Our weekly spot on the site to chat about wellbeing and mental health returns, with a few thoughts as we head in 2021.

Hello and welcome to the first Wellbeing & Mental Health Matters of 2021. We hope that the holiday period was kind to you and that you see light in the year ahead, despite the lockdown that looms ahead of us.

It’s an odd one, this new year. Last year was so unimaginable in many ways that it is difficult to pin a feeling on how these first few days of January feel. Tentative. Unsure. A little lost. A lot of worry.

It’s as if the blank diary pages of last year have stolen into this year’s calendar, filling time with uncertainty. Are we positive, looking forward to what may be calmer waters ahead? Are we concerned, watching daily pandemic news and wondering what foot to put forward, what decision to make in the face of so much conflicting advice, and a need to do the best we can for everyone around us?

There are no easy answers as we start this year. The path ahead is clouded. 2020 taught us that milestones can be broken, that plans can be scattered. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse landed, and their iron shod hooves carved great furrows into our tracks.

Disaster movies are by nature fast moving. Events move in neat sequences; collateral damage is panned over with a sympathetic camera. The resolution and miracle cure comes in time to save the vital member of the cast with the infection.

Recent events have taught us this isn’t the case. Pandemics are messy, scary, open ended and have no neat conclusions. The people we’ve entrusted with our safety can’t always be trusted to know what to do, even if they have good intentions. Envy and resentment can breed, alongside poverty and despair.

What can we do to support ourselves and our communities during such stressful times? We can look small. Look for the little actions that bring a little light into people’s lives. We can forgive our mistakes. We are not going to get everything right.

An example: my weekend banana crisis. I’m shielding, so reliant on online food deliveries. This weekend I inadvertently ordered 55 bananas. For two people. And no, I don’t like banana bread!

Faced with a pungent wall of banana, I WhatsApp’d the street with a photo. Found myself rehoming bananas. Also the butt of much affectionate humour.

My mistake inadvertently kickstarted a chain of mirth. We were all home, locked behind our Tier 4 walls, wondering what the heck is going to happen this year. If my banana balls-up brought people a moment of humour, I’ll take it. It may be a short-lived bright spot, but it reminded us of our community, of our connection to one another which seemed to have gotten lost in the sleet outside our windows.

Things go wrong. Get broken. We make mistakes. And sometimes it’s the littlest things that break the shell we’ve built up to protect our emotions. If it happens, try to have a contingency plan. Look for the levity in the situation. Reach out to a friend or a loved one.

It’s easy to say, this too will pass. It’s harder to see when. It might help to build some bright spots into the blank pages of 2021. Look for the birthdays in your calendar, the online natters you look forward to. Think of one new thing you could do, perhaps weekly or monthly. Listen to a new band, read a book outside your normal genre, smash old crockery with a hammer (in a safe manner, of course!).

Here at Film Stories, we’re always happy to lend an ear. Have a natter. Say hello. We hope that you are all as ok as can be, but remember it’s also ok to admit that you’re struggling.

Go gently into this year. And thanks for reading.

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