I READ an article written by the journalist, broadcaster and comedian Seán Moncrieff recently in which he wrote about how valuable the trait of resilience is in people, how it is a trait that cannot be taught, only learned through life experience.
This is something I have been mulling over for a while because I think whatever resilience we have as people is going to be seriously tested in the months ahead.
All the signs are indicating that those months are going to be difficult.
The government’s public health advisors are already saying that we have to try harder to socially distance from each other and separate ourselves physically from family and friends whom we would give anything to put our arms around and draw into a tight embrace.
If this is true (and we all know that it is), the winter is going to be long and full of anxiety and loneliness. Christmas this year is going to be different from any we have ever known before.
That is why we all have to foster our resilience and to help those around us do the same.
There is one thing we can all be sure of and that is that all of us are going to need help at some stage or other in the coming months.
It does not matter how strong you are, how cheerful or optimistic, the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus get us all down occasionally.
There are times when we all feel lonely and miss the lives we used to have; lives that were so easy-going and joyful compared to the lives we are living now.
So, be kind to yourselves. Take a break from listening to the news (believe me: you will not miss the endless negativity about the pandemic and/or Brexit anyway).
Put away social media and do something that will restore your sense of calm.
I do not know what this means for you but in my case, it means sitting down to read a book, going out for a walk, spending time by the sea, calling a friend who I have not spoken to for a while, or enjoying a long, hot bath before going to bed early.
It does not matter what is bothering me. I always feel better able to tackle it after a good night’s sleep, some quiet time by myself, or a restorative conversation with somebody I am close to.
There are bound to be things that lift your spirits in this way too.
Whatever you do this winter, please set time aside to do those things.
This winter is sure to be challenging and you will have to look after yourself if you are to make it through to spring with a calm and healthy state of mind.
I have one other piece of advice for you all.
There are people out there who do not have a strong sense of resilience as well as people who do not feel able to ask for help.
Look out for those people. Do not forget about them.
Do what you can to share your company with them in the months ahead.
If you think this will be difficult because of social distancing, think again.
You can call them by telephone or send them a message by social media. Or even send them a letter or a card by post. (I am assured that people still do such things!)
I promise you that whatever you do will lift their hearts. When you are lonely and by yourself, it is such a special gift when someone shows you that they are thinking of you.
You do not feel so alone in the world anymore.
During my lifetime, I do not think it has ever been so important for us all to work together as a community and as a society.
This pandemic may mean that we have to stay socially distanced in a physical sense, but I hope that we will be forced to foster a greater resilience as a society.
I would love to see us working together to help each other overcome our shared loneliness and anxiety.
Perhaps something good will come out of these dark times.
Perhaps they will teach us that there is nothing on earth as valuable as the relationships we have with each other.