Work have put on a lot of webinars this week focused on Mental Health and the topic of Kindness. As a result, and maybe to distract from work itself, I’ve been doing a lot of navel gazing.

One of the things to come out a lot is the question of how we show kindness to others – and how we’ll keep the momentum going when ‘all this’ is over. Which is a good one because there’s always the fear we’ll forget everything we learnt in lock-down as soon as we’re free again.

Kindness can manifest itself in so many different ways and not all of them monumental. Sometimes just asking someone how they feel today – and actually waiting for the answer – is enough to turn it completely around. Someone actually asked me this today and I realised I was at a solid 7/10 in mood.

When he asked me why, I cited two team meetings, a catch-up with a friend and the feeling that I’m at least doing something, however small, to get through each day. While my mood – same as everyone’s – will be completely different on any given day, it was satisfying to reflect that one of the things I feel right now is hopeful, with a hint of purposeful.

For a while there around a month into official quarantine, I started to think of myself as nothing without my loved ones, and nothing without a job to do. Like maybe I don’t know who I am unless I can see myself reflected in others, be it friends or colleagues – or in the work I have to show at the end of a day. I still standby that in part although I don’t know if I can really explain it.

I guess I mean that I was thinking that all my strength comes from the support of others, of making them laugh or helping them – or being proud of something I have done. I think I might have been partly wrong. Those things are still there in lock-down, of course they are. In some ways they’re more prolific but in a different way.

But I myself am resourceful and I’m stronger that I know. I’ve done hard and horrible things before but they’ve never been like this. None of us have ever had to consider the things we think about now. I still have support but there’s something to be said for slowing down and considering that I’m a resilient motherfucker actually, rolling with the punches – and I’m proud.

While it’s so much easier to talk about my negative lock-down qualities, I wanted to think about the other side of the coin – the good things.

For one I’ve kept up my blog which I’m pleased about (I get such a kick when my mother shares one of my posts on Facebook) and I’ve been reading a tonne (something I couldn’t even focus on a month ago). I haven’t done all the courses I wanted to, nor have I done much government sanctioned exercise (or baked banana bread) – but I’ve sent regular postcards to friends to stay connected and I’ve stayed in touch with my family, speaking to them every week at least, sometimes more. I’ve written quizzes and learned how to video call, even though it stresses me out every time sometimes .

I even hoovered this afternoon for no reason other than I wanted to. Okay, I needed to, there’s catnip EVERYWHERE. For the most part these things are tiny but for every night I go to bed and I’m not tied in a knot with anxiety about an uncertain future, I am victorious.

I went off on a huge tangent there to talk about myself but that’s okay. When we ask someone how they are, we need to take time to listen to the answer. There may be clues in what they’re saying – or not saying.

Anyway, I’m trying to pay the kindness of others forward. Sometimes that’s as natural as gulping down air and sometimes it takes more effort but it’s always worth it.

How’s your lock-down going?