Well, it has been a strange year, hasn’t it? Mentally, I have had numerous ups and downs; days when I have risen to the challenges facing me and days when it has been hard to get out from under the duvet. So, following my mantra of the 4Rs; Reflect, Review, Reconnect and Reboot, let me focus on the first two, Rs – Reflect and Review – what have I learned over the last 12 months?
Firstly, it is okay to have good days and bad days but think of it as bad days and then good days. On my website I use the quote which is supposedly from John Lennon; “Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay it’s not the end”. I believe that is not saying you should give up and just hope for the best; it is an instruction to keep going and all your hard work and efforts will pay off eventually. It is about perseverance and about having faith in your drive and abilities. Yes, there are bad days, but they are followed by good days, you just have to keep going. After the rain, there is the sun!
The second thing is, it is important to talk and to keep talking. I have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic people online over the last year and I have learned that you can build connections and friendships over Zoom and Teams. But you need to make the effort and believe me the effort is well worth it. Yes, there have been times when I just wanted to avoid the video call and just climb back under that duvet. However, I believe that we are all, deep down, social creatures and we need to connect and share. Seeing someone’s face and having a conversation is important. It is also important to ask how people are and to even ask this twice on occasions as sometimes we do try to hide our feelings. Seeing someone’s face and witnessing a smile is also a great tonic so please have your cameras on, folks.
The third thing is you should try to limit the news and yes, social media too. I must admit I have to try hard to do this. I do want to know what is going on in the world, but I have to limit my consumption of the news. There is only so much bad news and Covid updates that one can take. Also, I tend to forget how curated social media is. It is so easy to compare oneself and one’s life to those you see online. Why do people seem to be coping better than me or having a better life? The truth is they probably aren’t! After all, we are all in this together.
Sing, whistle or dance, even if you can’t hold a tune or the shapes you throw are more suited to very poor dad dancing! I am part of a choir and whilst we can’t sing together physically (and singing together online only creates a cacophony of sound), we have still kept going with Zoom choir rehearsals. Singing is a great release and music is one of my lifelines. I can’t play an instrument but singing and enjoying music has kept me going.
You may be wondering why the picture of the sunset. No reason, really, just to say that keep going outside, go for a walk, look at the sky. We may not have been able to go far but there is beauty all around us. No matter where you are there is beauty if you look hard.
So, to summarise, accept your feelings, keep talking, don’t believe everything you see on social media, turn the news off, enjoy the power of music and dance, and look at the sky.
For more random thoughts go to my website -http://www.markstephencrabtree.com, or if you are into poetry go to my Facebook page “Poetry in Isolation” – https://www.facebook.com/crabtreepoetry/