The vaccination is being rolled out, Spring is (almost) within sight and yet I am finding many people feeling much gloomier than they were during the first lockdown.
It’s not turned out quite like that, has it? It has gone on and on with not too much insight into when and what the end of this pandemic will look like. Maybe that accounts for a certain amount of gloom. That and the uncertainty of when life really will get back to normal.
We all know that excess stress is not good for us and we are presently living in stressful times. We know, and we continue to stress - it’s one thing to be told to stay calm, it’s another thing to actively try and do it.
However, a recent report from scientists at Ohio University says we really do need to take care of ourselves at this particular time. The study suggests those who are not managing very well at the moment, may not get the full benefit of a vaccination against coronavirus. The scientists studied results from vaccinations over the past 30 years and found stress, depression and an unhealthy way of living may adversely affect the body’s immune response to vaccination.
Put simply, those not in a good-enough frame of mind were less likely to find the vaccine fully effective than those other people who felt better, both mentally and physically.
It’s hard, when you’re in a gloomy state of mind, to come up with reasons to be cheerful so I’ve been reflecting quite a lot on what I can do to change my state of mind.
For instance, this season is one that most of us rush through on the way to Spring. I hardly give it a glance. Bare trees, grey streets (if you live in the city), damp and a feeling of unremitting drudgery as I put the cheerful lights of Christmas behind me. That’s how it usually feels to me at any rate and this year it seems a highly exaggerated version of that.
I point out the tree phenomenon to the little person in my life and I’m relieved she’s not at the chatty point yet because that’s about the sum of my knowledge. To remedy that, I’ve bought a book on the outdoors. It’s a simple one for children about trees, birds, flowers etc but it’s doing me the power of good. I’m hoping that, by the time she’s ready for a full-on conversation, I’ll have slightly more knowledge than she does.
This time I was grounded and there was no need to be afraid. Instead, I dressed up, put on sensible walking boots and went out to take pictures - along with hundreds of others - in the local park. The air was fresh, fellow humans were laughing and we all somehow reconnected as the snow fell. It’s turned to mush now so it didn’t last long but the cheerful memory lingers.
A friend tells me he gets pleasure from checking out the hours of dawn and dusk. He’s a cyclist and he tells me it lifts his spirits to see the days getting longer. I haven’t tried that yet but I might. The clock watching, that is, not the cycling.
By: Lulu Sinclair