Tag Archives: restrictions

When ‘FOMO’ can be deadly….especially in a pandemic.

Hi once again, dear friends.

I am so thankful that you are reading this. It means that you are alive, have breath in your lungs, and have another day to live.

This pandemic is a challenging time for many. However, the ‘narrative’ within the UK seems to have changed within the last few months and weeks.

At the start of the pandemic, everything was new and scary and we were all dealing with something that most had never dealt with within their lifetimes, unless they are golden oldies who had survived previous such events. For the world at large, it was, as we’ve heard time after time ‘unprecedented’.

We all were told to ‘lockdown’, to stay at home, to keep our distance, to stay safe. In the UK we were told to ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’. After some time we were advised to wear face masks, and thanks to the hard work of the scientific community and advancing technology within less than a year there were vaccines on the scene. Many countries around the world ‘clapped for carers’, or took time to applaud their health care workers, delivery drivers, frontline staff, cleaners, etc.

There was the sense that we all were in a global pandemic *together* and that we all had to do our bit to overcome it *together*.

Some countries were hit way harder than others, sadly politicians around the world took approaches some of which put their citizens at risk, but there was a sense despite the confusion at times, we were moving toward a common goal.

Within the UK, there were some confusing messages from leadership. However, there were daily covid briefings, we did hear regularly from government scientific advisors, and there was a sense of caution, of having to supress the virus, get the ‘R’ rate down, and look after each other. We were part of a global effort, despite the disparity which sadly is ongoing between richer and poorer nations across the world, where some people still haven’t had a first dose of vaccine or the option of having one.

Of course there have been debates, conspiracy theories and resistance along the way. There have been several other key issues of great importance to society such as in relation to racism, violence against women, poverty and climate change that we’ve also had to think about, process and work through. But up until recently in the UK, one thing we did have was a clear set of guidance, and we were given the message that this was being ‘led by the science’.

Now, however, both England and Scotland have ‘opened up’. Wales and Northern Ireland, well I’m not so up to date with their rules and approach, but one thing is for sure is that cases in the UK are among if not the highest in Europe. The daily death count is in triple figures, with I think 121 deaths or thereabouts today. A couple of days ago, Scotland had 34 deaths in one day.

The thing is, lockdowns do have an adverse impact on people, I realise that, but we could have sought some ‘middle ground’. Masks are discretionary in most places, although there are some weird and inconsistent ‘rules’ about mask wearing in certain indoor spaces such as night clubs. It’s beyond me why nightclubs need to be open in a pandemic in a country where cases are around 35,000 per day.

People are not required to socially distance in most places – that’s also up to individuals. Vaccine passports are being introduced for big indoor events or mass gatherings, but there is an inconsistency there and the system in Scotland is going through some glitches. I get the feeling that many people think that now the governments have said there are no or very few rules, that it’s ‘ok and safe’ to do whatever we want. Working from home is still advised so that’s a good thing.

I’ve been looking into other sources where epidemiologists advise that covid symptoms also now include ‘cold like’ symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, fever, etc…. but the UK government hasn’t updated its information on symptoms which still stick to the standard three of fever, new continuous cough and difficulty breathing. Which means as we head into cold / flu season, many people may actually be carrying and passing on covid without realising it, thinking it is just a common cold.

I know of many people who have been ‘out and about’ since restrictions lifted in the UK. I know of someone at work who went to Spain with their family on holiday. I know of many friends who have been out to coffee shops, pubs, restaurants, a couple even have gone to weddings (one of whom caught covid at one, thought they only had a cold, but turned out to be covid, and recovered fine), others are now going to music events, and outdoor gatherings, or short family holidays within the UK, etc. I have friends who are going back to church.

There are plenty of things I miss and would like to do, but I am a bit unsure of the ‘advice’ we’ve been given at the moment. Part of me really wants to start getting back into life again, whatever that means, at least in terms of doing things and seeing people. All of the people I know who have been doing things have been absolutely fine. But then, recently I’ve heard of friends who ‘know of people’ whether once, twice or thrice removed who have or are in ICU with covid, or that they know of someone who has died of covid. There was a news article today that a wee 15 year old girl in England died of covid the day she was meant to get her vaccination.

