Reflections on the way life used to be…..(written Sep 24, 2020)

Reflections of the life you took from me, how very poignant at this time. As I reflect on how many of our lives used to be only a few months ago, I feel a sense of sadness at the reality that many of us are now living, the life we knew has almost entirely disappeared with only a few remaining reminders of what it felt like to be truly free.

The simple pleasures in life, removed, or made somewhat un-enjoyable, going for a bit of retail therapy is now akin to attending a hospital appointment, an overwhelming preoccupation of “health” or “illness”, there is no escaping it, hand gel, stand apart, one way systems and face masks. To think only a few months ago we could happily visit a loved one, go to the shops and wonder round anonymously pondering what we need or don’t need. Whereas the experience is now pretty much, get through it and get out. How fragile our reality actually is!

Other social activities such as going for a meal or to the pub for a pint or a glass of wine, have become a labyrinth of social rules that change by the day to perpetuate a sense of confusion and fear, so that in the end it is not actually worth the stress.  So where is the peace from it all I ask myself, well the beach is my only salvation currently, but even then you are reminded as people wander along in the fresh air wearing a mask due to their fears of being “infected”. It is a constant sense of fear that is almost tangible among the general public, a constant source of internal stress on our nervous system and in turn our immune system, which is not healthy!

illuminatel mental health practitioner

Going to a football match or other sporting events have become a distant memory, going to the beach on a hot summer’s day is viewed as almost criminal, there is a public outcry for the “selfish people” to stay at home. At the beginning of this Pandemic I viewed the lock down measures as an opportunity for people to slow down, reconnect to their immediate families and hopefully to their environment, whilst also allowing the risk of the public health emergency to be assessed properly and the public informed. I was hopeful that people would finally have time to nourish themselves, going for a bike ride or a long walk every day, after all when people no longer have to physically go to work each day there is a lot more time for reflection and time to think.  I also considered that this was the perfect opportunity for people to understand and become aware of the physical and mental damage of the social stressors that they were constantly being exposed to, in order to make changes for the better.

I do believe that there have been other subtle changes that will become a permanent feature of our “new abnormal” which is that fewer people will work in office environments as they are encouraged to work from home, corporate entities have realised that they don’t need the expense. The emotional and social impact of that is somewhat concerning as isolation is rarely a positive thing, but how will this affect creativity, communication skills, support networks and wellbeing? Productivity can be measured and may well remain comparable for a short period of time, but what are the long-term psychological effects of working and living at home with limited social outlets?

It is important to remain critical and analytical about many of the behaviors that are being adopted in society today, some of which are exceeding Government Guidance and are not healthy for the body or mind. The way life used to be…. Some of it was harmful and needed to change, but some of it was great and does not, and should be protected.

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