by Lucy Morrell, Director of Learning and Participation
The last few months have turned all our lives upside down and this has undoubtably had an effect on our wellbeing. Fear for the future is only made worse by not being able to see friends and family at a time when connection is more important than ever. Some days it feels like we can take on the world; Working from home is much easier than we thought! Zoom quiz! Yay, theatre on the telly streamed right into our living rooms! Couch to 5k! Another beautiful sunny day! We are self-isolation superheroes. Other days just getting out of bed seems like climbing Everest. What is inspirational is the way communities are coming together to support one another as well as how individuals are actively supporting their own mental health.
I am so lucky to be in a position where I get to hear from our theatre community on a regular basis. I am truly in awe of them. Our older members who have taken up dance for the first time in 50 years, or engaged in online galleries and church services. Our youngest members who have sent us photos of performing their own versions of Greek tragedies to their ever-patient parents. Our youth theatre students who have been baking, learning instruments, jogging with Dad, doing the garden with mum, or finally building that sonic screwdriver out of Lego they have been meaning to do for years. I was heartened by the videos we have been sent and the time parents have spent helping their young people with creative projects to keep their minds occupied.
It is wonderful to hear the stories of communities supporting each other. The sense of connection and community is a true lifeline for so many and even more so at this time. The outpouring of love and community spirit is so alive in our little corner of the world and it makes me incredibly proud.
Whatever you are doing to support your own and others’ mental health, I genuinely believe that there is no right or wrong at a time like this. If exercise videos at 9am with the whole family is getting you through, amazing! If baking a Victoria sponge for the first time since you were 8 is your biggest achievement in nine weeks, that is actually awesome. If you have been sewing for the NHS or helping a friend or neighbour in need, you are so appreciated. But if you haven’t managed to start a new hobby or cook anything new or even start that play you were trying to write, that’s more than ok too. If your biggest achievement is that you got out of your pyjamas today or effectively finished Netflix, be proud.
If you use this time for nothing else than to take a breath, take stock and look after yourself, you are doing yourself an incredible service and you deserve it. The most important thing is that you reach out to someone if you are struggling. There is always someone there and they will understand. If you are finding it hard to talk to someone you know, there are helplines with trained professionals who will listen and support you. I think at this time we should be as kind to ourselves as possible. Sometimes that is the hardest thing, but it will be worth it.
Stay safe everyone, things will get better. We cannot wait to see you all soon.
Photo by Warren Wong | Unsplash