…is that even the question? It certainly seems to be a pre-occupation for many if you take a glance at social media or news updates. I find it curious that so much energy is given to this and so much projected onto this. For me it is a prime example of the locus of control – that is, where we choose to direct our energy. Whatever your views are on mask-wearing, and I’m not about to share mine here, it’s a choice you have to make, whether imposed on your or not. I choose to wear mine – why I choose to wear it may be connected with anything from fear to compliance, from indifference to acceptance.
In the UK, it is now compulsory to wear masks in shops and indoors where you cannot social distance. The discussion on their effectiveness is divided as is how people feel about wearing them. But I’m not interested in debating this but more about how much we choose to discuss this topic or indeed anything connected to COVID-19. When we are dealing with uncertainty or upsetting situations, it is completely natural to want to talk, post, voice views and opinions. However, when we start to spend large portions of our time doing this, it becomes unhealthy and not good for mental health or wellbeing. In fact, it feeds into anxiety and stress more than the situation itself!
If we can, instead, learn to put our energy into the things that we CAN control about a situation, we not only feel better instantly but we actually can start to exert some influence into the very things we cannot control. It requires huge effort sometimes though – it is often so much easier to react, to post that comment, to respond to that email and to voice our view.
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. This week I made a decision to curate my social media – start unfollowing negative posts, needless advertising and endless group reminders and just to look at it less. An action that is firmly within my control and allows me to free up my energy for other things.