Next Monday in England we all have an opportunity to take a positive step forward.  The “rule of six” will return and the strict stay at home message will no longer apply.  Outdoor organised sports will make a comeback and some of the shackles will be off.

It’s vitally important that we really embrace this.  It’s not a nice-to-have; it’s a psychological necessity.  The evidence is growing – as a society we are significantly more anxious, depressed and demoralised than we were a year ago.  For the last six months, we have collectively hobbled on in survival mode.  As Marx pointed out a long time ago, alienation is the result of isolation and confusion and we’ve had a surfeit of both.  Even the most resilient amongst us are feeling less resourceful, less creative and significantly less spontaneous. 

We need to re-learn the art of connection.  It may not come back automatically.  You could think of this as nurturing a set of relationships:

  • Our relationship with work. This is not just where we work but the meaning that we attach to what we are doing and tempo we work at.  We cannot just sit in front of our computers, going transactionally from one video call to the another in quick succession and without a break, or wading through a mountain of email, and expect to stay at our best.
  • Our relationship with each other. Loneliness is toxic to the mind and body and it’s a prime causative factor in depression: much more so than the strongly argued model of chemical imbalance for which there is actually weak evidence.  We withdraw into ourselves when we are lonely and sad and that just makes things worse.  We will need to re-establish connection
  • Our relationship to the world. For many, the initial lockdown euphoria soon wore off and with it the desire to learn new things.  The result has been mental staleness as we read or watch the same things and then think the same thoughts.  We end up institutionalised in our own minds.  We must expose ourselves to the creative stimulation that true difference and diversity can provide and also challenge our overreliance on social media – a virtual channel that is designed to deliver to us more and more of the same and in which we are little more than products to be sold to.
  • Our relationship with ourselves. We have coached hundreds of people over the last year and we’ve noticed one thing that has been lacking: self-compassion.  There’s been so much giving to others, so much sacrifice and so much discipline but there’s a shared deficit of self-care as well.  We all have legitimate emotional needs, and we need to get our confidence back in asserting these.

We need to re-learn the art of connection.  It may not come back automatically.  You could think of this as a set of relationships:

Want to know more? Search the range of resources on sane.works or get in touch and we’ll tell you about our specialist sleep coaching and workshops.

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