Our Claire is thinking of herself…

This week, the new COVID variant has been causing concern. For example, The Guardian reports that the ‘roadmap’ to opening up “could be knocked off track” by the variant. However, Sky News reports the Prime Minister as saying there is “increasing confidence that vaccines are effective against all variants”. So thank goodness for the vaccines! But also thank goodness for those who have – and will – volunteer to have the vaccines tested on them.

When the call went out for volunteers, initially I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would willingly expose themselves to a potentially deadly virus to have an unknown vaccine tested on them. Then I was in awe of them. Their bravery has enabled the successful roll-out of the vaccines from which I’m now enjoying freedoms I’ve not had for over a year.

I was similarly incredulous when the BBC reported that record numbers had applied to train as nurses in the last year. The last place I’d want to be right now is on the front lines at a hospital. Yet, apparently, it is the COVID crisis that has inspired them to apply.

The conclusion I’ve drawn from all this is that, clearly, what scares me attracts others. So I think it’s important to keep this in mind with my return to ‘normality’. What is fine for others might not be fine for me. For instance, there’s no way I’d want to go abroad at the moment. Yet ITV reports that some people couldn’t get away soon enough! And I’m fine with that.

We have to find the confidence in ourselves to resist the peer pressure that will undoubtedly result from the (hopefully) continued opening up of things. When I meet up with my friends, I want to enjoy myself. If I’m terrified instead, I will just be miserable and it will set my mental health back.

That is why I must take things at my own pace. Last summer, for example, I met my friend in New Brighton. It was the only place I could think of that was in the open with plenty to do but wouldn’t be that populated. When I got there, however, I found it far too crowded and I couldn’t think of anything other than the risk of getting the virus. So I went home having abandoned our plan to have tea and cake and feeling miserable with myself. Since I got vaccinated at the end of March though, I’ve been down there three times and enjoyed it. So my confidence has risen as a result.

Doing things at our own pace will have far better results than if we bow to peer pressure and do them before we’re ready. So we need to understand where we’re at with things and trust our gut instinct. The ‘new normality’ is full of uncertainties and, consequently, we have to navigate it as best we can. So the mantra that I find repeating in my head at the moment is “Be kind to yourself”.

  • Whatever you’re going through, WHISC will be there for you. Their Listening Ear service is available by calling 0151 707 1826. Alternatively, leave a message on their Facebook page with your phone number and they’ll ring you back. They are also currently in the process of opening up the Centre again to offer a host of activities to get involved with. More information about these can be found on the What’s On page.