Wellbeing and self care have felt like buzzwords in many ways of recent times. I have no doubt that many companies and brands have capitalised on this to sell products, like with any recognised trend or need within the population. However, I truly believe there is more to this than meditation apps and clay mud face packs. An awareness of the fragility of people, physically and mentally, seems acute after the pandemic hit and hopefully permanent in our minds as we move forward with it in our lives.
I read an article on the Guardian website recently about how the rate of aggressive or angry interactions with hospitality, service or healthcare staff has risen sharply since the pandemic hit in 2020. Linked closely to the ability to be anonymous or relatively untraceable in our interactions online, generally as a population we have become angrier and far more prone to showing that anger in the interactions we have with other people.
I would say this is something that I have seen generally myself, not just within the scope of using the bus or in shops, but in the interactions I have with people in other areas of my life. You might not necessarily be aware that I interact with a lot of different people throughout my day. The pressures of work and life have got to us all. I often say in jest that the deceased are much kinder than the living, but this can be very true at times.
I cannot change the general mindset of people, and I think the older I get the less I understand how people think. However, I can ask that we all take some time to look after ourselves in these tough and endless unprecedented times we seem to be existing through. We can’t start being kinder to others and looking after each other if we’re not kind to ourselves.
The last two weekends I’ve purposefully on some days, and unintentionally on others, had absolutely no plans. While this may seem boring or dull, it’s given me the much needed space I was craving. It’s given me time to slow down, and it’s also allowed me to let go of some of the pressures I was feeling (including the financial one affecting a number of us).
It’s very easy for us to either withdraw and be wholly selfish, or to exhaust ourselves trying to help others. Things would be better if everyone took the time to check on themselves, then to check on those around them. I’m just finishing this post while going home on the bus and spied a couple having a picnic in the park with their dog. It made me smile, and I realised that sometimes you just need to notice the small things to be kind to yourself.