With 2020 now in the rear view mirror, we reflect upon what we’ve learnt in the year like no other. For us, the importance of health – it’s certainly been the most prevalent theme ever since Coronavirus became a pandemic. Our lives have changed in many ways that were unthinkable this time last year. Many of us are remaining indoors, wearing masks and keeping our physical distance from others outside our households. None of us would want either ourselves or our loved ones to get sick, so many of us are doing what we can to ‘stay safe’. The price of this ‘safety’ has been other aspects of our health.
Our mental health is also a crucial part of our overall health, which the pandemic has undoubtedly affected. People who have never previously experienced mental health issues are also in need of help and support. There has been increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression in the population. Add to that people who are lonely or bereaved. While these are not mental health issues, if loneliness or grief is prolonged where it becomes chronic, this can be problematic. The adverse impact on our mental health is yet to be realised from the events of the last year.
While there has been much loss and suffering, the antidotes to these are compassion and hope. There has been an outpouring of acts of kindness to others who have tried to help in all sorts of ways. Food being delivered to those that are isolating or shielding. The increased levels of neighbourliness experienced as our focus is to stay local and look out for others who live closest to us. We’ve found other ways to remain in touch with people, adapt our work and routines in our lives. Even in the age of social distancing, our social connections matter now more than ever for our wellbeing.
There is certainly hope that we will be able to meet and hug our close ones again. Hope that we can attend events, a group class and socialise face-to-face. To be able to travel freely again! That would be so exciting. Soon, even if it’s not right now. Something to look forward to is important in the role of hope. Change is often required in that journey. We need to protect our mental health in the meantime. How ready are you for change? What changes can you make to improve or maintain your mental fitness?
Ling Salter is a Wellbeing Mentor and I-Act Instructor who helps individuals and organisations optimise their mental wellbeing. To uplift yours, check out www.compassionatecuppa.co.uk
Image Description: Beach image with numbers 2020 being erased by the waves and 2021 remaining in the sand.