Phew! There are so many choices these days; aren’t there? Yet, we have a responsibility to make certain that our life choices consider a better path for us and others. We are living in more challenging times than ever before. The past week, in fact, has seen the Australian winter send state governments once again scrambling, lockdowns reinstated, and resulted in the public ‘panic’ buying.
Research has identified that people are feeling even more isolated than before the pandemic leading to increased levels of mental health issues and struggling to cope with stress. It is apparent that some of our life choices and control have been taken from us. This is truly scary but, more than ever, we need to be aware of others and that the saying, ‘sharing is caring’ is still relevant.
Just taking the time out to share even five minutes of our time (our attention) to say hello or give a friendly smile is perhaps even more vital during this period. Of course, it is difficult to see a smile ‘through’ a mask but even a nod could replace this! And, digital contact via text, messenger, or many other platforms, is becoming more prevalent and ridicules our excuses that we do not have the time...
When I look at this image of my Italian parents on their honeymoon in 1955, on their way to Africa—a distinctive pyramid rising in the background and setting the context—it makes me smile. I think to myself, How unencumbered they seem to have been in those days. That is rather dismissive of me I know, as they had their own difficult times ahead! Now though, even our many life choices seem to be threatened … even the capacity to travel or try new adventures.
Therefore, we must be united in ensuring that our life choices and our way of living are one of caring for others and our planet more than ever. We all have skills that we can foster. It may be writing a book to share our experiences or messages of hope; but it can also just be nodding an acknowledgement to others that yes, we do exist, we are surviving, and we will overcome this. This is all part of recognising the status of each person’s contribution to this life and where we are in this historical timeline.
Do not let another day pass without ensuring that we have done something that sees us progress; that sees us make some commitment—no matter how small—to make better life choices. These should be positive choices, not just for us and our mental health but, that can feed out encouragement and support to those around us. Sometimes, just that small gesture of hope and respect, even from a stranger, helps to make our step forward lighter.
 Mental Health Foundation (2021), Loneliness During Coronavirus <https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/loneliness-during-coronavirus>