I’m worried about a lot of people right now. Of course. You are, too, I know. We are all worried about different people for different reasons. Some of our worries are huge and others are small. All are important to us.
This post is about one type of person and one type of reason. I could be talking to you. Or someone you know. Or both.
I’m talking about people who are currently panicking because they feel they aren’t doing enough. That might seem like a small worry but I don’t think it is, because it can be paralysing, particularly for people who are sensitive and often hard on themselves.
Creative people or entrepreneurs or small businesspeople (small business, not small people, although some will be small…) may be watching all the amazing, generous, creative stuff going on on social media and feel unable to do the same or even think of what to do. Some people will want to help local services but not found a way yet. Or be desperate to grow vegetables to feed their family but without time, or space, or health – or the seeds they need! Some just desperately want to be doing more but can’t and feel overwhelmed by what others are doing and think the whole world is full of vim and vigour and enterprise and energy while they themselves are curled up in a quivering ball wondering how to get through the next hour, let alone month or whatever.
Many of those people, while desiring to help others, have their headspaces overwhelmed by worry about their own health, children at home, loved ones in dangerous situations. Many are terrified about their jobs, their income, how to pay the bills. Some are worrying about how they can cope with their partner 24/7 or with being on their own 24/7. Or what will happen when an elderly parent hundreds of miles away falls ill. And who are far too caught up in those personal, legitimate, often mind-blowing worries to find mental bandwidth either to help strangers or be creative or make incredible learning experiences for their children in this extraordinary time.
Some people are setting targets that are far too high and they are rushing at them too urgently. They are aiming to be THE MOST INCREDIBLE PERSON and to be that NOW, instead of aiming to do a decent job most of the time, eventually, in an extraordinary time which we have never experienced before. They are not realising that very many – most? all? – of the people seeming to be rocking this challenge are often beset by self-doubts and fears, sometimes feeling that they are not rocking the challenge but just rocking in the wind.
Enormous stress takes headspace. The first priority of your headspace must be yourself. Your need to breathe. We need first to survive, to work out how to get food and then stop our children and teenagers from spiralling into a dark place. (I’m here to help with that.) Only once we have our survival needs sorted can we find headspace to be creative, whether we are professionally creative people or we are trying to create the best way through all this for our families, loved ones and ourselves.
Please be assured: those ARE your priorities and so they should be. Being creative comes next and it will come, in time, if you give it air.
Finishing a tough journey in one piece is more likely if you start slowly, or at a pace that suits you. Not that this is a race but remember that the tortoise beat the hare because the hare was too sure of himself, rushed at the task, while the tortoise just made his way, one step at a time, appreciating the scenery. He wasted fewer heartbeats, used up less energy, learnt more along the way. Lived better.
So, slow down. Stop looking at the speed and apparent energy of some people on social media. Your first priority is your own needs because if you neglect yourself you can’t be strong for the people you love.
And if, as you stop to smell the flowers or the coffee or the banana cake or the scented candle or the freshly-washed neck of your child, a wonderful thought comes to you, pause a moment to enjoy it. It will help you through, help you reach the finishing line and have breath left to feel that you did the best you could and, actually, that it so was good enough.
PS There IS plenty of time to sow seeds!
Order some from an online catalogue or a local garden centre if it’s delivering, as mine is. It might take a while to get online but it will be worth it because in a few days’ time you’ll have some seeds in your hands and you can grow some salad in a pot, tomatoes on a sunny patio and herbs to liven up your lockdown meals!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (NicolaMorgan) and Instagram (NicolaMorgansBrain) for chances to win signed books. Every Mon, Wed and Friday – and the Weds one is a family/individual activity. Details of how to win here. That page also has my Antiviral Writing Comp details. Be in it to win it! (And take it slowly, of course – the deadline is the end of May!)