Emotional resilience: Are we masking it?

Like never before we are encouraged to talk about feelings and be open about our emotions, yet we have the greatest  number of  people suffering from mental health issues than ever before. We are currently in a strange world of isolation, yet surrounded by a social noise of hashtags# of things to do in lockdown and a roar of pressure from the media with the daily statistics from home and globally. But how do we feel…how do we cope? Our pre lockdown passion for sharing our emotions with whoever will listen, our daily postings of what we are doing ” our story’s” on social media, have not resulted in us feeling  satisfied and complete. They have become a mask, suffocating real life.

In education we talk about the 3 Rs but let’s us examine how can use the lockdown time for Rest and Reflection to create Resilience for the future.

The language we use is so important as it links what is happening to our emotions. It is vital that we examine the evidence of reality to how we are feeling. Yes we feel isolated in our homes, but we are connected to others, albeit in a different way, we can call friends, family and organisations such as the Samaritans if we are lonely and need to talk. (#samaritans free helpline 116 123).

We might feel pressure to plough through the lists of jobs that we always promised  ourselves we would do if we had more time, we may consider this time to eat more healthily, exercise and read books! We must also take time to rest and reflect. Enjoy this pause of life and being free from expectation. Let us regain our identity from this selfie culture, not being bound up in the clothes that we wear, the places we visit, the props of life that we use to show the world that ” we are living our best life”. The pressure to achieve and to compete for a happiness# with 100 likes on Facebook leaves us hollow and dissatisfied, searching for more ways to gain completeness. We have an opportunity to turn this life event into a new positive framework for living. To understand that feelings are a part of us not the whole. To examine things from outside in rather than inside out. To look to a community of people rather than an egocentric individual way of thinking.

Life is built on relationships and understanding, creating a cohesive, positive society for the benefit of all.  Our values and ethos are vital in shaping our characters. In conclusion the following was written over 20 years ago but remains relevant today:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers
Wider highways but narrower viewpoints
We spend more, but have less.

We have bigger houses, yet smaller families
More conveniences but less time
We have more degrees, but less sense:
More knowledge, but less judgement
More experts yet more problems
More medicine, but less wellness.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom and hate too often.
We’ve learnt how to make a living, but not a life.
We have added years to life not life to years.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion
Big men and small character
Steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce,
Fancier houses but broken homes.

It is a time when there is much in the shop window but the stockroom is empty.
A time when technology can bring this letter to you and a time when you can choose to either share it or delete it.
Remember, spend time with your loved ones,
Because they won’t be around for ever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe
Because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you,
Because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and doesn’t cost a penny.

Remember, to say ” I love you” to your partner and loved ones, but most of all mean it.
A kiss and embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside you.
Give time to Love, Give time to speak
Give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

As we all move forward this year, we do it together, you are not on your own! 

R Grimwood
Culture and Ethos Manager

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