What really matters?
Does anyone care if my kitchen clock is still an hour behind? So what if I still have Christmas decorations hanging up? Should I mind that cobwebs have made their home on the bathroom ceiling like determined barnacles on the Titanic? Will I run out of foie gras or maraschino cherries before the next food shop? Will it be funny be to see how lockdown sorts the hair clipper-owning wheat from the chaff, and which of my friends will have unrecognisably long hair when I next see them?
The answer is of course, none of this matters. Our priorities have altered faster than the time it takes for a Conservative MP to get a COVID-19 test, to focusing on making our bodies and homes germ-resistant force-fields. We've all had a crash course in learning to make do and improvise both at work and at home. At OSMP we've had to cleverly work out how to look after our patients and enable our staff to work effectively whilst also maintaining social distancing. Reception is no longer the jolly social hub of the surgery, there's no popping up to the Practice Manager's office for a quick chat about biodegradable bin liners (she breathes a sigh of relief), and we're all trying to stick to the same rooms, computers and headsets to avoid cross-contamination. If I don't hold a door open for you, it's not because I'm being rude (me? as if!).
But what about our minds? Yes, it's absolutely vital that we frequently wash our hands whilst singing Happy Birthday twice, but why aren't we also taking the same time just as often to sit and breathe deeply, or just stand still and notice what's around us? Our fabulous brains need attention too. Especially since there's a lot to worry about at the moment. How often do you deliberately turn off your phone or look at websites that you know will be providing positive news stories? Do you try to have conversations with friends where you agree at the outset that certain topics are absolutely banned?
Take a moment now. What can you see, smell, hear, and feel under your feet? What are you thinking of right now? As usual I'm thinking about food. Yum. Also about who devised the sizing chart at the scrubs factory. Anything to distract me from the media doom and gloom. Thank goodness many excellent resources exist online to help with this. Try this lovely explanation of COVID-19 for kids. And Action for Happiness has a colourful calendar with something to do each day. I particularly like the one reminding us to eat healthily, though admittedly challenging whilst a weekly food shopping trip involves an hour standing shiftily outside in a spaced out queue, where there's less eye contact than in the waiting room at the sexual health clinic. Look, if all else fails and Sainsbury's hourly email updates on food stocks are to be believed, as a nation we've hoarded enough flour to make a massive papier-mâché mock roast dinner with a large side serving of bog roll and tinned tomato gravy. That's Easter sorted, right?
It feels like the building is collapsing around us, but keep those positive thoughts going folks. Amuse yourself by imagining what male friends will look like with a man-bun, and how ridiculously small the school uniform will be next time the kids have to put it on. Yes it's important to stay informed by watching the news, but try to also find light-heartedness in what you read. Follow amusing people on Twitter. Pick up a comic. Send someone a funny picture of yourself. Look at 'why women live longer than men' on YouTube. Consider which politicians will soon end up with dishevelled unruly hair that looks like they make zero effort to appear professional...oh wait....