WELLBEING | DHB In Lockdown: A Test in Mental Fortitude
As I write, it is the morning after Boris Johnson has announced the first changes to release some of the most restrictive measures people have ever been held by in British history. I can only liken it to some of the Emergency Defence Regulations that were introduced during the Second World War when people had to be vigilant, had some restrictive freedoms and controls were added to access food, drink and other parts of life. But you see even that made some kind of sense - a visible threat to life, a clear and present danger. How do you make a villain of a virus that is invisible and can only be seen by the tears and pain left on society?
As of Wednesday this week, the people of England are once again allowed to exercise more, allowed to travel to exercise, allowed to feel some kind of individual freedom. Now I get why some people may feel afraid, some feel it is too soon, it is too early... but I can only make decisions based upon government decision. I will venture out... I will spread my wings, just a little. Because well, I need it.
Because for all those good, excellent, valid reasons why the lockdown measures had to be implemented, I think we all recognised that there would be a cost. And that cost was and remains a physical and mental fatigue. Whilst people, the Brits at least, have made the best of it by celebrating community successes, by attempting to lift the nation with acts of kindness and benevolence; and by filling our time with essential work, physical fitness or hobbies.
People have cooked. Developing unseen sourdough recipes, sharing proud dough products. People have gardened. Flattening tiny growers and seed companies by their sheer volume in kindly business. Displaying seedlings and appealing for advice and guidance from a knowledge base of none. We have gazed adoringly at pictures of other parts of the UK, we have watched television we simply would never have sat down to watch. We have taught our children. We have got cross at second home owners and those who thought the rules simply didn't apply to them... We have worried about money. We have worried about the future. We have hated that age matters.
And whilst all that took place... We got angry. We got sad. We got impatient and mad. We cried. We smiled and laughed hysterically. We over-analysed and sweated. We broke down so many times. We missed people. We worried for people. We watched news reports over and over again until we realised that actually, it was making life worse. So we actively avoided watching the news and the briefings, the scientists, the politicians and god help me the journalists who simply asked the same questions over and over and over again...
But here's the thing, this has all been a lesson of mental fortitude. How much loss of individual freedom with a body and mind stressed by an invisible python can we cope with? And how then do we all take our first steps towards relieving the weight around our necks? Without believing the snake is still hanging around our neck?
I have no easy answers. I think I have done pretty much all of the above. But we have shown our strong we are. We have shown our dogged we are. We have all shown that we are capable of much more than we perhaps thought. Just think back to March and remember how your stress level increased, your pulse jumped and bumped and worry persisted. We have got here. We have got to mid-May and we are still here to make the best possible individual decisions for ourselves.
And I shall be making a decision - a social distanced reponsible aware decision to give my brain a chance to see landscape and tree. A chance to feel sky and wind. A chance to shake the snake for just a little while each day. For nature heals in a way that no human hand can tend you. And maybe for me, or for you, whomever you are, the paths, the treasured places, the spaces and freedom that have opened up just a little will be the salvation for us all.
Take care. Social distance. And if you can, if its right - take that first step to freedom.