Val's blog - September 2020
"Take heart ....... we have what it takes to keep going"
Today, we mark six months since the announcement of the UK lockdown to combat coronavirus (Covid-19).
In many respects, it doesn’t seem so long ago. In many respects it seems like a lifetime ago.
Our world – and our normal – has changed beyond recognition.
The challenges we’ve met (and overcome). The pressures we’ve endured. The pace of change we’ve sustained. The heartache we’ve felt . . .We wouldn’t be human if it didn’t feel like we’re running out of steam from time to time.
That sense may be intensified this week with new measures that will affect us professionally, and personally, dovetailing as we look to the next six months - and what will be a challenging winter across health and social care.
So, upon writing this blog, it felt like a suitable juncture to share some sentiments that really chimed with me on social media, via a series of tweets by Dr Aisha Ahmad.
Dr Ahmad is an expert in global affairs and public policy based in Toronto – but her commentary is applicable to right here in South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, especially as we look back on six months – and ahead to winter.
Dr Ahmad wrote “I always hit a wall six months into a tough assignment in a disaster zone. The desire to "get away" or "make it stop" is intense. I've done this many times, and at six months, it's like clockwork,” she says.
“Right now, it feels like we are looking ahead at long, dark wintery tunnel. But it's not going to be like that.”
Dr Ahmad also wrote:
- As opposed to a tunnel with no light, rather, this is our next major adaptation phase. We've already re-learned how to do shopping, host meetings and even teach classes. As the days get shorter and colder, we need to be ready to innovate again.
- Recognise the wall is real and normal . . .. “I just know that it will happen and trust that the dip will pass. In the meantime, I try to support my mental and emotional health.” (We’re here to support you as a partnership. It’s crucially important that you take time to take care for yourself and there’s a raft of supports available to you. I’ve listed some below and would urge you to make use of them.)
- Take it easy on yourself: Even although we cannot physically leave this pandemic, try to give yourself a mental "shore leave". Short mental escapes can offer respite and distance from the everyday struggle.
What really resonated with me was Dr Ahmad’s main point:
She tweeted: “Take heart. We have navigated a harrowing global disaster for six months, with resourcefulness and courage. We have already found new ways to live, love and be happy under these rough conditions. A miracle and a marvel. This is hard proof that we have what it takes to keep going.”
I can’t think of a better sentiment to express our experience – and my feelings about you all, staff, partners and communities – in Lanarkshire.
It will seem tough going now and undoubtedly as we go forward. But we’ve found new ways to overcome in the recent past – and we will continue to do so.
For those of you who know my many sayings, one of them is that ‘everything passes’.
This phase will pass too.
Until then, and to echo Dr Ahmad once more . . .
Take great heart from your journey so far.
And keep going. Your efforts are keeping us all going.
Support for you
Covid-19 has changed our lives, both at work and at home. While you work to support other people during this time, we know that you still have to deal with everyday challenges in your personal and home life. Support is available at the PRoMIS National Wellbeing Hub.
There are a number of websites, listed below, with information on looking after your mental health. Please take a look at these – and the up-to-date information sent out in regular staff briefings. They are there to help you too. A telephone line for stress support has also been opened by Salus. Contact 0808 281 9288. Lines open from 9am-7pm, Monday to Sunday.
Val's Open Door Session
Val’s next virtual open door session is on Wednesday 7th October at 10am – 12 noon. If you would like to book a 15 minute slot to speak to Val (via Microsoft Teams) please contact 01698 453700 or email Val's office
If you have a story you’d like to share in Val’s blog please get in touch either by phone: 07917041853 or email us.