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Message from Executive Director, Emma Alexander 8 December 2020

8 December 2020

As we welcome the news that priority groups will soon begin to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I’ve taken to reflecting on all that has happened so far this year and how important it can be to just be in the moment. Life can easily become an exercise at looking backwards, either relishing or regretting what has been, and looking forwards, either dreading or delighting in what will be. During these darkening days, being in the moment and focusing on the small things, can be restorative.

Since March, it has felt, for me, that covid has narrowed my horizons to a combination of just home and work. As a result I have found my attention drawn to simple things such as watching a blue tit or a sparrow on the feeder in my garden. This has given me a sense of how life for many is mainly an exercise in surviving – food, shelter and company are very basic but very essential elements to life.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when responding to the multiple demands of life – especially during this period of covid. Family, friends, work, which can all be very positive and purposeful can also present stress, tension and anxiety. Focusing on the simple things and the small things can not only relieve a sense of overload but can also enable you to realise that ways to help – and to be helped – do not need to be big, expansive and dramatic commitments. Being kind, saying thank you and recognising others in really small ways can be incredibly powerful – whether giving or receiving.

The birds in my garden may squabble and compete over the food but when the cat appears they act as one, united in their common endeavour, warning each other and taking flight in unison. If we can work like that in response to coronavirus – setting aside our differences and focusing on protecting each other against a common threat – then not only will we all benefit but we can also take pride in our individual contributions, however small, every single one a crucial part of the whole.