2020 has been a strange year, not only in Cyprus but, across the globe. Certainly, as most of us toasted in the New Year surrounded by family and friends we little thought that we would spend almost 9 months apart from many of them. Indeed, had we realized that we would soon be unable to engage in simple everyday gestures such as hugs, kisses and handshakes, we might have cherished them just that little bit more when they happened.
In times of crisis, as humans, we are used to being able to reach out to one another for comfort and support. It is a particularly cruel aspect of the Covid 19 pandemic that this simple panacea has been denied to us all; even in some dreadful instances when we are dying. It is therefore unsurprising that many people of all ages are beginning to exhibit sign of mental stress and depression. Nor will this have been relieved by the decision of several governments, including our own, to further tighten restrictions over the 2020 Christmas period. The psychological impact (and for many the financial impact) of this, at a time when many were optimistic that there might be some slight easing, can only be guessed at. Few people anticipated that we would not even be allowed to engage in simple (albeit handwashed, masked and socially distant!) pleasures such as a meal out in our village taverna. Who was not looking forward to gathering with our family or closest friends to give thanks that this terrible year was over?
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the current situation. Equally, whilst we may think that we are ‘okay’ we may in fact be exhibiting stress signs that we are not aware of, but which may be apparent to others close to us and perhaps adversely affecting their lives. It is important to realise that there are steps that we can and should all take to try to safeguard our mental health. We would therefore like to direct your attention to this informative and useful leaflet Coronavirus: Guidance for better mental health which has been produced by UK organisation ‘Rehab 4 Addiction’. Rehab 4 Addiction works extensively with the NHS, charities, local government and private rehabilitation centres across the UK. Its website rehab4addiction.co.uk also contains useful information on numerous other topics such as bereavement, anxiety, addictions and anger management and has an online chat facility as well as an international contact number. Thanks to Boris (no, not that one!) for drawing it to our attention.
2020 may not have been the year that we expected it to be, but it has reminded us of what the truly important things are in life; our family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. We may not be able to physically visit them this holiday period, but we can still contact them and show them we care. We may have to do it via the internet or on the telephone, but we can still come together at 23.59 on 31 December and raise a glass to an effective vaccine and, a hopefully brighter 2021!