I love September – always have. It feels like a nice giant refresh button! Maybe this year more than usual. We’ve all had a difficult year so farm and maybe our summer holidays haven’t been as restful as usual……. But right now – this fizzy air is telling us that a new season is coming, wherever we are. We are slowly adapting and adjusting. It feels like there is a new energy and I love the idea of starting fresh with new ideas, new objectives, new ways of doing things…

Maybe this September feels very different though… we are sending our children back to school, perhaps with trepidation and anyone starting university or returning to workplace offices is facing a very different environment. It can feel challenging to think about new beginnings amidst such uncertainty. Some of us have lost work and some fear the new circumstances the autumn and winter might bring….

We are now entering a new phase and we need that fresh energy. In the early days of the lockdown and way back in March, we were drawing on a whole different kind of energy to help us to cope and survive. It’s what’s called surge capacity. Surge capacity is a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters. But natural disasters occur over a short period, even if recovery is long. Pandemics are different — the disaster itself stretches out indefinitely. This is what can make it seem so hard to feel like this is a new beginning.

 

Yet, now, more than ever, it’s time to embrace the uncertainty, learn to live with risk and build resilience.

whether to post on social media, engage in conversation or debate, amount of news consumption, mindless scrolling, amount of exposure to all of this, wellbeing actions, thoughts, writing, acts of kindness, involvement with community
doing something kind to help someone, acceptance of current reality, choosing mindfulness, refraining from reacting, choosing a better response, letting go
other people’s opinions, what people say, what people post on social media, whether someone wears a mask or not, government guidelines, government policy, politicians. what is happening in other countries

This really does mean only placing our energy into the things that we CAN control about a situation. When we do this, we not only feel better instantly but we actually can start to exert some influence into the very things we cannot control. It can requires huge effort sometimes  – it is often so much easier to compulsively check the news, worry about the uncertainty and focus on it.

Poet and policymaker Aaron Maniam describes how the language we use to explain COVID-19 shapes the way we think about it — whether it’s as a “war,” a “journey” or, as he suggests, an “ecology.” He encourages us to explore a range of imaginative, interlocking metaphors to gain a deeper understanding of the pandemic — and shows how this can help us to envision a better, more inclusive future

Most of our wellbeing is in our hands. It may sound slightly controversial to say but it’s never the situation that is causing us stress or anxiety but rather our chosen response to it. We really can learn how to respond and choose where to place our energy.

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