I like many people watched the announcement of a month long lockdown with concern and rising anxiety. It was made worse by the drip, drip of information during the day, the delay in the press conference and some unfathomable charts.
The reality is that the lockdown will make little difference to my life. I haven’t been going to bars and pubs. I will occasionally go to shops other than food stores. And my parents have continued shielding since March. My anxiety was rising for so many other reasons.
Understanding my anxiety is important but what matters more is how we find a way through the days ahead. I am not going to say be no positive and smile and everything will be alright. All that does is provide a veneer that you are coping when you may well be struggling.
I have said many times since March that communicators are under pressure more than most. To start with we all have to work out what this situation means for us personally and what we need to do to manage home life. But on top of that comms is, and should be, frontline in the crisis response. This means being confronted by the harsh realities on a daily and even hourly basis.
What matters now is not an inquiry into how we got here or discussion about months ahead but dealing with things day by day and making sure we are looking after ourselves and each other. There are three key things that I would ask people, particularly hard pressed communicators, to do.
First, just deal with things a day at a time and don’t think too far ahead. Yes we need to ensure we are looking at scenarios but focus on what needs to be done now and for the next few weeks. There is time for longer term planning and it isn’t this moment.
Second, make sure you ask for help if you need it and that you have a good support network around you. One of the things that has helped me through this year and all the challenges is the support of some amazing people. They are there when I need them and just a simple word to know they care has been enough at times. If you are coping well then perhaps you can be that person giving a kind word to others.
Thirdly, focus on some positive or good things in your life. It doesn’t matter what they are just fine the good that you can focus on. It will lift your spirits on the difficult and dark days. For me it is my animals and spending time writing or painting. When I feel really down it helps me to write a long list of the good things I have in my life that I often take for granted.
There is no doubt 2020 has been a hugely difficult and at times damaging year. Living through a pandemic puts us under huge pressure. What we need to do is be kind to ourselves, help each other and remember that these times will pass.
I will be around if anyone needs a chat over a brew. My #thinkthroughbrew is still available for communicators needing a 20 minute chat to discuss or just share. I will continue to do this for as long as people need it. Just message me.