These are devastating times for some people, very worrying and inconvenient times for others and strange times (for us all- not least the children). We are affected by multiple levels of uncertainty and change – at the national level of purpose and policy, how our communities and local services function, the impact on our work and those we love, how we think, feel and behave in response to the bigger changes around how we live now and anticipation of what comes next. These are temporary changes, we hope but will mark our futures going forward.
When we are trying to attend to multiple changes across the layers of our life we might expect to struggle. Our thinking can go into overdrive. Our brains, so used to auto-piloting through much of our lives are suddenly overloaded with new stimuli to process and old assumptions to challenge. What is predictable, known and safe now?
Typically these additional unfamiliar demands upon us might temporarily outweigh the resources we have to address them. We might feel overloaded by all the levels of information processing required to get through the day. Emotions become erratic and close relationships become fractious with increased scrutiny and proximity. The gentle ‘no-brainer’ tasks of visiting a family member, making a journey or doing the shopping become brain-draining as we turn-off our auto-pilot functions and engage all our senses, thinking power and emotions into processing our temporary, scary new world.
We can support each other at every level of this affect. We can support the national endeavour, back our community services, learn to communicate differently to fill the social distancing gaps, love and care for our families and forgive each other relentlessly when we become temporarily overwhelmed by the challenges we face. The little special moments become more precious. We can remind ourselves that we are not alone, muster and refine our coping skills and know that we will learn something about ourselves through these difficult times. Whilst we share in the total devastation of those most impacted, we also look to a future when this strange situation has passed and we look forward to the precious moments ahead.