It is a reminder that just because our society in the UK has opened up it doesn’t mean the pandemic has ‘closed down’.

I wonder where you are with things in your own situation? Have you been going out and about and doing well? Have you felt nervous? Have any of you had or do you have covid? Do any of you have long covid?

For some people, in the UK especially, the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ may lead to taking up all or some of these ‘freedoms’ now that there are practically no rules which might result in ICU, long covid or death. People aren’t thinking of others so much anymore I feel. There isn’t the sense of community spirit anymore, and I think partly politics could be to blame for this. People are being left to their own devices, perhaps the UK public don’t like being ‘told what to do’ and other adverse effects of restrictions and lockdowns are rightly being taken into consideration. But at what cost? I don’t feel we’re doing things sensibly, which means if there is a ‘free for all’ even those who are being cautious will miss out.

I haven’t figured out how to navigate this yet, so I’ve just been staying at home. Perhaps none of us have. I do know a lot of people going out doing a lot of things and have been totally fine, but people are still dying from this, and I wonder if we’re partly being treated as a ‘herd immunity experiment’ by the government – especially when things aren’t exactly under control in the UK.

I think scientists are still urging caution, but politics and public opinion has pushed that to the side. It’s sad to think that because of a lack of guidelines people in UK may unnecessarily die in winter this year from covid, even with a strong vaccine rollout programme. I am amazed at New Zealand’s approach to eradicate covid. Each life matters but their total of 27 covid deaths since the start of the pandemic means that UK’s daily triple figure daily death rate is shocking.

I think it’s still time to be cautious, but I understand it is hard sometimes to know what to do.

Lately, in terms of my faith, I have felt led to humble myself before God, and I have been drawing closer to Jesus Christ after a season of some challenge, doubt and ‘drought’. God allowed that in order to deepen my faith, and I am so thankful that recently I have once again been experiencing the exquisite, pure, clean, Love, Joy and Peace of God’s Presence through the Holy Spirit within me, just as I did when I was first ‘saved’. This might sound strange to some people, but Jesus Is Real and God’s Love is like nothing else – the tangible Presence of His Love and Spirit to those who are born again is better than all that the world has to offer. Sometimes we go through seasons as Christians of not ‘feeling’ His Nearness, but He Is still here and still God. When we do once again encounter the Reality of His Presence and the tangible experience of His Pure and Clean, exquisite Love, it is a reminder that Life is found in Him, despite the ups and downs, despite the things going on in the natural, there is a reality and Peace in Christ like no other, and in Him we don’t have that ‘fear of missing out’. Those are just some personal thoughts I’m sharing, as I have been drawn to pray more during the pandemic, and if anyone of you has a relationship with Christ and is going through a ‘dry’ season, know that that’s normal and that He Is still with you, and once again you will feel His Love, that Presence like no other, filling you from within.

As to the pandemic again, I’m interested to know what’s been going on with all of you so please feel free to share your insights or thoughts in the comments. We all still need to look out for each other, it’s not over yet, but I understand that we don’t want it to ‘dominate’ our lives, don’t we all long for some kind of ‘normality’ again?

I’m not sure the UK approach is the ‘right’ one. Part of me feels it is a bit careless, but many other people will be feeling good that they can do whatever they want again, within reason. I want to do so many things, but I probably won’t right now. But in Jesus, I am never missing out.

I wonder if some people’s ‘fear of missing out’ will lead to other people missing out? If some less vulnerable people are unwittingly catching and spreading covid to those who are vulnerable, for example.

I don’t know, there’s a lot to think about, and perhaps this is a season for continued caution. Perhaps it is a time when we can also start revisiting our blogs and hobbies?! 🙂 I know, it’s been a while since I last wrote after my words of encouragement on surviving the pandemic series, and I apologise for that, but I’m back today, and hopefully will continue on a regular trend to try to share some encouragement with you.

