The COVID-19 pandemic has been a phenomenal world event. It has caused immense chaos. At the onset, disbelief set in, followed by fear, then panic… then we adapted. For the first time I heard from my home, fathers playing with their children in their back gardens; neighbours clinking drinks and talking over fences; and reports of thousands of people volunteering to help shop and care for the most vulnerable in society. New routines of working from home emerged and companies moved their services online. Businesses adapted their operations and employees were introduced to the word furlough for the first time; a process in which they did not have to work but still received a salary or portion of it.
Over the past 3 months, I have been invited to take part in community group forums as a guest speaker, set organisations up with healthy living projects and services, organised free online exercise classes for unpaid carers, and continued to talk to our service users and charity partners. If anyone has felt the challenges of dealing with multiple problems at once caused by the pandemic, it is the people we serve: those with unpaid caring responsibilities, those with long-term conditions, disabled people, and isolated older adults in the community. These people may have stopped work completely; may still have to work in the community; or even have to balance home schooling, caring, and work. I listened to carers who had the heart ache of not being able to say goodbye to their loved ones before care homes stopped allowing relatives to visit. I listened to carers who practically took on another 36-hour working week because they were not able to have their usual care worker support. I listened to carers feel like they were drowning in a sea of worry and isolation.
But one thing that offered a lifeboat in uncertain waters, and provided a beacon of light was focusing on the good. By bringing our attention to what we can do, what matters to us, and what bring us joy, we orientate ourselves in a direction of hope and positive action. We use our own internal source of light in a time of external darkness. We seize opportunities to connect with others in different ways. We push past our comfort zone and learn new skills. We become more aware of our responsibility to look after ourselves and pick ourselves up when despair sets in. We become better.
So while the world may plunge into chaos, let us find order in ourselves. Let us find it in the joy, hope, and happiness embedded in our memories and in what we love in life. Focus on an upward direction through uplifting thoughts, so that we may rise above any challenge. Be the saviour to your own soul and remind others of the positivity in theirs. Focus on the good.