As we near the end of February, it feels like Spring has finally started to emerge, with brighter mornings and longer evenings.  The first signs of daffodils, snowdrops, and recent sprinkling of sunny and warm days are symbolic of seasonal renewal and hope.  

Many of us were impacted by the news on lockdown last week.  We now know some of the challenges we have been facing are not over yet. However, just as the dark Winter days are behind us, with this new roadmap we can start to imagine brighter days ahead. 

Now more than ever it is important to remain mindful and hopeful. With a clearer view of the future we can start to pace ourselves, and consider positive plans to help us navigate the next number of weeks. While many will feel the physical benefits of stepping into Spring, we also have an opportunity to step into our own approach to mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Mixed emotions are to be expected 

For many, it has been a rollercoaster of emotion since Christmas.  It has been difficult to know what to expect in the midst of continued restrictions. The ongoing impact on businesses, work, familiar rituals, and day-to-day outlets has been particularly difficult. 

On learning the restrictions are set to continue, many experienced mixed emotions; frustration, disappointment, anger, anxiousness, and sadness are common.  It was tough hearing the difficult news, especially on the back of a challenging year. Acknowledging these feelings is an important part of processing them.

Adopting a positive action orientated approach is also important. Recall the things that we find supportive during times like these. Perhaps in a busy household it’s a few quiet minutes alone to catch our breath, to let our thoughts settle, or for others sharing how we feel with a trusted friend or loved one. Recognise what’s right for you, and consider carving out some time to connect with these supports. 

Making Plans

The last few months have taken their toll, and many of us may be feeling tired and unsure how to approach the next stage of the journey. Active planning can help us manage that. As well as planning for now, we need to also plan for the changes this will bring. 

For some, routines will remain the same; for others they might include a return to schools or other activities, meaning getting used to a new routine. Consider what positive plans we can make to support ourselves over the coming weeks. 

For those with new routines, carving out personal time to check in with ourselves can help during times of change. For those of us continuing in the same routines, consider ways to mix it up. Change or start an exercise routine, incorporate simple mindful moments, or invite the outside in on warmer days by opening doors and windows. 

Some will welcome these new routines and for others it may bring new challenges. Making realistic supportive plans can help us frame and manage these changes more positively. 

Pacing Ourselves

Now with a clearer roadmap we can begin to pace ourselves, particularly with our emotional and mental wellbeing in mind. This may still feel like an uphill hike until we reach the mountain peak and things start to ease off, but now that we can finally sense the top, pacing ourselves is even more important.

Our journey through the weeks ahead requires attention, care, and consideration for our own wellbeing. It’s going to be important that we take things at our own pace, and establish the right resources to support ourselves through to when things begin to ease.

This might come in the form of regular breaks, music, funny podcasts, taking a rest from technology, chats with friends or colleagues, or again those quiet moments where we take time out for ourselves to renew our own personal energy reserves. As we can start looking to what we might do, who we might meet, and what simple activities we can once again enjoy, going at our own pace to get this is going to be important. 

A final thought…

With signs of Spring coming, there is a sense that the long dark days of Winter are at least behind us. That being said the challenges of Covid continue, and it will be important to think about what we need to do to mind ourselves over the coming weeks. Acknowledging difficult emotions, making realistic plans, and pacing ourselves is an important part of maintaining our own mental and emotional wellbeing. 

This post featured as a Monthly Wellbeing Series article in The Midland Tribune on 25th February 2021