I was feeling pretty down yesterday – although that dog-cat video I posted made me laugh for a bit. Iam not trying to gain sympathy – we are all struggling and many worse than me – it’s just aboutbeing honest, encouraging people to talk about mental health and sharing some self-care strategiesthat I use. Some would say it’s risky for a Resilience and Wellbeing Coach to admit feeling down, butbeing resilient doesn’t mean you’re never going to feel shit. Everyone does at times. It’s about whatyou do and how you help yourself when you are struggling. I was feeling down because, 3 monthsinto my self-employment journey, I am finding that a lot of the work I have lined up for the next 6weeks is being postponed until further notice. This is the same situation many self-employed peopleand businesses are in, so I imagine my feelings of worry, anger and helplessness are pretty commonat the moment.I’m currently working from home, like many others. I had spent the morning at my desk, emailingand phoning clients and when I finally stopped to look outside and there was beautiful sunshine. So Idecided to go and pick the wild blackberries that grow on the roadside near where I live. I took myfluffy handbag dog Pepper and went out into the sun for half an hour. I always say that a big part ofbuilding resilience is being able to renew your personal resources – your physcial, psychological andspiritual ones.Well my little blackberry outing did that for me:It built up my physical resources by moving those muscles that had been atrophying since Sunday’sgardening-bee. I got some immunity-boosting Vitamin C through my “one for the pot, one for me”policy.My psychological resources (emotional and mental) got a boost from feeling the sun on my face andseeing the canine fluffball enjoying herself with all those smells. I was able to get some perspectiveand recognise that I could be grateful that my husband will still get paid and our health is notcurrently at risk. Focussing on finding the best and juciest berries (and avoiding the thorns) allowedme to get out of my head and just be present in the moment. It stopped that anxious internalsoundtrack.I always find that getting outside and engaging with the natural world grounds me spiritually too.Blackberries haven’t gone into self-isolation. They’re still out there, hanging on the branch with alltheir delicious friends – nature is unaware of our crisis and is not panicking. It’s calming to be amongthings that are the same as they were a few days or weeks ago, before Covid-19 hit. My garden’sunaware. So are my chickens and Max, our giant rabbit. Spirituality is about being connected to thethings that give meaning to your life. And if we think carefully about it, we’ll find that those haven’tchanged. In the midst of all this change and perceived chaso, look for those things that are stable.Your friends are still awesome. Your family still loves you and you all have each other’s back.Whatever it is that drives you – your mahi, your purpose – is still relevant and necessary. If youbelong to a church or religious group, I’m sure your collective faith hasn’t wavered and in itsteachings you will find comfort, support and direction.Walking back along the road to home I started to look forward to the muffins, jams, desserts andsmoothies I would make with my bounty, and which I would enjoy giving away to friends, familiesand colleagues – oh gosh now I’ve put that out there I hope I have enough! And it also made methink about ways I can still do my mahi and work to my purpose – Making work better – when I’mprevented from running my programmes and workshops due to the restrictions on gatherings.That’s when I thought I’d write this up and put it out there as a way of encouraging us to share how
we’re feeling and not bottle it up. And to build a Self-Care Library of strategies for when we’restruggling or feeling down. That way we can normalise our emotional responses to these uncertaintimes and make talking about it a natural thing. When we show our vulnerability, we offer others achance to show their humanity. Because I know I’m not alone. And neither are you.