As like a lot of other people I have been feeling stressed and anxious recently not only due to the Coronavirus Pandemic but also situations with the people who I care for. To try to overcome these feelings I have been thinking about ways of keeping my mind occupied and finding ways of staying positive.

Something which is being mentioned a lot recently both on TV and in the press is mental health problems increasing and how it is good to talk. Well in case you hadn’t already guessed I like to talk!

Before Lockdown in March I was always well known for exercising my jaws to the max on a daily basis! Then suddenly I found myself shielding and was only able to speak to family and friends on the telephone, that was until my husband arrived home from work each evening and then he was the one receiving the ear bashing!

Well, now that I have been let loose I have found myself talking to anyone and everyone on quite a regular basis. This all started when I got on chatting to my postman and then the delivery men who knock on my door quite frequently with parcels. Of course I also have my neighbours who I catch-up with on my daily walk around my street. But now I also have an abundance of new friends ranging from the checkout ladies in Tesco’s to my postie, binmen and 4 delivery men. I am even on first name terms with 5 police officers including a detective from the CID but unfortunately, our paths crossed due to a crime committed against a close family member. I have spoken to these officers quite a lot recently and almost feel like I know them and their families, even though we haven’t actually met in the flesh. In fact the detective who first introduced himself with his full title and full name within 2 days was calling me saying the shortened version of his first name, so that shows he must have enjoyed our little chats too ha ha!

On the subject of talking I know not everyone has the confidence to start up a conversation with a complete stranger, however, even just a “Hello” or “Morning” can make such a difference to someone else’s day and it can make you feel good too!  For example, 2 weeks ago I parked my car in the car park at Tesco in Gateshead and as I was getting out of my car I noticed an elderly gentleman in the car next to mine struggling to get his mask on.  As he looked a little stressed I said “Good Morning” and his whole face lit up.  We then started chatting.  My Mam had gone for the shopping trolleys for us both and when she returned she also joined in the conversation.  When we left each other the gentleman thanked us both for chatting to him and said he really enjoyed the company.

Anyway, last week I parked in the same bay and guess what? My little friend was there again.  We all had our masks on however he told me he recognized me immediately, not by my sparkling blue eyes but my voice echoing around the car park ha ha!

We are due to go to Tesco’s in 2 days time and my Mam has already said to me she wonders whether our friend will be there.

We are also on first name terms with a couple of the checkout operators and one in particular says she really looks forward to us going into the store and looks out for us every week at the same time.

I have mentioned mental health problems as I know a lot of people are currently suffering from stress and anxiety due to the Pandemic and the local restrictions which go with it. I myself have suffered with anxiety, something which I have never suffered from before and I have also had a couple of panic attacks which were not pleasant!

What I want to say about this is, if you are suffering please, please speak to someone whether it be a close friend or family member or a health professional e.g. your local G.P.

Almost 25 years ago I suffered from clinical depression and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! The reason I became so ill was I hid my symptoms for so long from everyone including my husband and I ended up having a nervous breakdown and a suicide attempt.  Thankfully with medication and counselling after 2 years I was completely back to normal.

Well that is enough of the doom and gloom. Let’s talk about how I try to stay positive and upbeat. Well, as I have already mentioned talking to people always lifts my mood and also listening to music.

Since Lockdown began I often listen to various radio channels including Heart ’80s. If I am home alone I often turn the volume up quite high especially if I want to release any pent up emotions ha ha! 

However, if you are considering doing this be careful as there can be consequences. For example, a couple of months ago I was singing along to Queen’s “I want to break free!” although what I thought was singing probably sounded more like screeching and as I had left my living room windows open, my next door neighbour knocked on my door as she thought Lockdown had caused me to “completely lose it!”  I did try to reassure her but found it quite difficult to speak as I was completely exhausted from my “head banging” (yes, I like to head bang to I Want To Break Free!) and also I couldn’t stop laughing at the suggestion that I had completely lost it! 

I definitely think listening to music can lift your mood as long as it isn’t the Carpenters as I always cry at their songs. I really love musical theatre and one song which always gets me going is Happy Talk from South Pacific.  I even try to put on a Hawaiian accent but I really should leave this to my husband as he is the expert with local dialects as you will remember from my last blog on our Seahouses Staycation.

Another thing which I do if I am feeling low is try to remind myself of all the positives in my life ranging from having a roof over my head, food in the cupboards, and a supportive and loving family.  I know not everyone may have all of these things but even if you can only think of one thing try to focus on that rather than the negatives.

I hope that this blog has not been too depressing to read and may have helped at least one person.  So on that note I will leave you with just one final message “Happy talk, keep talkin’ happy talk, Talk about things you’d like to do, You got to have a dream, If you don’t have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?” and if all else fails just imagine my size 20 frame wearing a grass skirt and shaking my hips!!!