Wherever you are at, I hope you are well, staying safe and finding true hope in this journey through life. x

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Self Care In A Pandemic (45): New YEAR’S Eve…Reflections on The Year Gone By – Part 1…

We’re on the cusp of seeing out 2020. What a year it has been! As I write this blog post, I am thinking of ways in which I can use this space to encourage you. In doing so, I feel it is an opportunity for me also to gain insight into this year, and how to move forwards.

2020 – A Year Like No Other:

Regardless of where you have been in your personal life journey, the events and happenings of 2020 will have had some sort of impact on you.

I wonder if a ‘recap’ is in order, of if many among you may just wish to forget what the past year has brought.

I’m pretty sure we all just faced our first pandemic. I still remember the early days when the coronavirus was an unfortunate news story of an epidemic outbreak in China and a few other parts of the world. I don’t know about you, but living in the UK that seemed pretty far away from me and my daily life.

If you wish to look back at my blog archives to around this time of year, earlier in December 2019 I actually went traveling to the Black Forest in Germany and enjoyed the snow covered mountains of that beautiful region. I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of festive European Christmas markets in Germany, and also in Strasbourg, France.

The Year In Which Our Plans Changed:

Heading into the new year, January 2020, my mind was busy brainstorming potential travel plans for visiting the European countries I had not yet had a chance to go to, before Brexit and the UK’s Exit from the European Union finally took hold. Well, today is the day, folks – from 11pm tonight GMT, the UK will no longer be under EU law. It has been somewhat of a chaotic few years politically to get to this point, but here we now are, and in a very different world.

Who knew that all of those potential travel plans for 2020 would evaporate in a puff of smoke?! I remember meeting a couple of my female friends for coffee in January to catch up after Christmas and New Year, and they were telling me that they had already booked trips away to France and Italy and were looking forward to ski trips and summer holidays. ‘The best laid plans of mice and men…’ and all that!

I remember being concerned for my friends as one of them had booked to travel in late February, and by that time I’m pretty sure Italy was taking quite a hit from the coronavirus. Suddenly things felt so much closer to home!

The First Lockdown and a New Vocabulary:

In the UK, news of the coronavirus soon overtook what we thought would be the big news story of the year – Brexit – as cases began to rise in Italy, in France and in other European countries.

Words that we didn’t use much in general conversation suddenly became common parlance. Suddenly there was talk of ‘quarantine’ for people traveling back to the UK from abroad, and as the virus spread, this worked both ways with other countries quarantining travellers going to and from the UK.

I am a bit of a ‘clean freak’ as it is, and in normal pre-pandemic times at work I would always be taking extra care to avoid germs, and would use a handkerchief or tissue to open doors, especially when touching those door handles outside the ‘restrooms’ or communal toilets. Gross. Most people didn’t bother, and I don’t think hygiene was uppermost in everyone else’s minds. I guess I’m just a bit more aware of things like that, and I even joked with some colleagues about how I’d take my own bedcovers and cleaning supplies when staying in hotels or traveling so that I could ensure cleanliness! You can’t be too careful, after all….

What might have been a joke to other people, gradually became part and parcel of daily life. I remember talking with a friend at work about our concerns about the virus, and she said that her colleagues were making fun of her for taking it so seriously. Sadly, the virus proved them wrong, and quarantine, lockdown, and hypervigilance to cleanliness has become part and parcel of daily lives.

I was concerned and expressed my concerns with my boss prior to Mother’s Day in the UK in mid-March when I wanted to visit my family. At that point in time the public health message was that coronavirus mainly affected only older people or people with underlying health conditions, and the tens of cases that we read about in the news were mainly only of people aged 65 and over.

Long gone are those days now. The older age group were expressing concerns over being locked in and made to stay at home, but it wasn’t long before we all had to. Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister declared that we all had to stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives, and on 23rd of March 2020, the United Kingdom went into its first full lockdown.

