Oxygen mask

“Time spent in nature is the most cost-effective and powerful way to counteract the burnout and sort of depression that we feel when we sit in front of a computer all day.” Richard Lou

And, just like that, we enter the last month of this incredible year. What a year! And that just referring to everything COVID-19 related. For some, that’s been the least of their worries. But COVID-19 has been the global focus. In the U.K. it has provided a distraction to Brexit and the mind blowing mess that our government has created.

Doncs, benvingut a una altra.

Or, bienvenidos a otra vista desde el suelo.

Or, alors, bienvenue dans une autre vue depuis le sol.

Unless you’d rather just have, so welcome to another view from the ground.

I’m just celebrating that the U.K. will always be part of Europe.some may think not. But we are. Deal with it.

Okay, sorry, let me inhale some oxygen, brush the ashes of frustration from me and focus on what I can do something about.

It’s certainly been a year we won’t forget. Strangely, and as I’ve mentioned in other ramblings, there has been a lot of good to come out of the year.

As much as lockdown has been so, so frustrating it has also opened up opportunities. Opportunities which, in reality, have also been there – in the main – but we have been too busy filling up our lives with other stuff. If you remember, back to what we refer to as normality, we filled our days with being busy. Busy doing nothing? No really, but it was busy, some of the time at least, indulging ourselves in going out – for a drink, for a meal, for a drink and a meal, for a drink and a meal and a drink and so on.

Busy being busy was the order of the day. However, in lockdown or, as we have now in the North of England, Midlands, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, etc. In fact, anywhere that isn’t the south of England, Tier 3 lockdown or equivalent exists, our options have been significantly restricted.

But when the options are limited it has been so important to find and then grasp the opportunities that are there. They’ve always been there but we get caught up in what has previously been the easy option.

I’ve certainly found the wonders of exercise being a real eye opener. I accept I carry sufficient excess timber for any weighing scales to tell me there should only be one person on them at a time. If I was a suitcase, there would be serious additional payment for exceeding the accepted limit.

2020 has been the chance to walk and, as is now the case, run (with Ben). Having Ringo, our wonderful doofous of a dog, has meant at least 2 daily walks for the last 3 1/2 years. But they were invariably short. However, working at home has opened up the chance to walk a whole lot more. And, I love it. 500,000 steps a month is the minimum expectation.

I’ve talked before about taking the opportunity to really see and enjoy the beauty of what we have around us. And, it really is a case of the more you walk the more you see. The more you see the more you want to walk. It’s a spiral of grabbing those chances and focusing on using them. For you physical health and also for your mental health.

I worry. I worry about a lot of things. But, one of my greatest concerns is mental health. A hidden illness that, in my humble opinion, does not get the focus it needs – be that from those in authority or from the media (that’s not a dig at the media before I kick up another dust storm!).

Too many people are struggling with their mental health. So many people are quiet about how they are feeling. There are a lot of people reaching out to others to help them but, then, forgetting to check on their own well-being.

As is so widely said, it’s okay not be not okay. It’s important to let people know how you feel.

What is so critically important is that we all take care of ourselves. By doing that then we have a better chance of taking care of others.

I always think about the oxygen mask scenario when you’re on a plane. In the case of any emergency, we are advised to secure our own oxygen mask first before trying to help anyone else. It’s logical isn’t it?

Surely this applies to mental health. If we don’t look after ourselves, then how are we going to be healthy enough to help others?

Burnout is a big focus at the moment – absolutely correctly! So many people are running themselves to a stop. Doing so much that the energy reserves run dry. We all have a responsibility to stop. Stop and take a breath. To stop, grab that oxygen mask, take a massive intake of air and breathe.

We all need to take time to take care. By doing so, we can then take time to take care of others. We are in this together and we can, and will, get through this together. But let’s not burn out our own flame, because that might just be the spark that ignites someone else’s fire.

And, with that I’ll bring this rambling to a conclusion. In all honesty, I might grab my oxygen mask for a top up. It’s tough, really tough and we should never be ashamed to say recognise it. However, the oxygen mask is there for a reason. Grab it, use it, and bounce back.

Take care.


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