Text reads: ‘You are strong enough to face it all, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now’

How to stay connected when the world is keeping it’s distance

The idea for this post began as the local lockdowns were increasing and the ‘Tier’ system came in to force in the UK. I wanted to say how important it is to stay connected to your loved ones, to feel that sense of connection with your wider community even when face masks and social distancing make it increasingly difficult. But I couldn’t seem to find the right words. What could I say that we hadn’t all done before?

As we prepare here for another lockdown, there is an underlying sense that this one is going to be harder than last time. Last time we were blessed with warm weather, we had perhaps seen our friends and family recently and been able to hug them. This time as we head in to winter, we may not be able see people easily, we may not have seen anyone in the way we normally would for months. At a time when some may still be feeling very lonely, it is difficult to come to terms with having to isolate ourselves further. The question becomes not, “How do we find a way around these obstacles?’ but rather, “How do we cope with this continued isolation?”

For me, it feels as though keeping connected to myself is going to play a bigger part this time a round. In times of separation it is important to be our own best friend and I shall be asking myself each day: How am I feeling? What do I need? How can I support myself? Everyone has a few things that they love to do whenever they are feeling overwhelmed. Now is the time to embrace them. Do them everyday if you need to. Not sure what they are? They will be the things that you gravitate towards without thinking.

Here are a few of the things I use to support my wellbeing:

  • Remember to treat yourself with kindness
  • Acknowledge how you are feeling
  • Write down your worries
  • Talk to someone
  • Go for a walk
  • Sit in a different room
  • Put on music you love and sing and dance
  • Have a shower
  • Make a list

If you feel that you are really struggling and have no-one to talk to there are people that can help. The Samaritans helpline is open 24 hours a day with someone at the end of the phone who is there to listen. You can contact them on 116 123. Alternatively the charity Mind has a team ready to give advice on mental health problems and where to find help in your area. They are open 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday and you can contact them on 0300 123 3393 or text 86463. Your GP would also be able to help and with a lot doing telephone appointments right now this could be a less pressured way of talking to them about any worries you have. These charities are based in the UK but I would urge you to look for any support closer to you if ever you feel you need help.

Some days may be harder than others but you are not alone. We are all still in this together and eventually it will pass.

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