Suddenly, the word ‘unprecedented’ also became part of our daily conversations and newscasts, as nothing like this had ever happened in recent history during peacetime. People who remembered the Second World War knew all about lockdown, rationing and quarantine of sorts, but most of the rest of us had never experienced anything like it. We have it easier than previous generations who had to deal with real rationing, shortages and the threat of death from a perhaps more frightening enemy, yet the coronavirus was still having a devastating impact upon our country and across the globe.

(End of Part 1 – to be continued…).

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Self Care In A Pandemic (43): If Things Went Back To ‘Normal’ Tomorrow, What Would You Miss? …

It is understandable that many people struggle with the changes that 2020 and the pandemic has brought, and longing for things to return to the way they were even as we press through this ‘new normal’ whatever that means.

However, with the human tendency to be to notice things that aren’t the way we would like them to be, it can be all too easy to miss out on the things that are actually going well and to neglect to notice and give thanks for our blessings.

One way of finding’ a more positive way through this pandemic could be to ask yourself, ‘If things went back to ‘normal’ tomorrow, what would I miss?’

It’s hard really to know what ‘normal’ means, but if things were to change then you might have to let go of some of the benefits of this season that you may be taking for granted. By thinking of it this way you might be more inclined and motivated to make the most of the time that you do have in this season.

For some of you, life might be full on and so difficult, especially if you work on the frontline in the hospitals for example. Please know that you are valued and many people are so grateful and thankful for the hard work you are doing.

For most of us, however, things that might change if there was more ‘normality’ could include the following:

– A daily commute to work, for example in an office, when we’re currently used to working from home.

-Appointments and meetings dictating the way we use our time, rather than greater flexibility that we might have at the moment.

– Having to spend time with toxic people, for example in the work place or in other realms of life.

– Losing touch with the people we may have kept in touch with more during lockdowns and restrictions with the use of technology.

-Less time with our families.

-Less time alone.

-Less time for our hobbies, or to pursue our own interests.

-A faster pace of life, and less chance to slow down and take notice of the simple joys of every day living.

-More demands from other people.

-More ‘external noise’ from the world, from society, from other people, from bosses, from commitments.

-Being forced back into the timetable and mould that the world sets for us, rather than having more freedom to do things at our own pace and in our own way.

I wonder if you can think of other things that I haven’t listed that you might like to share in the comments?

Of course, there are things that we are all missing right now in the pandemic. We miss the freedom to go out without risk of infection, we miss our friends and loved ones, we miss doing fun things, we miss human connection and interaction and travel. Oh, how so many of us miss travel! We may miss our jobs, or we may be missing having a job at all, we may miss health and some people (not myself) may even miss the hustle and bustle of crowds and shopping and noisy places filled with people.

While you may be yearning for the things you miss from the life we once knew or were more familiar with, take a moment to really think about the things that you enjoy right now that you might miss if things returned to ‘normal’ tomorrow. Will you miss your own sleep pattern and no early morning alarm clock, will you miss not having to go on a long commute to work, the time you have to do the things you enjoy, to spend by yourself or with family, or the slower pace of living?

If so, you may just be taking things for granted if you are focusing on the way things used to be or the way you wish they were. There may be so much, right now, even in the midst of the pandemic that are blessings to you. Take time to recognise them, acknowledge them, be grateful for them, and make the most of them, because as seasons change, things may just get far more busier than you would like them to be.

Take time. Enjoy now. Be thankful.

x

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Self Care In A Pandemic (16) – tHE mESS yOU aRE iN (nOW)…

Have you ever seen (or perhaps you have been) a child fully absorbed in play, while sitting in the midst of a mess of toys and games and bits and pieces strewn all around it?

