As I write this I am looking out at a blue sky and the sun is shining. I’ve just come in from doing some gardening which felt like a positive statement of better things to come. But this wasn’t the case earlier in the day.

To be honest though when I woke up this morning I felt pretty overwhelmed. It all felt a bit too much. The last week has been full of challenges. Everything seemed to be changing on a daily basis. For someone who likes to get things sorted the constantly changing situation was a challenge. You just thought you’d resolved something and the goal posts moved. I’m wondering if this has been the case for many of you as well?

I’m a Trustee of our local Foodbank and most of last week was spent working to ensure that, over the coming weeks, we keep operational. We have literally gone through a whole system change in a week. Our service will move this week from being face to face contact to phoned based with community delivery.

We’ve had to tell many of our volunteers, who are over 70 or with underlying health conditions, that we don’t want to see them for a while. This has meant working out how to operate without a significant  proportion of the volunteers who keep the service running.

We’ve been battling to keep supplies coming in against the tide of panic buying. Numerous phone calls have had to be made to find alternative suppliers. Lots of discussions had to ensure that we work across agencies and some delicate handling of people wanting to set up their own schemes to do something positive but without the necessary infrastructure, skills and expertise to do so. I know there will be many, many of us in exactly the same situation.

On the whole I am a glass half full kind of person and I could also be writing about the many amazing things that happened last week, and believe me there were many. We are a great team and there have been many heart lifting moments, shared laughter and a real sense of the wider community ‘having our backs’. But today, in the peace and quiet of home, with time to reflect and a bit of headspace the enormity of everything felt pretty overwhelming.

I’ve had several discussions with members of our team over the last week who have experienced similar moments and expressed feelings of guilt, weakness, and a sense that, ‘I should be coping better’.

So, with my coaching hat on I want to share a message with all of you frontline staff and key workers. Please be kind to yourself and do not attachment negative judgements to such times. It is enough to acknowledge how you are feeling, and my goodness me why wouldn’t you have moments like this at the moment. BUT, then stop right there and ask yourself a simple question, ‘what do I need right now?’ That’s it!

I’m feeling …… what do I need right now?

It might be a hug, some favourite music, a few tears, comfort food, something creative, something energetic or a call to a close friend. You will know what you are craving in that moment.

There will be numerous times over the coming weeks when we all feel moments of overwhelm. Be kind to yourselves folks, it is normal and it is your body’s way of asking you for something. Listen and acknowledge the feeling  but please don’t then go on to attach the negative judgement to it – respond with a simple statement of fact, ‘In this moment I’m feeling ……. what do I need right now?’ That’s it, end of!

Sending all of you frontline workers, wherever you may be a massive virtual hug.