We are 11 days into the new year as I write this. Not a great deal has changed and, in some aspects, not a great deal to get excited about either.
This is the third lockdown we have been placed under and each time we are reassured that this will only last a short amount of time and/or once this is over things will get back to some form of normality. We are reassured that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and then it seems we are taking even more steps backwards. There is so much finger-pointing and blame taking place at the moment – who has done things wrong, how some are finding things tougher than others, how some just don’t understand what it is like to be experiencing certain conditions. These are tough times for all no matter what the personal circumstances are. I don’t think anyone thought we would still be experiencing a lockdown at the moment, but we are.
Being placed into another lockdown is tough, and I think there is a certain amount of lockdown fatigue that people are experiencing. Being placed into a lockdown during winter is tough – it is colder, it gets darker earlier in the day, our energy levels might not be as high, our motivation lacks, and do we really want to venture outdoors for a walk when it feels pretty arctic outside? Do we really want to venture out with a new strain of the virus which we are told is more transmissible than the original variant?
As a species we are social animals – as we have evolved over thousands and thousands of years we have done so in groups and communities not as individuals – and this can have an effect on how we are feeling due to the isolation and the solitude.
We need to be kind to each other, but before we can do that we need to be kind to ourselves.
Taking time for our own well-being over others is important, it is not being selfish, it is about making sure we are resilient. Being hard on ourselves can be an easy thing to do – after all we are pretty powerless in the decision-making, regarding the lockdown and how long it lasts. Being hard on ourselves can be a reaction to the frustrations of the current situation, being hard on others can also be a reaction to the frustrations of the current situation. At times, it may not be intentional and just a reaction due to a series of things escalating.
We can be kinder on ourselves and kinder to others. Being kinder on ourselves by not putting so much pressure on ourselves. We may want to change things and this is probably easier done (especially in the current circumstances) by taking smaller steps rather than much larger ones. It may seem that the prospect of that change is daunting and somewhat unachievable or insurmountable – by breaking it down into much smaller chunks that are easier to work towards and achieve is more likely to lead to longer-term achievement or success.
11 days into the new year, and I’m just looking at the small wins I can make. I’m just looking at how resilient I can be from one day to the next. I’m just focusing on what I can achieve in the next week (and how it contributes to much longer-term goals and targets). I’m just focusing on being the best I can be each day and each week, is that helping me to become a better version of me. Every day I’m achieving that, I feel I’m doing well.
Richard Guy, 47 years of age, born and grew up in London and have lived in Portsmouth since 2017.