My parents have memories of me being that little child / toddler, and although I love to be neat and tidy nowadays I can relate to that child especially when I am absorbed in some kind of messy craft project. There are photographs from my childhood that show me sitting perfectly contentedly on the floor examining some little toy, object, or the bristles of an old fashioned style broom that my grandmother had that I had pulled apart, completely engrossed in my ‘activity’ while all around me is chaos. In one photograph of me as a toddler, I am wearing a lovely little summer dress and have found my way into a toy cupboard, have crawled into it, am chewing on my chosen toy, but in order to get to that happy state I had pulled out absolutely *everything* else and left toys all around outside the cupboard on the ground. But I am happy and content and have found my ‘sweet spot’ or ‘happy place’ in toddler life! 🙂

As we grow older, for many of us at least, we begin to equate mess with stress. Growing up, the phrase ‘tidy your room’ did give me a sense of anxiety and stress, because as good as I was at getting messy, I needed to put in a lot more effort to get things tidied up.

Now as an adult, with my own place, I like things to be neat and tidy, and aesthetically pleasing, and ‘just so’, and I do get a bit stressed I admit, because it is a daily effort to maintain especially when living alone. How can we have that neat and tidy space around us without having to put in the work of doing the dishes, tidying up, doing all the chores, and maintaining everything – and when you’re on your own it can be hard to keep up. I’ve written several posts about decluttering and tidying so if you’re using some of the extra time you might have in this pandemic year / lockdown depending on where you live, to get your home sorted, then there is plenty of advice to be found in my blog.

At the moment, I am at home in my parents’ house, not wanting to spend winter and Christmas alone as we face a second lockdown in many parts of the UK. Not everything is just as I would like it in my room and I’d love to do a bit of a ‘declutter’ but not everything here is actually mine, so I can’t just do whatever I want with this space. This got me thinking of some things I have said in my blogs in the past, including ‘enjoy your mess, enjoy your tidy’ and the importance of finding balance in whatever season of life, and of our environment that we are in.

Perhaps reading the title of this blog post, certain ideas or thoughts were triggered in your mind. What did or what does the phrase: ‘The mess you are in’ signify for you? Is it an actual physical mess of your surroundings, is it an emotional or psychological mess, is it the mess of circumstances, of failing health, of uncertainty, of worry, anxiety, fear, broken relationships, grief, death, or a shaken world, of poor job prospects, of financial difficulties, of unruly children, of a struggling marriage, or drifting friendships, of frustrations, pent up emotions, trauma, of stress of planning for Christmas with pandemic restrictions, of political unrest, of loneliness, of struggles with singleness, of the comparison trap, of friends moving on, of feeling ‘stuck’?

Life can be pretty messy sometimes, that’s for sure. But I invite you to imagine the image of the child sitting in his or her messy surroundings, perhaps with their eyes focussed on some little trinket or toy, completely absorbed and mesmerised in the joy of that moment of discovery and of play.

You will notice that in parenthesis in this title I encapsulated the word ‘Now’. What is the mess you are in now? Right now? It is big, it is bigger than you feel like you can handle, or perhaps it is simply frustrating and annoying. Do you know, that while as an adult you are not called to forget about your responsibilities and obligations, you still have the freedom to take a break from them, even if for a moment, and find rest?

You may not be able to deal with, tidy up, pray through or resolve the whole of the mess you are in right now in a moment, in a day or even a year. Broken things take time to repair, especially when they are precious. But in the midst of the mess and the chaos, you can stop. You can look with wonder and be absorbed in something really special – right NOW.

What will it be for you today? What chance will you give yourself to pause, to sit still even in the mess, and to dream, to imagine, to play, to wonder at? What life will you find in your moment right now? xx

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Self Care in A Pandemic (6). Sleep…

How many sheep do you need to count before you can fall asleep? I’m not sure if an answer has been found to that conundrum, but I am sure that we have all heard time and time again about the benefits and importance of sleep.

Sometimes, however, we just need a gentle reminder. At the start of lockdown in March (in UK) I was in good company among many others who were having vivid and sometimes disruptive dreams. It wasn’t altogether out of the ordinary for me as I went through a time for a few years when almost every night was a battle to get through sleep-wise. Thank God for His Peace in my life now, and more ‘normal’ sleep than before. However, conversations opened up among friends that they were having vivid, unsettling dreams and were struggling with their sleep too. I started noticing articles online from psychologists and medical professionals regarding this phenomenon in the pandemic. Perhaps it has been an issue for you too?

