Sometimes we find ourselves in a storm in the sea of life and it matter for our survival that we learn to swim, stay afloat until the waters are calmer, build a life raft or find safe harbour until the sea is calmer again.
There are few people who do not recognise the impact of the COVID19 pandemic. We may have experienced challenges before the pandemic and the pandemic just added even more. Then we think we are emerging from this and ‘wham’ another challenge. The cost-of-living crisis, conflict around the world, a heightened emphasis on the climate crisis and life keeps happening and with it there can be more challenges.
We hear about resilience, the ability to bounce back, however, when its bounce after bounce after bounce, resilience alone is not enough. This becomes about endurance, stamina, keeping the hope that things can improve so eventually we move back to thriving and not simply surviving.
There is much on the COPE Scotland site about finding ways to overcome or adapt to challenges, so they do not hurt as much. Our video ‘Message to the world’ shares our philosophy which recognises there can be pain in the world, but we can find ways where we suffer less.
We know people are feeling exhausted, fatigued, drained. We also believe it matters when we are feeling like this we understand why, we give ourselves permission to acknowledge these feelings, then when we are ready begin to explore what we can do, so it does not hurt as much, asking for help where we need it, as we all need help sometimes.
Understanding why we feel like this is a start. Normalising that sometimes we do feel anxious, down, depleted and that is a natural reaction to what is happening allows us permission to be human as none of us are robots and that is another step. Then using this new awareness to help us take small steps which to begin with may be as simple as staying afloat.
We often speak of the sea of life, which inspired the poster. Our hope is, this infographic highlights the layers which impact on our wellbeing, the challenges we face, and what can help. We have also produced a booklet which is available on our website www.cope-scotland.org which builds on the poster to offer some tangible tools and resources to help us find ways to stay afloat and keep the beacons of hope alive
Hilda Campbell MBE is the Chief Executive of COPE Scotland