate readers taking the time to consider my thoughts and I hope you may follow my blog and comment your own thoughts on the issues that I discuss.
Fingers crossed that we really have come to a turning point in the pandemic. These next few months will be a time for change. I hope that some of this change will involve moving forward by reducing pollution, cutting down the non-essential use of cars and having a greater appreciation of the wonderful and diverse habitats that surround all of us.
The awful floods in Germany and Belgium have highlighted the need to address global warming immediately. I hope that everyone can find ways to make a genuine change.