It is hardly surprising with all the new and at times overwhelming information we were having to process at the start of the pandemic. Have we grown somewhat ‘used to’ hearing these things on the news and have they become part of that oh so unpopular ‘new normal’? Our vocabulary has changed in 2020, and we are using words and phrases in common parlance that would have seemed strange to us a mere twelve months earlier. Maybe we’ve found ways to adapt, cope and be positive as time goes on? Maybe for our own mental and emotional wellbeing we’ve distanced ourselves from the facts and figures and human toll of the pandemic for the most part in order to get from one day to the next.

However, things keep changing, and with winter approaching, people are facing new concerns and having to process a whole host of new information. For example, in the UK, we have varying restrictions due to the pandemic in different nations (Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales), and even within the 4 nations, there are differing regional rules and protocols. Some regions and cities have re-entered lockdown or a form of lockdown, there are different rules with regards to the closing times of certain premises and such like. On top of that, there have been restrictions on visiting other households and a ban on this in Scotland apart from a few notable exemptions. And with winter approaching, people have concerns regarding how they will survive on their own, whether they will be able to see friends and family, whether they will have enough money to make ends meet, whether their family members will be ok in care homes, or whether supermarkets will once more run low on certain essential items.

All this can make for restless nights and troubled sleep. We know that we need to take care of our sleep and I for one do tend to struggle with this, but it is worth reminding ourselves that it may well be time for a self care ‘check in’ in this regard.

When was the last time you got a full 7 or 8 hours sleep?

Are you giving your body the chance to process, restore and repair itself as is needful, with a good sleep routine, as far as is possible?

Are you regularly staying awake through the night or avoiding going to sleep?

Do you give yourself the chance to nap during the day if you need to?

Are you oversleeping, which in itself can be detrimental?

We really need to focus on this aspect of self care, especially if like myself you struggle in this area. Even if all you can do is make small changes for the time being, please seek to do so and keep taking positive steps forwards because in order to stay as fit and healthy as you can, maintain a healthy immune system, and look after your mental, emotional and physical health and be there for others if needful especially as winter approaches, then moving towards better sleep needs to be a priority for us all.

Check in with yourself today. Think about what your personal challenges are in this area and what you can do to overcome them. Is there anything by way of a calming evening routine that you can implement in your life? Do you need to stop watching, reading or listening to the news earlier in the day? Are you giving yourself enough time and opportunity to process what is going on in your mind, and to allow your body and brain to do this at a subconscious level through the restorative blessings of sleep?

I’m sure we are all in need of at least a little (if not a lot) of improvement in this area, and I wish you all the very best with it. Perhaps this can be the gentle nudge in the right direction that you need.

Take care, and I pray that you will sleep well. x

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Life After Lockdown – *Things Haven’t Changed for Everyone*.

*Things haven’t changed for everyone*

Looking for the rainbows through the coronavirus storms, I was encouraged by how many people initially reached out to others who were in need at the start of lockdown. Many of you have been faithfully doing what you can to use your abilities to help and serve other people.

It can be easy to lose sight of that as things change. Many of us have had time to reflect upon the ways in which we don’t want things to go ‘back to normal’. While we are compelled to walk into a ‘new normal’ we also have the opportunity to forge out a better way of living life as a society.

The risk is that as we go back into society, we lose sight of the lessons we have collectively learned about humility, giving, self sacrifice (especially those front line workers who gave up time with their family, even gave their own lives to help others), kindness, compassion and taking time to think and advocate for others.

I’m hoping that we will see a shift in heart attitudes and behaviour. I’m wondering whether we might see some of those positive changes reflected in how we shop and our behaviour collectively at Christmas this year for example. I hope we’ve collectively had a ‘change of heart’, but then we do still contend with the tendencies to hoard (toilet paper?!) and look out mainly for ourselves.

