Another Unknown Year Begins: 2021 or 2020 won?

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This picture was done as a bit of a laugh back last year when everyone was saying that Covid, at least in Qld was over. To be clear, I never really believed that but at the same time didn’t dream that we would be told to wear masks in our own private car either. Anyway, as they say in the classics “it is what it is”. That saying I think glosses over what most people are actually feeling and that is undoubtedly a sense of uneasiness if not straight up anxiety.

It is true that uncertainty is one of the big stressors for a lot of people. 2021 is kicking off with as much of that as we have probably ever seen in our life times, at least as a society anyway.  Personal experiences are another matter.

One of the tenets of good mental health is the ability to focus on those things you can control. There is absolute futility in worrying about those things you can’t, but that doesn’t stop us from doing it at times. When I start to feel like this I go back to the most basic of functions we perform and that is breathing. It is the one sure way to get back to the here and now. Try it right now.

Think only of your breath, inhaling slowly, feeling your diaphragm expand, hold it and then slowly but surely expel that air. Continue this for at least one minute. I would be surprised if you don’t instantly feel better, more grounded and more in touch with simply being alive and not much else on your mind at least for that instant.

There is just so much turmoil in the world right now it is easy to forget this most simple of activities which is totally with in your control. I used to play a lot of tennis as some of you will know. The first tournament I won was one where I was able to focus the best I had ever done previously, on the present. I got in to a habit not dissimilar to the ‘routine’ you see Nadal do every time he goes to serve or receive. The ever present rubbing of the ears, nose and undies! Admittedly this kind of behaviour can border on the unhealthy obsessive side, but the purpose of it in a game, where there is just so much you have absolutely no say over, is to bring that feeling of control back. My ‘thing’ was to rough up my grip on the wire holding the net up, at every change over. It had what felt like a magical quality about it and allowed me to feel like I could dictate the game to victory, which I ended up doing for a State title. The objective truth of my belief from what I was doing each changeover was not the point, it was the feeling that it produced – “You create your own reality” that kind of thing.

So back to the original point, who knows what 2021 is going to bring?  The simple answer to that is no one knows with any certainty about what the year will be like, so what to do about the stress that this might cause you? I humbly suggest the following and probably in this order too:

  1. Breathe well.
  2. Drink quality water and lots of it.
  3. Nurture your sleeping routine so you get to recharge on a daily basis.
  4. Choose healthy foods that are as untreated and as close to nature as you can sensibly manage.
  5. And finally exercise at a level that challenges but doesn’t exhaust you (for everyone this will be different and could range from simply going for a daily walk to training vigorously – you know what you are ready for).

I realise this isn’t new advice but in light of the fact that repetition is the mother of all learning…… it bears repeating! It is one thing to say “I know, I know”. It is something completely different to be actually doing.

If you need help with number 5 above and the actual ‘doing’ part, then our potentially future proof (only potentially right because we don’t know anything for sure remember, but that’s okay, let’s breathe) and Covid safe small outdoor group training in Ashgrove, may be the best thing you can do for yourself that is within your control right now. There is room for 10 people only in this because I want it to be personal and enough scope for proper feedback for every person involved. It’s not full yet as at the time of writing but we are getting there. Check this page out – 

As per current Qld Health advice, exercising outdoor means you don’t have to wear a mask. Of course this may change!

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