‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ …

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst proverb written on chalkboard with red heart symbol

…is generally pretty much how I feel about these last few months.  I mean of course we’ve had good old belly laughs and at times felt very grateful for the change in pace too.  We have all seen countless acts of kindness and care given to others, from so many people, which have been humbling to witness.  There have however, also been times when it’s been…well to be honest it’s been really bloomin’ difficult! 

The outbreak of Covid meant something different for each of us.  We all had different worries and different concerns, and we all had different ways of getting through these too.  I’ve shared the things that helped me through some tricky moments and hope that they may be helpful for people like you too.

1) Have a chat with someone you trust

Most of us love a good old chat; sharing and talking about things we’re concerned about can certainly be cathartic. And although ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ may be oversimplifying things slightly, there is definitely an element of truth in this old adage.

There are so many different ways these days to get in touch with our fellow humans – we’re very lucky.  Whether it’s sending a text, chatting online, or grabbing a cuppa, a good old chat and talking openly and honestly about our concerns with someone we know we can trust and confide in, can really help to put things into perspective.

If you find it easier, there are several organisations offering confidential emotional support.  The Samaritans, for example, are there to listen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  They have a freephone number too.  You can also speak to someone at Mind, Monday-Friday 9am-6pm.

https://www.samaritans.org/

https://www.mind.org.uk/

2) Stay connected

We all have relationships with others that we value and want to nurture, and thankfully it’s becoming a little easier now to meet up face to face with the people we love.  Although we’ve all had to make some changes to make sure we’re keeping ourselves and others safe, staying in contact with our friends and family and enjoying good times really does go such a long way towards staying positive and feeling happy.

One big plus for me that has come out of the last few months is a regular online call with my family. We started having a group chat every Sunday evening, and just knowing that these were happening every week has been something constant to look forward to. 

The chances are, if we love someone and enjoy spending time with them, they will also feel the same.  Stay in touch and keep those bonds of connection going – what helps you will very likely be helping them too.

3) Getting out and about

Getting out into the fresh air and surrounding yourself with a little bit of nature, really can help to take your mind off any anxieties and to help you think about other things.  It might sometimes be the last thing you feel like doing, however push on through and get those shoes on – how many times have you regretted going for a walk?

If you live in a town or city, it may be that there’s a canal side walk locally to you.  There are also some beautiful pocket parks that are sometimes fairly well hidden.  You should be able to find ones that are local to you online.  Being outside in a wider open space can help us put our thoughts into much more of a beneficial context, and feeling connected with nature helps our body produce some of those good old happy hormones too. 

4) Back to what you know…

Of course sometimes we want to just ‘be’.  In these moments it can be really helpful, to just sit and have some quiet time to think about and focus on your breath. After all, you’ve got to keep breathing, so you might as well make the most of it.

By paying some gentle attention to the sensation of air in your nostrils as you breathe in and out, you’re giving your mind some time to rest, and are gently steering it away from any thoughts that are troubling you.  This can be a wonderfully simple way of calming your mind with your breath – and it’s the most portable relaxation tool there could be.

Of course, each of these suggestions are also great to keep doing through our good times too.  

Chatting to our loved ones, hearing how well things are going and sharing our happy stuff is positively infectious.  Also, taking a moment to focus on our breath when we’re feeling relaxed and happy helps us to enjoy those times and really appreciate them too.

Maybe ‘the best of times and the worst of times’ is what life will always be.  So let’s grab the best times, enjoy them, live them and keep in our hearts what we learn in those moments.  Let that be what we carry with us, to help us out the other side of whatever comes our way.

Maxine Avatar

About the blogger:

Maxine is our ray of sunshine ☀️

She makes us happy when skies are grey.

Her words of wisdom are like refreshing rain