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Days Without End

Days Without End is the title of the award winning novel by Sebastian Barry and seems an apt description of life since the Coronavirus arrived on our shores.

The novel is a powerful story of survival and love in mid 1800’s America, set against the backdrop of the Indian Wars and the American Civil War. These were turbulent times when fear and uncertainty were part of everyday life. ‘Social Distancing’ from strangers in the wild west was potentially a matter of life or death ! But the the kindness of strangers, friendship and a sense of community were also features of frontier life.

We are now a few weeks into lockdown living. While the definition of ‘lockdown’ keeps evolving maybe it is time to benchmark ourselves against ‘best practise’ for this unnatural state of being.

Some questions to consider:

  • Have you contracted with others in your home on living and work arrangements for your shared space ?
  • Does your day have structure ? Have you consciously established new daily routines for work and personal activities?
  • Have you an established daily physical exercise regime?
  • Do you have a wholesome diet? Are you controlling your alcohol consumption?
  • Do you limit your exposure to TV, Social Media and Netflix etc ?
  • Are you using the extra time to make inroads on domestic chores that you have been avoiding?
  • Are you working on your contingency planning for potential new work/personal scenarios post crisis?
  • Are you availing of online learning opportunities?
  • Are you staying in touch with friends, neighbours and colleagues? Are you reaching out to others for help (or to offer help)?
  • Are you volunteering in the community ?

Normal living imposes a natural structure on our lives, giving us a sense of purpose, and by extension enhancing our sense of well being. Without a focus on specific activities our minds will tend to gravitate towards the negative, leading to stress and anxiety. Suggestion – consider setting specific goals for key items on the list above, and then hold yourself accountable to the achievement of these goals.

There is much we can control while working within the restrictions imposed by the authorities for the common good. While the coming weeks and months will inevitably be a bit (or more than a bit) of an emotional roller coaster, you may be surprised by how creative you can be in coming up with ideas to constructively use your time. You will see on social media how others have invented ingenious ways of spending lockdown time.

Like all wars our ‘Days without End’ will eventually ‘end’. Let us be able to look back and say that we did our best to stay positive throughout, and maximised the opportunities presented by this unique crisis. Seek out the silver lining on the clouds.

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