14 January 2021

Tracey, our Head of UK Delivery, has written about her own experience of feeling overwhelmed during this difficult time in lockdown, and the importance of sharing positive messages to our loved ones.

To support you, Eden Project Communities has launched a set of virtual e-cards that anyone can use to reach out to someone, which you can download below. For now, enjoy this piece from Tracey, with a cuppa!

Recently I heard on the radio someone say ‘uncertainty is the enemy of well-being’ and how true that is. We are living in such uncertain times, all affected by lockdown restrictions, separation, and loss.  A time when we are acutely aware of our fragility and the fragility of others.

Here at Eden Project Communities we’ve been encouraging people to be kind, reach out, connect, share and support each other in their communities, our #WinterWarmers campaign offering simple, doable ideas to help people do just that.

People need to know someone is there for them, so it feels important to me to keep sharing these ideas to encourage connection and support, especially when I sense many of us are finding it hard not to wake up without a sense of foreboding each day.

And yet knowing all this didn’t prevent me from feeling lost. I sat at my computer returning to work on the 4 January and didn’t know what to do.

I couldn’t send my usual Happy New Year welcome back messages to people. I didn’t feel it was a Happy New Year. I had isolated most of Christmas, missed my family and had spent too much time in my own head. I felt saddened, overwhelmed and anxious. Luckily, the brain cylinders fired and it occurred to me that my feelings would not be unique to me, and that many people might be feeling the same, so what could I do about that?

Despite my own feelings of sadness, thinking that other people might be feeling low prompted an instinctive need to reach out to bring other people a glimmer of joy.

I found an image of Tweetie Pie and a quote that asked ‘has anybody told you today just how positively, incredibly, amazing you are’? I sent this to friends and colleagues in partner organisations, community groups, and individuals with a personal note. Some simply said that I just wanted to say hello and make sure you had something nice to come back to in your inbox.

I found that sending these positive messages started to make me feel better too.

What I got back was so lovely and quite unexpected.  I’ve received two phone calls from people I’ve not spoken to in ages and had a lovely chat.  Three people shared that they had recently lost somebody and that the message was really welcome.

I had many more say thank you, that was exactly what they needed that day and a couple that were going to pass it on or do the same. It was such a small thing to do, but it gave me a focus when I felt lost. It began to feel like human warmth was spreading, making me and other people smile too.

You see, small gestures do count. They communicate we care. I can’t emphasise enough the emotional benefits people feel just to know they are thought of by others. That’s especially important to people who might be feeling lonely, and to people who might be feeling depressed or in emotional distress.

Winter is often a challenging time to stay in touch with others. This winter we find ourselves in difficult times in difficult situations, facing the personal impact that 2020 and feeling anxious about what 2021 will bring.

We need each other, we need to look out for and look after ourselves and others.

If all we can do is make someone else smile, let someone know you ‘see them’. If all we can do is send an email, send a card, open up a conversation and give someone permission or reason to say ‘yeah it’s been tough, I am struggling, I’ve lost someone, I’m having a bad day’ – then as far as I’m concerned that’s enough.

So, I say to you, whenever you are feeling down, fed up, anxious, lonely or overwhelmed then try reaching out. Have a chat, send someone a nice message. Believe me, you will not be on your own with how you feel.

Why not download our virtual e-cards and start using them today - in fact start now and use them all year round! Download your set of e-cards here. We’re also supporting the Samaritans #BrewMonday that encourages people to get together over a warming virtual cuppa, so pop the kettle on and come and join us! Sign up for Eden Project Communities Virtual Cuppa Chat on Brew Monday here.