Dear brothers and sisters,

We all recognise that we are amidst a pandemic, we see the risks, we feel our current limitations, and many of us are finding it all very difficult to come to terms with. Fear and anger are heartbreakingly contagious and are spreading fast. No words from me will whisk those feelings away permanently, but I’d like to share some goodness if you allow. While human beings are being asked to remain indoors our pollution levels are dropping and our earth is thanking us;  Marshall Burke an environmental economist of Stanford University has calculated that during two months of lockdown in China, around 4,000 children and 73,000 adults, over the age of 70, have had their lives saved, because of the reduction in air pollution.  Canals in Venice have become crystal clear, and fish have reappeared. Air pollution has dropped in San Francisco by around 40% compared to last year, New York has dropped by 28% and last night while driving home from taking care of my horses I saw several small families, being responsible, but out walking, together, technology-free, in the real world.

At this time, the news, tv, radio and especially social media is crammed full of the coronavirus along with many, many personal opinions. It is all-consuming, addictive and dangerous. We are so lucky to have the technology and be able to connect with a loved one at just the click of a button but stand guard to what information you allow into your heart, soul and mind. Stay informed by all means but don’t get trapped. Let yourself question what you are gaining from looking at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the news or any other technology. Is it helping you to connect and feel good? Are you learning something or getting inspired? Or does it leave you drained, angry or fearful? You have a choice, use it wisely; use it for your health and your wellbeing and perhaps that of the world around you.

We are all, I’m sure, trying to respect social distancing, taking care not to risk picking up the virus and becoming ill or carrying the virus to people we love. Our human bodies are truly incredible though, they want to stay well and strong, but we need to ensure that we do our bit as well. This means looking after our health with real food, movement and hydration as a minimum. During so many wars in our world, humans have had to survive on whatever food or drink was available, but we are the lucky ones! Our war is against a virus right now, and we may have some restrictions placed upon our lives, but we can still have nutritious fuel for our bodies, clean water to hydrate and space to move. I’ve have seen scores of posts sharing huge and well-deserved love for our NHS staff. Surely though the greatest gift we could give them at this time is to do all we can to stay well. This means doing more than staying in our homes; we must also be proactive with our health. Every organ needs water, so let’s drink. The body needs whole natural foods that support health and the immune system so let’s eat well. The body was built to move, so let’s move it. Even within the confines of a small room, we can still exercise. I have seen so many fantastic movement classes being streamed online for free from dance to yoga, to afro house, to flexibility classes.

Taking care of mental health is as relevant now as ever, perhaps even more so and in many cases needs to be approached in a very focussed manner. When did you last check in on yourself? Are you feeling anxious, stressed or fearful? Are you battling depression or fighting PTSD? Perhaps you have never faced mental health challenges in the past, but you’re finding things are getting on top of you now. Life can be immeasurably hard, but a proactive approach to mental health can be a lifesaver. We are all uniquely wonderful and have specific needs that need to be met to feel ok. I need to feel progress; I need to feel the fresh air, I need to move, I need to talk to my friends. These are just a few of my needs. I am someone who has fought depression and am ready with a sword for moments when it tries to return. Sometimes my head is high; my walk is strong, I feel my strength and my sword rests in its hold, ready to bat away threats if I need. Other times I feel beaten up and will hide under my duvet, resting, recovering and healing and my sword will lay beside me, reminding me to drink water and find the sun from time to time. Holding that sword means being conscious of how you feel and trying to support that, trying to take care of you. You deserve to be treated like someone who is loved and cherished, and you are the very best person to give that love and now is the very best time to start. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the garden listening to the birds sing, my sword slung over my shoulder and for now a feeling of peace in my soul.

Social isolation can feel lonely, and connections that we once took for granted can feel like cotton threads, fraying and snapping painfully. Our connections help to keep our hearts beating, giving us grounding, purpose, a backdrop to what makes us, us. Each of us has things or people that are essential to our individual wellbeing. For some of us it’s a community, others it’s animals, for some it’s the garden and others it’s family. Some of us need our fitness class community; others need the smile and reassurance from a parent; some need to see the ocean while others need to feel the grass under their feet. Often connections happen without us realising, and we only notice when strands of those connections are lost. We must have strong roots to this earth, immovable during tough times, and it is our connections that help form these roots. Become conscious of how you connect to the world and check if those connections remain during these times of social distancing. I have watched fantastic videos of connection through singing from balconies, dancing from doorsteps, feeding the birds, growing beautiful flowers, wrapping arms around a big, hairy horse or the UK deciding to clap together for our NHS heroes. Find ways to connect to what or who is important and be open to new ways to connect too. Even if you are alone, you are not alone.

Only a month or so ago the words ‘be kind’ were being spread with intense determination. We know them though, don’t we? We do our best, help when we can, try to be supportive and look out for the people around us; we donate to charities, offer to pick up shopping for the neighbours and phone that friend who is struggling. How much of this kindness do we give to ourselves, though? We can and do give our love and support so freely to others, and we remind them often that they are good enough, just as they are. Isn’t that a glorious human characteristic? Now we must do this for ourselves too. Now is the time to take a stand and make a choice to be kind to yourself. Quit shaming yourself for not being at your most productive right now. Quit being so cruel to yourself that you slept in today or that you haven’t brushed your hair. It’s ok if you have cried, it’s ok if you stayed in your pyjamas, it’s ok if you have felt uneasy, it’s ok if you have felt sad and it’s definitely ok if you watched a box set in 2 days flat. It’s ok if you come out of this half a stone heavier or having got used to 8 hours of sleep a night. Some things have changed, and we have to find a way to accept the things that we have no control over, but we also need some time to adjust. How many of us have been racing at a 100 mph for the last five years? You have the ability to become your best friend and right now is the time to do it. Forgive yourself, relax your shoulders, take some deep breaths and show yourself the love you deserve. Keep checking in with yourself and start to put your needs higher on the list of priorities. Self care is not selfish. Self love and self acceptance is something we want for the people around us and for future generations, so let it start with us. Let us become role models.

There are some things in life that we have no control over, and we must let go of them. We are facing some challenges right now, but they WILL pass. Things will become easier, and many of us will be stronger, kinder and more authentic because of this moment in time. Drink tea, read a book, stand in the sun, take deep breaths and fill your heart with gratitude that we are here, and that is a true gift.

Thank you for indulging me in this time to share my humble thoughts

Big love to you

Katy X


Image courtesy of Molly Belle