By George

I hope as you read this, you are safe and well. The Covid-19 virus has certainly shook us up. I’ve learned that life doesn’t come with instructions‼️ Learning to live with the virus has been challenging. I recognise that this is a difficult time for all of us and we might be out of our “Comfort Zone”. I am grateful that Grow continues to be able to keep us connected as an online community and provides free online support for us.

I walked down to my local coffee shop when the Covid-19 lockdown eased up. I wanted to say to the Barista, “Could I have a latte please?” – just as I had said hundreds of times before. Instead, a mixed mumble stuttered out of my mouth. I was out of practice. My social talking skills were rusty. We chatted about our awkwardness doing even simple things! I even got my courage up to ask could I have their spent coffee for my vegetable patch! The girl came back with a heavy double bag of used coffee and asked me could I carry it. I pushed my chest out like the famous bodybuilder Mr Atlas and I embraced the bag in a bear hug. I turned and promptly went home and mixed the spent coffee up with my own compost.

As you’ve guessed I’m busying myself with some gardening (and weeding!). I’ve also been conscious of how important it is to keep the defenses of my immune system strong against the virus. I’ve been using a variety of what are often called the “Pillars of Wellness” – a good nights sleep, healthy eating, movement (exercising) by walking and gardening, relaxing, some meditation, mindfulness, good fun with humorous laughter*, and a sprinkle of spirituality (not forgetting medication, as needed). These are my “vital needs” (p.76 – Grow Program) and help me give meaning to “Aim for balanced living”.[p.80- Grow Program] as well as step 7 “We took care and control of our bodies” (p.15- Grow Program).

* NB- Laughing a lot boosts our immune system which makes us more resistant to disease. By laughing we are increasing antibody-producing cells and enhancing the effectiveness of T cells in our body. These cells act like a defense army to combat illness. So, laugh as often as you can.

We have a great opportunity, even with restrictions still in place, to use this time to connect with ourselves and realize our dreams from our creative side. My family and friends have shared how they are achieving some of what they dreamt of – all online! For example, many kinds of learning and education, such as music, learning the banjo, guitar, piano, tin whistle, art, a new language, lots of online courses as well as the tried and tested Open University, and various other apps to teach e.g., meditation, mindfulness, Tai Chi, Yoga, to name but a few. Spark your own creativity and imagination – try something new if you haven’t already, or develop further, an existing skill or hobby.

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wisely wrote from his  lived experience: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”  I associate his reflection with “my grounds for feeling good… …come from my response to life as a whole” (p.86 in paragraph 13 of the Grow Program).

This is a good time to reflect and remind ourselves of  “What am I like when I am well?” or “What am I like on my best day?”. Write your answer down…Keep it handy to inspire and remind yourself of your “best in life, love, and happiness” (p.100 – Grow Program).

Check the HSE website for Covid-19 guidance.  Stay Safe.  

All Will Be Well.

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