Now being a life coach means that guilt is not an emotion that I feel comfortable even talking about usually, but as these are unprecedented times, I am going to write about it, feel suitably uncomfortable but also be honest!
As lockdown continues and I find myself reading/scrolling through more social media than I would usually, I am very aware that there are many people doing (claiming to do) very honourable things all of which I applaud.
HOWEVER, it has triggered various feelings of guilt.
There are 2 areas to my guilt – the first being fitness. All those people who are using this time to get fit, start yoga, practice meditation daily and other activities that I know are hugely beneficial and will help them to feel better about themselves. I haven’t done any of those things – I’ve done other things but not the fitness stuff and that makes me feel guilty.
I then chatted with a client of mine whose daughter is recovering from an eating disorder and the lockdown has caused her terrible anxiety and triggered all sorts of eating issues for her which she feels is due to the pressure we are all putting ourselves under to use this time “wisely” and to get fitter. I understand that, at 15 years old, I was that girl. The constant reference to “getting fitter” “getting that bikini body” makes me feel anxious all over again. That doesn’t mean I don’t commend all those that are now finding the time to get fitter both mentally and physically, that’s bloomin’ brilliant BUT it’s not for everyone and feeling guilty about it is totally senseless. I know how I usually manage my fitness and mental health and right now, it’s not by streaming a fitness workout daily.
My second area of guilt is not doing enough to help. I see people making scrubs, creating face masks, volunteering for the elderly and vulnerable and that’s before I even think about all the amazing key workers and all they are doing and I feel guilty that I’m not doing enough! The fact of the matter is, I cannot sew! I don’t own a sewing machine nor do I have any fabric and even if I did, my attempts would be laughable. I’m not cooking up little treats for my elderly neighbours, I’m not coming up with creative home schooling techniques for stressed parents HOWEVER I am doing food shopping for vulnerable family and I am taking calls from people who are struggling and trying to find ways to support them through this hideous time but still I feel guilty.
I suspect many of us are feeling the same – what can we do to help? Well, we can only do what we can do and that doesn’t have to be big things – buying shopping for someone who is vulnerable, supporting local businesses where we can, a kind word, a phone call to someone who is on their own, a smile as we pass (2 meters away). Our local bakery allows you to add a cake or a pie to your shopping which they will then take out and deliver to those on the front line – brilliant and so simple!
Most importantly and the most significant thing we can do to help is stay at home, follow the government guidelines and know that by doing so you ARE making a difference, you ARE helping.
For me this week is about less guilt and more gratitude. I am grateful to all those doing the things I can’t and I will focus on doing the things I can. Have a good week, stay safe and stay at home.