As restrictions ease and many of us will enjoy greater freedoms, it’s good to bear in mind that there are still people for whom things haven’t changed much. People who have been shielding for instance and who don’t feel confident enough to risk their own health by going out, people who may have had more contact online but don’t have connections in real life and who may become forgotten about once people start ‘getting back to normal’. We’ve learned lessons about prejudice, about vulnerability, about mental health, homelessness and hardships in our society, and had more time than our previous busy lives would have allowed to take it all in. Many of us have cared deeply and tried to do something to help.

Now, however, it can become all too easy to forget. To become self-focused as we get excited perhaps about the things we can do once more. Not everyone will be in that position. While we can’t save the world, we can bring kindness to it. We can be intentional in thinking about those in our friendship groups who won’t have families to connect with, or may have to continue to stay indoors for various reasons. Some may be grieving the loss of loved ones from the coronavirus. We can take time to remember the causes for social justice that we were touched by and patiently, humbly continue to do what is right.

So, to sum it all up, let’s allow the deeper lessons we have learned to stay with us, to take the opportunity to make the ‘new normal’ into a ‘better normal’, and to keep remembering to think of others for whom life will still be hard, and to be kind to ourselves and each other in the process. 

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Before The Restrictions End…

It’s been quite a year so far, hasn’t it?!

I remember towards the end of 2019 I was writing a lot, blogging about ways to stay safe and well during the winter seasons, I think I may even have called my long series of posts a ‘winter survival guide’.

This year, the words ‘stay safe and well’ and ‘survival’ seem to be on everyone’s lips, and have taken on a different meaning with the novel experience of living through a pandemic.

All across the world countries have been forced to react to the coronavirus, something that has been termed as humanity’s ‘common enemy’, affecting people all across the globe, irrespective of borders, time zones, or any other of our usual ‘limitations’.

Who could have known, at the start of 2020 – a year which sounded so ‘perfect’ and which many people referenced as the year of 20-20 ‘Vision’ – that the world would be struck with a pandemic that started out in an outdoor market and slowly but relentlessly spread from country to country, and across the continents, leaving very few places untouched?

If you had asked people at the start of the year what they envisaged for their lives in 2020, some would have said they hoped to travel more, to graduate from school, college or university, to get married, to build up their businesses, to visit new places, to work on their careers, to spend more time with their families, to start a family.

What was on your list of hopes and dreams at the start of the year?

Did anyone include something like ‘to slow down and learn to appreciate life more’?

Many of us have spent extended periods of time in ‘lockdown’, in a whole variety of situations according to our unique circumstances. Yet one thing you often hear is that the enforced time away from our usual routines and busyness has caused many people to reflect on their lives, to ‘take stock’ of what is truly important and to reconsider their priorities and how they have been spending their time.

We are now gradually, across the world, albeit at different rates, trying to establish what has been deemed as a ‘new normal’, to venture back out into the world again and to try to re-engage with society so far and as safe as it is to do so in our own countries and circumstances.

Restrictions still remain in place in a variety of ways, but we slowly see them easing. Before the restrictions end, will you take a little bit of time to consider what you have gleaned from your reflections of life during lockdown?

How have your priorities changed, if at all? Are there things or influences you need to let go of, or reprioritise? And fundamentally, what is the foundation upon which you have been building your life? Will it stand the test of time, of changing circumstances, and ultimately even of death?

I personally know that the only sure foundation to build our lives and eternities upon is the Rock of Jesus Christ. He Alone Is Unchanging and Unshakeable – even in death.

Perhaps this is something you have been pondering or would like to ponder.

Wherever you are in life, or however ‘easy’ or difficult lockdown has been for you, there is little doubt that it would have caused you to stop and think.

Some people seem in such a rush and a hurry to get back into the busy ways of society, but they risk losing out on the very important lessons that have or could have been learned during this unusual phase in our lives, and indeed in world history.

What has caused you to stop and think?

What changes do you feel compelled to make?

What are you more deeply grateful for?

What foundation are you building your life upon?

These are just a few of the questions that we would do well to delve more deeply into while we have the time, before restrictions end.

Love and Peace to you all. x

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