Letter from Sue #5 – Stay Focused

20 June 2020

Hello Everyone

It is hard to believe that this week we have been in lockdown in some form or another for 12 weeks. What an interesting, difficult and emotional experience this has all been – from trying to deal with one of the most draconian lockdowns in the world to watching all slowly begin to now open up around us again. From trying to get our heads around how we would deal with those around us in a confined space for such a length of time, to now wondering for some how to cope with coming back out into the world!

The reality is, that around us, the world is still in the midst of a pandemic! Some countries are beginning to get more back to “normal”, others are worried about a “second wave” and here in South Africa we believe the worst is yet to come and we will be hitting our peak sometime in the next couple of months.

How does all of this leave us in terms of our psychological wellbeing?

I think most people here at this time are feeling tired – both emotionally and physically. Tired of trying to deal with all that is going on, tired of the lack of news, too much news, conflicting news! Tired of not sleeping well, having disturbing dreams and feeling unrested. Anxiety at times is overwhelming. It is difficult to stay focused! Often one feels as if you are continually being faced with tough decisions and all of this is so unknown. How do we navigate our way through going back to school, seeing family or not, working from home, then going back to work and then having to go back into isolation??

I think one of the most important things for us to remember is that there actually is an “X” marked on the calendar. We are unsure as to when we will get there – but it is there – and at some stage this will be over. So each day that we get through is one day nearer to the “X”!

Another thing that we need to remember is that we need to control the things we can control! Take care that you do not get dependent upon the news and social media.  Restrict your usage of social media and make sure that the posts and news you are reading and absorbing are factual, true and well researched. Otherwise one can be tossed hither and thither trying to make sense of it all and trying to live according to what each feed is saying.

Take time to ask yourself what in particular is causing you to be anxious and then try to deal with that specific query or situation. There is a general feeling of anxiety around us, and within our society, and it is important to try and not get too caught up in that.

Make decisions to the best of your ability as to how you are going to deal with this situation for yourself and for your Family and then try as much as possible to stick to that. It is helpful to have negotiated some of the situations within yourself and for your Family before they happen so that you know generally how to navigate through these waters.

There are some tough questions that we are being faced with as things open up around us more and more.  How are we going to keep ourselves and our Families as safe as we can? What is our response?  Be informed so that you can wisely make these decisions. We need to be vigilant and focused.

Practice mindfulness, meditation and prayer. Research has shown that meditation and prayer is extremely helpful in calming anxiety and dealing with stress. It also assists in helping us to make wise and good decisions. Mindfulness allows us to live in the present, to focus on the little things that bring us peace and joy and to cultivate gratitude.

May God’s Love, Peace and Joy be with you all at this time.

Sue Tinsley