Welcome to Issue #9. It’s great to have you here, and if this is your first time, then doubly welcome, and I hope you read something that resonates with you :)
So here we are. The day after “Freedom Day”. How was it for you? Was it the day you were dreaming of in the darkest days of both lockdowns? But, if you weren’t jumping for joy and making the most of every social opportunity, don’t reprimand yourself. There’s a very real reason for this.
Because we’ve had 16 months of dire restrictions and very limited social interaction, we’ve probably developed a whole new “restriction” mindset. Although I’m nowhere near being a therapist or a psychologist, I do recognise that if a behaviour is repeated often enough (not that we had any choice) it becomes the default and totally re-models how your brain operates. Your brain stops looking for opportunities to socialise and possibly cultivates something of a “receding” mindset ie it looks for opportunities to keep close to home etc.
So, although we’ve been given practically freedom we may not be in the best place to throw ourselves with abandon into the life we lived pre-lockdown. And, if we do push ourselves to do so, we may be doing ourselves a disservice.
I know I feel like this. I’ll admit during the darkest days of last winter the main thing that kept me going was dreaming about what I could be doing right now. And I envisaged myself tripping around on holiday; being in the middle of a large group of the friends I’ve missed so much during the previous 16 months etc. The new directive practically gives me leave to do that now, but I have to admit, I feel apprehensive about those things.
So, I was delighted to read that my reaction is perfectly normal. A trawl on the internet helped me to find the most perfect article that explained this from Mental Health Foundation . It confirmed what I outlined above, that because we were under restrictions for so long, our brains indeed will have re-modelled to be more “insular” and actions to reverse that modelling need to be a gentle and slow process.
“If possible, take things at your own pace – but try and challenge yourself to try something different each day or every couple of days. It’s very easy to allow the seclusion that was necessary in lockdown to become deliberate isolation as lockdown ends. Celebrate small wins (and big wins) and try and keep a note of what you are achieving.”
Mental Health Foundation
So following advice from Mental Health Foundation, and many other wellbeing organisations, enjoy the freedom you now have, but take it slow. #BeKindToYourself
WOMEN-LED NATIONS AND THEIR VERY DIFFERENT CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE
Now that we’re practically at the end of the pandemic (although it isn’t over yet) we can allow ourselves time to reflect on how the pandemic was handled. Globally, I mean, not just the UK. I recently read a report stating that countries with the best Coronavirus responses during the pandemic were led by women.
This report, published by Forbes, outlined how six nations of the world, all led by women, handled their countries infection control response very differently from those run by men, and had satisfyingly lower (and in some cases, considerably so) infection rates.
The article looked in particular at:
GERMANY - Angela Merkel - who brought in testing right at the start of the pandemic when other countries were debating whether to do so
TAIWAN - Tsai Ing-Wen - who introduced 124 measures to block the spread
NEW ZEALAND - Jacinda Ardern - who placed immediate ban on foreigners entering the country
ICELAND - Katrin Jackobsdottir - who offered free testing kits to all citizens from the get-go
FINLAND - Sanna Marin (currently the youngest leader of a nation) - used social media influencers to spread the message about the crisis
NORWAY - Erna Solberg - concentrated on and explaining to the nations’ children to re-assure and support them.
So you can see from above, the reactions and initiatives of these amazing women leaders actions were so very different from the short-sighted and dare I say, slightly arrogant, actions of other male-dominated nations. And these actions were reflected in their country’s infection rates. For more details take a look at the article here
THREE THINGS I'M DOING POST LOCKDOWN
Because the removal of the UK Covid restrictions has been gradual, we have had a taste of freedom, to a degree, since May this year. And that has meant that we’ve had time to joyously do the things that were missing during lockdown - getting a haircut, visiting a non-essential shop and seeing long-missed friends and family. But, now that we’re further down that tunnel, we can be a little more adventurous.
So here’s a list of three things I’m planning to do now the restrictions have been lifted.
Scare myself to death (in a good way) by booking a zip line journey at Go Ape, kicking the tops of 20 metre high trees and they zoom along beneath your feet on this life-enhancing adventure. I did this at the Aberfoyle Go Ape some years ago and vowed I’d do it again, at some point. It was throughly life-enhancing!
Volunteer with an organisation that resonates highly with me. If the lockdown and the resulting media coverage highlighted anything, was just how many people struggle with normal life, even without a pandemic. In view of how the country pulled together during lockdown, it’s the least I can do. I shall take my time and look into organisations where I think I can be useful AND ensure that I can provide what the charity needs - time, skills etc - not the other way round. And it’s not just the charity that will benefit. I’m hoping that exposing myself to areas of life that I just don’t witness will give me a better understanding of life in the UK today.
Take a bus/taxi/train ride just for the hell of it with nowhere special to go. During lockdown I gazed longingly at the local buses that passed through the village where I live, and although I can’t remember the last time I took a bus journey, it’s something I want to do. But I will continue to wear a mask, even though I’m doubly vaccinated - belt & braces etc. And I’ll take my ride in the middle of the day when it’s less likely to be busy. See, that pandemic mindset will be around with all of us for some time to come, I think.
So there you have it. Issue #9 done & dusted. How did you find it? I’d love any feedback - good or bad! You can do that by replying to this email - your reply will find me. If you enjoyed it, and know someone who think might enjoy it too - then share the love. My main aim for the newsletter is to find awesome women, just like you, to swell our numbers and be a force who can make change for our age group. If you know of someone like that, then just click on the button below.
That’s it from me, for now. Enjoy your freedom, but only take it at the pace that’s right for you.
Stay safe, strong & well